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The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied In liberty's defence, my noble task,

Of which all Europe rings from side to side. This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask,

Content, thought blind, had I no better guide.

XXIII.

ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.

METHOUGHT I Saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave, Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,

Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint. Mine, as whom, wash'd from spot of child-bed taint, Purification in the old law did save,

And such, as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in heaven without restraint, Come vested all in white, pure as her mind: Her face was veil'd, yet, to my fancied sight, Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined So clear, as in no face with more delight.

But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined, I waked-she fled and day brought back my night.

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ODES.

I. ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.

THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King,
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our daily forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
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,

And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant-God?

Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,

Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons
bright?

See, how from far, upon the eastern road,
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
Oh! run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;

Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the angel-quire,
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd
fire.

THE HYMN.

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: It was no season then for her

To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

Only with speeches fair

She woos the gentle air

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow; And on her naked shame,

Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden white to throw : Confounded, that her Maker's eyes

Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

But he, her fears to cease,

Sent down the meek-eyed Peace;

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