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Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ;
And mooned Ashtaroth,
and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;
The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn, [mourn.
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz
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;
Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud; In vain, with timbrell’d anthems dark, The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipp'd ark. 220
He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded Infant's hand,
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside
Longer dare abide,
Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine ;
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned 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 the infernal jail,
Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave; And the yellow-skirted fays
[maze. Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved But see, the Virgin blest Hath laid her Babe to rest;
Time is, our tedious song should here have ending: Heaven's youngest-teemed star
240 Hath fix'd her polish'd car,
Her sleeping Lord, with handmaid lamp, attending: And all about the courtly stable Bright harness'd ang ls sit in order serviceable.
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.
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!
He, sovereign priest, stooping his regal head,
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshy 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.
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, 50
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.
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,
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.
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 out-lasted
Bleak Winter's force that made thy 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, [held.
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 :