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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,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice, bore for our excess;
And seals obedience first, with wounding smart,
This day, but O! ere long,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart.
ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT,
O YAIREST 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 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, Theld. 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,
• Written in 1625, and first inserted in edition 1673. He was 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,
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 TIM E.* 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 employ, 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
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.
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; alas, 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, and wife a John, Marquis of Winchester:
The god that sits at marriage feast;
He, at their invoking, came,
But with a scarce well-lighted flame;
And in his garland, as he stood,
Ye might discern a cypress bud.
Once had the early matrons run
To greet her of a lovely son,
And now with second hope she goes,
And calls Lucina to her throes ;
But, whether by mischance or blame,
Atropos for Lucina came;
And, with remorseless cruelty,
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree:
The hapless babe, before his birth,
Had burial, yet not laid in earth ;
And the languish'd mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb.
So have I seen some tender slip,
Saved with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck'd up, by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flower,
New shot up from vernal shower ;
But the fair blossom hangs the head,
Side-ways, as on a dying bed,
And those pearls of dew she wears,
Prove to be presaging tears,
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hastening funeral.
Gentle lady, may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this, thy travail sore
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,
That, to give the world increase,
Shorten'd hast thy own life's lease.
Here, besides the sorrowing,
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon,
And some flowers, and some bays,
For thy hearse, to strew the ways,
Sent thee from the banks of Came,
Devoted to thy virtuous name;
Whilst thou, bright saint, high sit’st in glory,
Next her, much like to thee in story,
That fair Syrian shepherdess, ,
Who, after years of barrenness,