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At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,

That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd; The helmed Cherubim,

And sworded Seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, Harping in loud and solemn quire,

With unexpressive notes to Heaven's new-born Heir.

Such music (as 't is 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 oozy channel keep.

Ring out, ye crystal spheres,

Once bless our human ears,

If ye have power to touch our senses so; And let your silver chime

Move in melodious time;

And let the base 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,

Orb'd 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 inchain'd 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 outbrake:

The aged earth aghast,

With terror of that blast,

Shall from the centre to the surface shake;

When, at the world's last session,

The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne.

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,

Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

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,

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,

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 foregoes his wonted seat.

Peor and Baalim

Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice-batter'd goda 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 Thammus

mourn.

Dagon. See 1 Samuel v.

And sullen Moloch, fled,

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; The brutish gods of Nile as fast,

Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.

Nor is Osiris seen

In Memphian grove or green,

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 timbrell'd anthems dark

The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipp'd ark.

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Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,

The flocking shadows pale

Troop to the infernal jail,

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave;

And the yellow-skirted fays

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

Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord, with hand-maid lamp, attending:

And all about the courtly stable

Bright harness'd angels sit, in order serviceable.

MILTON.

EXTRACT FROM COMUS.

SONG.

SABRINA fair,

Listen where thou art sitting,
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
Listen, for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,

Listen, and save.

By all the nymphs that nightly dance
Upon thy streams with wily glance,
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head,
From thy coral-paven bed,

And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answer'd have.
Listen, and save!

Sabrina rises and sings.

By the rushy-fringed bank,

Where grows the willow, and the osier dank,
My sliding chariot stays,

Thick set with agate, and the azure sheen
Of turkis blue, and emerald green,

That in the channel strays;

Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet
O'er the cowslip's velvet head,
That bends not as I tread;
Gentle swain, at thy request,
I am here.

MILTON.

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