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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.

XVI.

But wisest Fate says No,
This must not yet be so;

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

the deep,

XVII.

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.

XVIII.

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 usurpéd sway,
And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

170

XIX.

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.

XX.

The lonely mountains o’er,

And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;

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

mourn.

XXI.

In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,

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.

XXII.

Peor and Baälim

Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-battered God of Palestine ;

And moonèd Ashtaroth,

200

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

mourn.

XXIII.

And sullen Moloch, fled,

Hath left in shadows dread
His burning idol all of blackest hue;

In vain with cymbal's 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.

210

XXIV.

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

XXV.

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, Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine : Our Babe, to show his Godhead true, Can in his swaddling bands control the damnèd crew.

XXVI.

So, when the sun in bed,
Curtained with cloudy red,

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

maze.

XXVII.
But see! the Virgin blest

Hath laid her Babe to rest.
Time is our tedious song should here have ending:
Heaven's youngest-teemèd star

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.

THE PASSION.

I.

EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the stage of Air and Earth did ring,
And joyous news of Heavenly Infant's birth,
My muse with Angels did divide to sing ;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing,

In wintry solstice like the shortened light
Soon swallowed up in dark and long outliving night.

II.

For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,
Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long,

10

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!

III.

He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-roofed beneath the skies :
Oh, what a mask was there, what a disguise !

Yet more : the stroke of death he must abide; 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.

IV.
These latest scenes confine my roving verse :
To this horizon is my Phæbus bound.
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings, otherwhere are found ;
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound:

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.

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Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief !
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,

30
And work my flattered fancy to belief
That heaven and earth are coloured with my woe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know :

The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish

white,

VI.

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirled the prophet up at Chebar floodi ;

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