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But fie, my wand'ring Muse, how thou dost stray!
Expectance calls thee now another way;
Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent 55
To keep in compass of thy predicament:
Then qnick about thy purposed business come,
That to the next I may resign my room.
Then Ens is represented as father of the Predica-

ments, his ten sons, whereof the eldest stood for Substance with his canons, which Ens, thus speak. ing, explains.

Good luck befriend thee, son ; for at thy birth The faery ladies danced upon the hearth;

60 Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie, And sweetly singing round about thy bed Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head. She heard them give thee this, that thou should'st still From eyes of mortals walk invisible :

66 Yet there is something that doth force my fear, For once it was my dismal hap to hear A Sybil old, bow-bent with crooked age, That far events full wisely could presage,

70 And in Time's long and dark prospective glass Foresaw what future days should bring to pass; Your son, said she, (nor can you it prevent) Shall subject be to many an accident. O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king, 75 Yet every one shall make him underling, And those that cannot live from him asunder Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under; In worth and excellence he shall ont-go them; Yet being above them, he shall be below them; 80 From others he shall stand in need of nothing, Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing. To find a foe it shall not be his hap, And Peace shall lull him in her flowery lap; Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door

85 Devouring War shall never cease to roar: Yea, it shall be his natural property To harbour those that are at enmity. What power, what furce, what mighty spell, if not Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot ? 90

The next Quantity and Quality spake in prose, then

Relation was called by his name
Rivers arise ; whether thou be the son
Of utmost Tweed, or (ose, or gulphy Dun,
Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant spreads
His thirsty arms along th' indented meads;
Or sullen Mole that runneth underneath,

95
Or Severn swift, guilty of maidens' death;
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,
Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee,
Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name,
Or Medway smooth, or royal tower'd Thame. 100

[The rest was prose.]

III.
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.

(Composed 1629.)
This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy Sages once did sing,

5
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heav'n's high council-table 10
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day, And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay. Say, heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein 15 Afford a present to the Infant God? Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, To welcome him to this his new abode, Now while the Heav'n by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light, 20 And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons

bright? See how from far upon the eastern road The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:

O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;

25 Have thuu the honour first thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the angel quire, From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.

THE HYMN.

It was the winter wild,
While the Heav'n-born child

30
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ;
Nature in awe to him
Had doff'a her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize : It was no season then for her

35 To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour. Only with speeches fair She woos the gentle air

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow, And on ner naked shame,

40 Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden white to throw,
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
But he, her fears to cease,

45 Sent down the meek-eyed Peace;

She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere His ready harbinger,

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing, 50 And, waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace througb sea and land. No war, or battle's sound, Was heard the world around :

The idle spear and shield were high up hung, 55 The hooked chariot stood, Unstain'd 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.

28. Isaiah vi. 6, 7.
5% She strikes ; so the Latin, fædus ferire.

But peaceful was the night,

61 Wherein the Prince of light

His reign of peace upon the earth began :
The winds with wonder whist
Smootbly the waters kiss'd,

65
Whisp'ring new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
The stars with deep amaze
Staud fix'd in steadfast gaze,

70 Bending one way their precious influence, And will not take their flight, For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence; But in their glimmering orbs did glow,

75 Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go. And though the shady gloom Had given day her room,

The snin himself withheld his wonted speed, And hid his head for shame,

80 As his inferior flame

The new enlighten'd world no more should need; He saw a greater sun appear

(bear. Than his bright throne, or burning axle-tree could The shepherds on the lawn,.

85 Or ere 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; 90
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook,

95 Divinely warbled voice Answering the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took : The air such pleasure loth to lose,

[close. With thousand echoes still prolongs each heav'nly

Nature that heard such sound,

101 Bepeath the hollow round

of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling, Now was almost won To think her part was done,

105 And that her reign had here its last fulfilling; She knew such harmony alone Could hold all Heav'n and Earth in happier union. At last surrounds their sight A globe of circular light,

110 That with long beams the shame-faced night arThe helmed cherubim

(ray'd; And sworded seraphim,

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

115 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

120 His constellations set,

And the well-balanced world on hinges hung, And cast the dark foundations deep, And bid the welt'ring waves their oozy channel keep. Ring out, ye crystal spheres,

125 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 Heav'n's deep organ blow, 130 And with your ninefold harmony, Make up full concert to th' angelic symphony. For if such holy song Inwrap our fancy long,

Time will run back, and fetch the age of Gold, 135 And speckled Vanity Will sicken soon and die,

And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould, And Hell itself will pass away,

139 And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day

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