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Yea, Truth and Justice then
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
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
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;
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 dismal dance about the furnace blue ; 210
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;
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.
EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
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.
There doth my soul in holy vision sit
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.
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
Or should I thence, hurried on viewless wing, 50
Might think th' infection of my sorrows loud 55
[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
Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
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