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At last surrounds their sight
A Globe of circular light,
That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd,
The helmed Cherubim
And sworded Seraphim,
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd,
Harping in loud and solemn quire
With unexpressive notes to Heaven's new-born Heir.
Such Music (as 'tis said)
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator Great
His constellations set,
And the well-balanced world on hinges hung;
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
(If ye And let
Ring out ye Crystal spheres!
Once bless our human ears,
have power to touch our senses so)
XI. unexpressive] inexpressible.
Move in melodious time;
And let the Bass of Heav'n's deep Organ blow,
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to th' Angelic symphony.
For if such holy Song
Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold;
consort] orchestra, concert.
And speckled vanity
Will sicken soon and die,
And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould;
And Hell itself will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.
Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,
Orb'd in a Rain-bow; and like glories wearing
Mercy will sit between,
Throned in Celestial sheen,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering, And Heav'n, as at some festival,
open wide the Gates of her high Palace Hall.
But wisest Fate says No;
This must not yet be so;
The Babe lies yet in smiling Infancy,
That on the bitter cross
With such a horrid clang
As on mount Sinai rang
Must redeem our loss;
So both himself and us to glorify:
Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,
While the red fire, and smouldering clouds outbrake:
The agèd Earth aghast
With terror of that blast,
Shall from the surface to the centre shake,
When at the world's last session,
The dreadful Judge in middle Air shall spread his throne.
XIV. speckled] plague-spotted.
XVII. session] sitting in judgment.
And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,
But now begins; for from this happy day Th' old Dragon under ground
In straiter limits bound,
Not half so far casts his usurpèd sway ; And wroth to see his Kingdom fail, Swindges the scaly Horror of his folded tail.
The Oracles are dumb;
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving : No nightly trance, or breathèd spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed Priest from the prophetic cell.
The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament; From haunted spring, and dale,
Edged with poplar pale,
The parting Genius is with sighing sent;
With flower-inwoven tresses torn
The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
In consecrated Earth
And on the holy Hearth
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint,
In Urns, and Altars round,
XIX. divine] give oracles.
xx. genius] spirit of the place.
A drear and dying sound
Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.
Peor and Baalim
Forsake their Temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ;
And moonèd Ashtaroth,
Heav'n's Queen and Mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;
The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn;
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammus mourn.
And sullen Moloch fled,
Hath left in shadows dread
His burning Idol all of blackest hue;
In vain with cymbals' ring,
They call the grisly king,
In dismal dance about the furnace blue; The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis and Orus, and the Dog Anubis haste.
Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian Grove, or Green,
Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud: Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest ;
Naught but profoundest Hell can be his shroud;
In vain with Timbrel'd Anthems dark
The sable-stolèd Sorcerers bear his worshipt Ark.
XXIV. stoled] cloaked.
He feels from Juda's Land
The dreaded Infant's hand;
of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine :
Our Babe, to shew his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damnèd crew.
So when the Sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,
Pillows his chin upon an Orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale,
Troop to th' infernal jail,
Each fetter'd Ghost slips to his several grave;
And the yellow-skirted Fays
Fly after the Night-steeds, leaving their Moon-lov'd
But see, the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest;
Time is our tedious Song should here have ending ; Heav'n's youngest-teemèd Star
Hath fix'd her polish'd Car,
Her sleeping Lord with Handmaid Lamp attending: And all about the courtly Stable, Bright-harness'd Angels sit in order serviceable.
XXVII. youngest-teemed] latest born, that is the star of Bethlehem. fixed] stood still over the stable. harnessed] armoured.