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XXVII.

But see the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest,

[ing;

Time is our tedious song should here have endHeav'n's youngest teemed star Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

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Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attendAnd all about the courtly stable [ing; Bright-harness'd Angels sit in order serviceable.

THE PASSION.

1.

EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the stage of air and earth did ring,
And joyous news of heav'nly 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 out-living night.

5

244 harness'd] Exodus, xiii. 18. The children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.' Newton.

+ divide] Spens. F. Queen. iii. i. 40.

'And all the while sweet music did divide Her looser notes with Lydian harmony.' Hor. Od. i. xv. 15.

'Imbelli cithara carmina divides.' Warton.

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, 10
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than
Which he for us did freely undergo :
[so,

Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!

III.

15

He sovereign priest stooping his regal head,
That dropp'd with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,

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

VOL. III.

IV.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse,
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound;
His god-like acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings other where are found; 25
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.

26 Cremona's trump] Vida's Christiad.

N

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.

30

VII.

35

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 tow'rs of Salem stood,
Once glorious tow'rs, now sunk in guiltless blood :
There doth my soul in holy vision sit

In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

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

46

30 Over] So P. L. iv. 609.

'And o'er the dark her silver mantle throw.' Steevens.

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

VIII.

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 beguil❜d)

Might think th' infection of my sorrows loud Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud.

ON TIME.*

50

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.

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, 5

51

a weeping] Jeremiah, ix. 10. For the mountains will I take up a weeping,' &c. Warton.

* In Milton's MS. written with his own hand,' On Time. To be set on a clock-case.' Warton.

2 leaden-stepping hours] Carew's Poems, p. 78, ed. 1642. They [the hours] move with leaden feet. A. Dyce.

And merely mortal dross;

So little is our loss,

So little is thy gain.

For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb'd,
And last of all thy greedy self consum'd,
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,

15

With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine About the supreme throne

10

Of him, t' whose happy-making sight alone

When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime, Then all this earthly grossness quit,

Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever sit, Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee,

O Time.

UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.

20

YE flaming Pow'rs, 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

12 individual] Inseparable. P. L. iv. 485.

1 flaming] So P. Lost, ix. 156. xi. 101.

Warton.

v. 610. Warton.

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