Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock,
That was the casket of Heaven'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 ;

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

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,
Hgh 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 0! ere long,
Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart.

ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT,

Dying of a Cough.*

O FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted ! Soft silken primrose, fading timelessly, Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst outlasted Bleak Winter's force, that made tlıy blossom dry; For he, being amorous, on that lovely dye,

That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss ; But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss. For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer, By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got, He thought it touch'd his deity full near, If likewise he some fair one wedded not ; Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld, Sheld. Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reproach was So, mounting up in icy-pearled car, Through middle empire of the freezing air, He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far : There ended was his quest, there ceased his care; Down he descended, from his snow-soft chair,

But, all unwares, with his cold-kind embrace, Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding place. Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate; For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,

erted

edi

1673. He

• Written in 1625, and first kas now seventeen.Warton.

Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth, born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land:

But then transform'd him to a purple flower :
Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.
Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb;
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world, in a low-delved tomb;
Could Heaven, for pity, thee so strictly doom?

Oh no! for something in thy face did shine, Above mortality, that show'd thou was divine. Resolve me then, oh soul most surely bless’d, If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear, Tell me, bright spirit, where'er thou hoverest, Whether above that high first-moving sphere, Or in the Elysian fields, if such there were,

O say me true, if thou wert mortal wight, And why, from us so quickly, thou didst take thy flight. Wert thou some star, which, from the ruin'd roof Of shaked Olimpus, by mischance didst fall; Which careful Jove, in nature's true behoof, Took

up, and in fit place did reinstall ? Or did of late earth's sons besiege the wall

Of sheeny Heaven, & thou some goddess fled Amongst is, here below, to hide thy nectar'd head? Or wert thou that just maid, who, once before, Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth, And camest again to visit us once more? Or wert thou that sweet-smiling youth? Or that crown'd matron sage, white-rob’d Truth?

Or any other of that heavenly brood, [good ? Let down in cloudy throne, to do the world some Or wert thou of the golden-winged host, Who, having clad thyself in human weed, To earth, from thy prefixed seat, didst post, And after short abode fly back with speed, As if to show what creatures Heaven doth breed,

Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire, To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heaven aspire ? But oh, why didst thou not stay here below, To bless us with thy heaven-loved innocence, To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,

To turn swift-rushing black perdition hence,
Or, drive away the slaughtering pestilence,

To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart?
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art.
Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child,
Her false-imagined loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild;
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent;

This if thou do, he will an offspring give, (to live. That, till the world's last end, shall make thy name

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 earthly grossness quit, Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit, [O Time !

Triumphing over Death and Chance, and thee,

AT A SOLEMN MUSIC, Bless'D pair of Syrens, pledges of Heaven's joy, Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and verse, Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power einploy, Dead things, with inbreathed sense able to pierce; And, to our high-raised phantasy, present That undisturbed song of pure consent,

• In Milton's manuscript, written with his own hand, vol. 8. the title is, “ On Time. To be set on a clock-case."

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 up-lifted 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,
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against nature's chime, and, with harsh din,
Broke the fair music, that all creatures made
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 concert us unite,
To live with him and sing in endless morn of light.

AN EPITAPH

ON THE

MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER."
This rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair
Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from earth.
Summers three times eight, save one,
She had told ; las, too soon,
After so short time of breath,
To house with darkness and with death.
Yet had the number of her days
Been as complete as was her praise,
Nature and fate had had no strife,
In giving limit to her life.

Her high birth, and her graces sweet,
Quickly found a lover meet;
The virgin quire, for her, request

* Jane, daughter of Thomas, Viscount Savage, wife a John, Marquis

of Winchester:

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »