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Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ; And mooned Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;
The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn,
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.
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.
He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded Infant's hand,
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; Nor all the gods beside
Longer dare abide,
Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine;
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.
So, when the sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,
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 handmaid lamp, attending : And all about the courtly stable
Bright harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.
EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
In wintry solstice, like the shorten'd light,
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,
Most perfect hero, tried in heaviest plight Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!
He, sovereign priest, stooping his regal head,
His starry front low-roof'd beneath the skies:
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide,
These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me, night, best patroness of grief:
That heaven and earth are colour'd with my woe;
The leaves should all be black whereon I write,
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
would I score
Yet on the soften'd
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
Or should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
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.
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
YE flaming powers, and winged warriors bright,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow :
Sore doth begin
O more exceeding love, or law more just?
For we, by rightful doom remediless,
And that great covenant, which we still transgress,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess;
And seals obedience first, with wounding smart,
This day; but, oh, ere long,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart.
ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, DYING OF A COUGH.
O FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted,
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer,
Of long uncoupled bed and childless eld,
So, mounting up in icy-pearled car,
He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far;
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care: