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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,

145
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering,
And Heav'n 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,

150 The babe lies yet in smiling infancy That on the bitter cross Must redeem our loss; So both himself and us to glorify;

154 Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep, (the deep, The wakeful trump of Doom niust thunder through With such a horrid clang As on mount Sinai rang,

[brake: While the red fire and smouldering clouds outThe aged Earth aghast,

160 With terror of that blast,

Shall from the surface to the centre shake; When at the world's last session,

(throne. The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his And then at last our bliss

165 Full and perfect is,

But now begins; for from this happy day
Th' old Dragon under ground
In straighter limits bound,
Not half so far casts his usurped sway,

170
And wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swindges 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

176 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. 173. In allusion to the opinion that the oracles ceased

at our Saviour's birth.

The lonely mountains o'er,

181 And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring, and dale
Edged with poplar pale,

185 The parting Genius is with sighing sent; With flower-inwoven tresses torn

(mourn. The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets In consecrated earth, And on the holy hearth,

190 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,

195 While each peculiar pow'r foregoes his wonted seat. Peor and Baälim Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice-batter'd God of Palestine; And mooned Ashtaroth,

200 Heav'n's queen and mother both,

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; The Lybic Hammon shrinks big horn, (mourn. In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammus And sullen Moloch fled,

205 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 ; 210
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 unshow'r'd grass with lowings loud: 191. The Lars and Lemures ; household gods and night spirits. Flamens ; priests. There is a remarkable resemblance in this poem, one of Milton's earliest, to the later productions of his genius. It presents the same mixture of learning and fancy; of original genius, forgetting itself amid the treasures of erudition. Most of the mythological names have been mentioned in the notes to the larger poems.

Nor can he be at rest

216 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. He feels from Juda's land

221 The dreaded Infant's hand,

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside,
Longer dare abide,

225
Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine :
Our Babe to shew his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.
So when the Sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,

230 Pillows his ohin upon an orient wave, The flocking shadows pale Troop to th’infernal jail,

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave, And the yellow-skirted Fayes

235 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: Heav'n's youngest teemed star

240 Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending : And all about the courtly stable Bright-harnest angels sit in order serviceable.

IV.

THE PASSION.

EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the stage of air and earth did ring,
And joyous news of heav'nly Infant's birth,
My Muse with angels did invite to sing ;
But headlong Joy is ever on the wing,

5

244. Bright-harnest; arnese, from which the epithet is derived, is an Italian word for any kind of ornament or dress. Harners, in English, is commonly used for armour. See 1 Kings xx. 11.

Yet more ;

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, 10 Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so, Which he for us did freely undergo:

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

He sov'reign Priest stooping his regal head, 15 That dropt with odorous oil down his fair cyes, Poor fleshly tabernacle entered, His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies; O what a mask was there, what a disguise !

the stroke of death he must abide, 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side. These latest scenes confine my roving verse, To this horizon is my Phoebus bound; His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, And former sufferings other where are found; 25 Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump 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,

30 And work my flatter'd fancy to belief, That Heav'n 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 where my tears have wash'd a wannish white.

35
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirld the Prophet up at Chebar flood,
My spirit some transporting cherub feels,
To bear me where the tow'rs of Salem stood,
Once glorious tow'rs, now sunk in guiltless blood ;

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

26. Cremona was the birth-place of the poet Vida, who wrote poem on the sufferings and history of Christ.

37. The prophet; Ezekiel. See Ezekiel, chap. i.

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Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of Heav'n's richest store,
And here though grief my feeble hands up lock, 45
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before ;

For sure so well instructed are my tears,
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

Or should I thence, hurried on viewless wing, 50
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild,
And I (for grief is easiiy beguiled)

Might think th' infection of my sorrows loud 55
Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud.

[This subject the Author finding to be above the years

he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished. 1

V.

ON TIME.

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,

6
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,

10 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,

16 With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine About the supreme throne Of Him, to' whose happy-making sight alone

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