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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 breathed spell, 179
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, 190
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint; In urns, and altars round, 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
Heaven's queen and mother both, Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine: The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn; In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.
And sullen Moloch, fled,
The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Nor is Osiris seen In Memphian grove or green, Trampling the unshowered 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 timbreled anthems dark, The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshiped 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, Not 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,
Curtained with cloudy red, 230
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.
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 fixed her polished car,
Erewh1le of music, and ethereal mirth,
In wintry solstice like the shortened light
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
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, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,
Yet more: the stroke of death he must abide; 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.
These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief!
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw, 30
And work my flattered fancy to belief
That heaven and earth are coloured 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 washed, a wannish white.
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
My spirit some transporting cherub feels
To bear me where the towers of Salem stood,
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood. 40
There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
For sure so well instructed are my tears
Or, should I thence, hurried on viewless wing, 50
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
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.
SONG ON MAY MORNING.
Now the bright morning-star, Day's harbinger,
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.
VOL. I. I.