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And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,

But now begins; for, from this happy day,
The old dragon, under ground
In straiter limits bound,

Not half so far casts his usurped sway;
And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swindges the scaly horrour of his folded tail v.

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The oracles w 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,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetick cell.
The lonely mountains o’er,
And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament y;
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 ?.

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In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,

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Swindges the scaly horrour of his folded tail. This strong image is copied from the descriptions of serpents and dragons in the old romances and Ariosto. There is a fine picture by Guido, representing Michael the archangel treading on Satan, who has such a tail as is here described.—Jos. WARTON.

w The oracles, &c. Attention is irresistibly awakened and engaged by the air of solemnity and enthusiasm that reigns in this stanza and some that follow. Such is the power of true poetry, that one is almost inclined to believe the superstitions real.-Jos. WARTON.

This is a noble note of Jos. Warton, who, though he had not the detached, abstruse, and curious knowledge, and deep research of his brother, had, perhaps, more sensibility of taste. Here is just enough of that dim imagery, and those mysterious epithets, to set the imagination into that magical stir, which it is the essence of true poetry to cause.

* The lonely mountains o'er, &c. Dr. Newton observes, that this allusion to the notion of the cessation of oracles at the coming of Christ, was allowable enough in a young poet. Surely, nothing could have been more allowable in an old poet. And how poetically is it extended to the pagan divinities, and the oriental idolatries !—T. WARTON.

y A voice of weeping heard and loud lament. This is scriptural. Matt. ü. 18: “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping,” &c.—T. WARTON.

The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
An exquisite Alexandrine, both for the imagery and the music of the metre.

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The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plainti
In urns, and altars round,
A drear and dying sound

Affrights the flamens at their service quaint ;
And the chill marble seems to sweat a,
While each peculiar Power forgoes his wonted seat b.

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Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ;
And mooned Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both ,

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine :
The Libyck Hammon shrinks his horn;
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn :

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And sullen Moloch, fled 4,
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 é:
The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis f, haste:

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Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green,

a The chill marble seems to sweat. Among the prodigia at the death of Julius Cæsar, Virgil notices, "moestum illacrymat templis ebur, æraque sudant.” Georg. i. 480.-DUNSTER.

6 While each peculiar Power forgoes his wonted seat. Virgil, “Æn.” ii. 351.

Excessere omnes, adytis arisque relictis,
Dî, &c.-RICHARDSON.

c Heaven's queen and mother both.
She was called "regina coeli” and “mater Deum.” See Selden.—Newton.

d And sullen Moloch, fled, &c. This imagery, but with less effect, was afterwards transferred into the “Par. Lost," b. i. 392 ; where these dreadful circumstances, of themselves sufficiently striking to the imagination, are only related : in our Ode, they are endued with life and action, they are put in motion before our eyes, and made subservient to a new purpose of the poet by the superinduction of a poetical fiction, to which they give occasion. Milton, like a true poet, in describing the Syrian superstitions, selects such as were most susceptible of poetical enlargement; and which, from the wildness of their ceremonies, were most interesting to the fancy.-T. WARTON.

In dismal dance about the furnace blue. So in “Macbeth,” as Mr. Steevens has observed to me :

And round about the caldron sing.-T. WARTON.

And the dog Anubis. Virgil, “Æn.” viii. 698.

Omnigenumque Deum monstra, et latrator Anubis.—TODD.

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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 timbrel'd anthems dark
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark.

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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 controul the damned crew.

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So, when the sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave h,
The flocking shadows pale i
Troop to the infernal jail ;

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave;
And the yellow-skirted fayes
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze i.

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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
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending k:

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8 Trampling the unshower'd grass. There being no rain in Egypt, but the country made fruitful with the overflowings of the Nile.-RICHARDSON.

h Pillows his chin upon an orient wave. The words “pillows” and “chin” throw an air of burlesque and familiarity over a comparison most exquisitely conceived and adapted.—T. WARTON.

The flocking shadows pale, &c.
Mr. Bowle directs us to the “ Midsum. Night's Dr.” a. ii. s. ult.

And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards : damned spirits all,
That in cross-ways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone.-T. WARTON.
1 And the yellow-skirted fayes

Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze. It is a very poetical mode of expressing the departure of the fairies at the approach of morning, to say that they “fly after the steeds of Night.”—T. WARTON.

k With handmaid lamp attending. Alluding, perhaps, to the parable of the ten virgins, in the Gospel.-DUNSTER.

And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harness'd angels 1 sit in order serviceable.

Bright-harness'd angels. Bright-armed. So, in Exod. xii. 18: “The children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”—NEWTON.

A great critic, in speaking of Milton's smaller poems, passes over this Ode in silence, and observes, “All that short compositions can commonly attain is neatness and elegance.” But Odes are short compositions, and they can often attain sublimity, which is even a characteristic of that species of poetry. We have the proof before us. He adds, “Milton never learned the art of doing little things with grace.” If by "little things” we are to understand short poems, Milton had the art of giving them another sort of excellence. T. WARTON.

Here Warton does justice to this sublime Hymn. In this piece are all the constituents of poetry, including high and solemn invention : the imagery is also poetical; the metrical combination of the words rises like the gathering force of a flood, or rather of the careering winds. Milton had already learned to amalgamate his ideal riches, and cast them in a mould of his own.

THE PASSION.

This Ode, or rather Elegy, is unaccountably inferior to the preceding Hymn, and

unworthy of Milton : indeed, the poet, by leaving it unfinished, and by his note at the end, seems himself to have thought so: one wonders, therefore, that, with such an impression on his own part, he printed it. The language is of an humbler cast, and more like the common poets of his day.

EREWHILE of musick, and ethereal mirtha,
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 b;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing c;

In wintry solstice, like the shorten'd light,
Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living 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 :

Erewhile of musick, and ethereal mirth. Hence we may conjecture that this Ode was probably composed soon after that on the Nativity: and this perhaps was a college exercise at Easter, as the last was at Christmas. — T. WARTON.

My Muse with angels did divide to sing. See Spenser, “Faer. Qu.” III. i. 40 :

And all the while sweet musicke did divide

Her looser notes with Lydian harmony.
As Horace, “Imbelli cithara carmina divides." Od. 1. xv. 15.-T. WARTON.

< But headlong joy is ever on the wing An elegant and expressive line.—T. WARTON.

Most perfect Hero 4, tried in heaviest plight
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!

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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 :
O, 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.

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These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
To this horizon is my Phæbus bound :
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings, other where are found;
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump e doth sound :

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.

Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief ;
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flatter'd fancy to belief,
That heaven and earth are colour'd with my woe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know :

The leaves should all be black whereon I write;
And letters f, where my tears have wash’d, a wannish white.

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See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirl'd 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 :

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

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 soften'd quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before ;

d Most perfect Hero. From Heb. ii. 10. "The Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”—Todd.

Loud o'er the rest Cremona’s trump. Our poet seems here to be of opinion, that Vida's “Christiad” was the finest Latin poem on a religious subject.-Jos. WARTON,

- The leaves should all be black whereon I write,

And letters, &c. Conceits were now confined not to words only. Mr. Steevens has a volume of Elegies in which the paper is black, and the letters white; that is, in all the title-pages : every intermediate leaf is also black. What a sudden change from this childish idea, to the noble apostrophe, the sublime rapture and imagination, of the next stanza !--T. WARTON.

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