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XIX.

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.

XXI.

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
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-battered God of Palestine;
And mooned Ashtaroth,

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.

XXIII.

And sullen Moloch, fled,
Hath left in shadows dread
His burning idol all of blackest hue;
In vain with cymbal's ring
They call the grisly king,
In dismal dance about the furnace blue; 210

The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
I sis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.

XXIV.

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

xxv.

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.

XXVI.

So, when the sun in bed,

Curtained with cloudy red, 230

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to the infernal jail,
Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave,
And the yellow-skirted fays

Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.

XXVII.

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,
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harnessed Angels sit in order serviceable.

THE PASSION.
I.

Erewh1le 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 shortened light
Soon swallowed 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!

III.

He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-roofed beneath the skies:
Oh, what a mask was there, what a disguise!

Yet more: the stroke of death he must abide; 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.

IV.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
To this horizon is my Phcebus bound.
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings, otherwhere are found;
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.

v.

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.

VI.

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirled 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. 40

There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

VII.

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 softened 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 ordered characters.

VIII.

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.

SONG ON MAY MORNING.

Now the bright morning-star, Day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.

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.

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