Imatges de pÓgina
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UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.

YE flaming Powers, and winged Warriors bright,
That erst with music, and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along,
Through the soft silence of the listening night,
Now mourn; and, if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow.

He who with all Heaven's heraldry whilere
Enter'd the world now bleeds to give us ease.
Alas! how soon our sin

Sore doth begin

His infancy to seize !

O more exceeding love, or law more just?
Just law, indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we, by rightful doom remediless,
Were lost in death, till he, that dwelt above
High-throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness;

And that great covenant which we still transgress
Entirely satisfied,

And the full wrath beside

Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,

And seals obedience first with wounding smart

This day; but oh! ere long,

Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart.

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THE PASSION.

I.

EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the stage of Air and Earth did ring,
And joyous news of Heavenly Infant's birth,
My muse with Angels did divide to sing;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing,

In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light
Soon swallow'd up in dark and long outliving night.

II.

For now to sorrow must I tune my song,

And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,

Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long,

Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so,
Which he for us did freely undergo :

Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight

Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!

III.

He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,

That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,

His starry front low-roof'd beneath the skies:

Oh, what a mask was there, what a disguise!

Yet more the stroke of death he must abide ;
Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.

IV.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse:
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound.

His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings, otherwhere are found;
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound:
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings

Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.

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V.

Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief!
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flatter'd fancy to belief

That heaven and earth are colour'd with my woe
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:

The leaves should all be black whereon I write,
And letters, where my tears have wash'd, a wannish white.

VI.

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirl'd the prophet up at Chebar flood;
My spirit some transporting cherub feels

To bear me where the towers of Salem stood,
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood.
There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

VII.

Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of Heaven's richest store,
And here, though grief my feeble hands uplock,
Yet on the softened quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before;

For sure so well instructed are my tears
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

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Or, should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild;
And I (for grief is easily beguiled)

Might think the infection of my sorrows loud

Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud.

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This Subject the Author finding to be above the years he had when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished.

ON TIME.

FLY, envious Time, till thou run out thy race:
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping Hours,

Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;

So little is our loss,

So little is thy gain!

For, when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,

And, last of all, thy greedy self consumed,

Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss

With an individual kiss,

And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;

When every thing that is sincerely good,

And perfectly divine,

With Truth, and Peace, and Love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne

Of him, to whose happy-making sight alone

When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb,

Then, all this earthy grossness quit,

Attired with stars we shall for ever sit,

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Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time!

AT A SOLEMN MUSIC.

BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of Heaven's joy,
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ,
Dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce;
And to our high-raised phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits thereon,

With saintly shout and solemn jubilee ;

Where the bright Seraphim in burning row
Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow,
And the Cherubic host in thousand quires
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,

With those just Spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms

Singing everlastingly :

That we on Earth, with undiscording voice,

As once we did, till disproportion'd sin

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May rightly answer that melodious noise;

Jarr'd against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made

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To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood

In first obedience, and their state of good.

O, may we soon again renew that song,

And keep in tune with Heaven, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,

To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!

SONG ON MAY MORNING.

Now the bright morning star, Day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.

Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

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