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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,
150 The Babe lies yet in smiling infancy
That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss, So both himself and us to glorify : Yet first, to those ychained in sleep, The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through
With such a horrid clang
As on Mount Sinai rang, While the red fire and smouldering clouds outbrake: The aged Earth, aghast,
160 With terror of that blast, Shall from the surface to the centre 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,
The Old Dragon under ground,
In straiter limits bound,
The Oracles are dumb ;
No voice or hideous hum Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo froin his shrine
Can no more divine, With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. No nightly trance, or breathed spell,
179 Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.
The lonely mountains o’er,
And the resounding shore,
From haunted spring, and dale
Edged with poplar pale, The parting Genius is with sighing sent ; With flower-inwoven tresses torn The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets
In consecrated earth,
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, While each peculiar Power forgoes his wonted seat.
Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,
And moonèd Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both, Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine : The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn ; In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz
And sullen Moloch, fled,
Hath left in shadows dread
In vain with cymbal's ring
They call the grisly king,
Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green, Trampling the unshowered 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 timbreled anthems dark, The sable-stolèd sorcerers bear his worshiped ark. 220
He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded Infant's hand;
Nor all the gods beside
Longer dare abide, Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine : Our Babe, to show his Godhead true, Can in his swaddling bands control the damnèd crew.
So, when the sun in bed,
230 Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to the infernal jail, Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave, And the yellow-skirted fays Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved
Hath laid her Babe to rest.
240 Hath fixed her polished car, Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending; And all about the courtly stable Bright-harnessed Angels sit in order serviceable.
EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
In wintry solstice like the shortened light
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so, Which he for us did freely undergo :
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!
He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,
Yet more : the stroke of death he must abide; 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief !
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,