Page images

No war, or battle's sound,

Was heard the world around: The idle


and shield were high up hung; The hooked chariot stood,

Unstained with hostile blood;
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng,

And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.

But peaceful was the night

Wherein the Prince of Light
His reign of peace upon the earth began :

The winds with wonder whist

Smoothly the waters kissed, Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,

Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed


The stars with deep amaze

Stand fixed in steadfast gaze, Bending one way their precious influence,

And will not take their flight,

For all the morning light,
Or Lucifer that often warned them thence;

But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

And though the shady gloom

Had given day her room,
The sun himself withheld his wontedspeed,

And hid his head for shame,

As his inferior flame The new-enlightened world no more should need;

He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could


The shepherds on the lawn,

Or e’er the point of dawn, Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;

Full little thought they then,

That the mighty Pan
Was kindly come to live with them below;

Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

At last surrounds their sight

A globe of circular light,
That with long beams the shame-faced night

The helmed cherubim,

And sworded seraphim,
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displayed,

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


channel keep.

When such music sweet

Their hearts and ears did greet, As never was by mortal finger strook,

Divinely-warbled voice

Answering the stringèd noise,
As all their souls in blissful rapture took :

The air, such pleasure loth to lose, With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly


Nature, that heard such sound,

Beneath the hollow round
Of Cynthia's seat, the airy region thrilling,

Now was almost won

To think her part was done,
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling ;

She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all heaven and earth in happier union.

Ring out, ye crystal spheres,

Once bless our human ears,
(If ye have power to touch our senses so),
And let


silver chime
Move in melodious time;
And let the bass of Heaven's deep organ blow ;

And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full concert to the angelic symphony.

For if such holy song,

Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold,

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,
Orbed in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,

Mercy will sit between,

Throned in celestial sheen,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;


And Heaven, as at some festival, Will 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

Must redeem our loss,
So both Himself and us to glorify:

Yet first, to those ychained in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through

the deep


With such a horrid clang

As on Mount Sinai rang,
While the red fire and smouldering clouds out

brake :
The aged 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


[blocks in formation]

But see the Virgin blest

Hath laid her Babe to rest ; Time is, our tedious song should here have ending.

Heav'n's youngest teemed star

Hath fix'd her polished car Her sleeping Lord, with handmaid lamp at

tending; And all about the courtly stable, Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.

Miltonic in aim and in tone, if not in reach of thought, is Robert Montgomery's



Thou, Lord of lords, and Light of light,
Who, with empyreal glory bright,
Art seated on the eternal throne,
Invisibly, the vast Alone -
Ten thousand worlds around Thee blaze,
Ten thousand harps repeat Thy praise ;
Yet hymn, nor harp, nor song divine,
Nor myriad orbs created Thine,
This measureless display of love,
To earth below, and heaven above,
By Thy unmingled power could tell
That ends the curse, and conquers hell!
Oh! never, never, since we came,
On wings of light, and form of flame,
Like mingling harmonies that rise
In glorious swell along the skies,
Have angels known entrancing bliss,
Unfathomably deep as this !
For lo! the manger where He lies,
A world-redeeming Sacrifice.
Peace on earth! to man good will !
Let the skies our anthem fill.
Hail! Virgin-born, transcendant Child,
Of mortal semblance, undefiled;
By ages visioned, doomed to be
The Star of Immortality!
Hail! Prince of Peace, and Lord of Light
Around Thy path the world is bright.
Where'er Thou tread'st an Eden blooms,
And earth forgets her myriad tombs!

« PreviousContinue »