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Ye nymphs of Solyma, begin the song !
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus, and the Aonian maids,
Delight no more. O Thou! my voice inspire,
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire.
Rapt into future times, the bard begun :
"A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies ;
The ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye heavens ! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail ;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn!
Oh spring to light! auspicious Babe, be born!
See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring!
See lofty Lebanon his head advance ;
See nodding forests on the mountains dance!
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfume the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers :
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears !
A God! a God! the vocal hills reply;
The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity.
Lo! earth receives Him from the bending skies :
Sink down, ye mountains, and, ye valleys, rise!
With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay!
Be smooth, ye rocks! ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes, by ancient bards foretold :
Hear Him, ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day.
'Tis He the obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
Ard bid rew music charm the unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting, like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear;
From every face He wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel the eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air ;
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms :
Thus shall mankind His guardian care engage,
The promised Father of the future age!
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes :
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er--
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more ;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a plough-share end.
Then palaces shall rise : the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun :
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'dshall reap the field ;
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise ;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds, to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods:
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn:
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead :
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet;
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and spotted snake;
Pleased the green lustre of the scales survey.
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.*
Nor with more glories, in the ethereal plain,
The sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams
Launch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames.
Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her shone,
But every eye was fix'd on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore :
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those.
Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike:
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide.
If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
Rape of the Lock.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot,
The world forgetting, by the world forgot!
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind,
Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Labour and rest that equal periods keep;
Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;
Desires composed, affections ever even ;
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heaven ;
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whispering angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her the unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes :
For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring:
For her white virgins hymenaals sing.
To sounds of heavenly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.
Eloisa to Abelard.
TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD.
ABOVE, below, without, within, around,
Confused, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away;
Hosts raised by fear, and phantoms of a day:
Astrologers, that future fates foreshow;
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands,
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign landss.
Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place,
And wild impatience stared in every face.
The flying rumours gather'd as they rolld,
tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too:
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
News travell'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a spark, that kindled first by chance,
With gathering force the quickening flames advance;
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And towers and temples sink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung, Full grown and fit to grace a mortal tongue, Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow, And rush in millions on the world below. Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course, Their date determines and prescribes their force : Some to remain, and some to perish soon, Or wane and wax alternate with the moon. Around a thousand wingèd wonders fly, Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through