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And storied windows richly dight,
These pleasures, Melancholy, give, And I with thee will choose to live.
ODE ON THE NATIVITY.
THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside, and here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
* * *
IT was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies; Nature, in awe to him,
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize.
No war, or battle's sound,
Was heard the world around:
The idle spear and shield were high up hung, 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.
But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of Light
His reign of peace upon the earth began ;
Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
The shepherds on the lawn,
Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Was kindly come to live with them below;
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet
As never was by mortal finger strook; Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,
As all their souls in blissful rapture took : The air, such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close.
Nature, that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round
Of Cynthia's seat, the aëry region thrilling, Now was almost won
To think her part was done,
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling;
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all heaven and earth in happier union.
At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,
That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd; The helmed Cherubim, And sworded Seraphim,
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd,
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born Heir.
Such music (as 't is said)
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,
And the well-balanced world on hinges hung, And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
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 heaven's deep organ blow;
For, if such holy song
Time will run back and fetch the age of gold;
Will sicken soon and die,
And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould, And hell itself will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.
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,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;
And heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.
But wisest Fate says No,
The Babe lies yet in smiling infancy,
That on the bitter cross
So both himself and us to glorify;
Yet first, to those inchain'd in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the
With such a horrid clang
As on Mount Sinai rang,
While the red fire and smouldering clouds outbrake: The aged earth aghast,
With terror of that blast,
Shall from the centre to the surface shake;
When, at the world's last session,
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne.
And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,
But now begins; for, from this happy day, The old Dragon, under ground
In straiter limits bound,
Not half so far casts his usurped sway; And, wroth to see his kingdom fail, Swinges 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
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.