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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 blamo,

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;

She, crowned with olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphere
His ready harbinger,

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing,
And waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes an universal peace' through sea and land.

No war, or battle's sound,
Was heard the world around:
The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hooked chariot stood,
Unstained with hostile blood;

The trumpet spake not to the arméd throng,
And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.


But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began :
The winds with wonder whist?
Smoothly the waters kissed,

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 stars with deep amaze
Stand fixed in stedfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence,
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warned them thence;
1 “Strikes peace," a Latinism, fædus ferire.

2 Silent.

But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.



And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame

The new enlightened world no more should need ;
He saw a greater sun appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could bear.
The shepherds on the lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they then,
That the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook,
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringéd 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 airy 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 shame-faced night arrayed; The helméd cherubim,

* Piercing




And sworded seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displayed,
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes to Heaven's new-born Heir.
Such music (as 'tis said)
Before was never made,

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

And with your ninefold harmony

full consort to the angelic symphony.

For if such holy song
Enwrap our fancy long,

Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold,
And speckled Vanity
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,

Orbed in a rainbow; and like glories wearing?
Mercy will sit between,
Thuoned 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.
I Job xxxviii. 7.
? This is the author's own correction. He had originally written-

“The enamelled arras of the rainbow wearing;
And Mercy sit between,” &c.



But wisest Fate says no,
This must not yet be so,

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,


With such a horrid clang
As on Mount Sinai rang,

While the red fire and smouldering clouds out brake :
The aged earth aghast,
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,

But now begins; for, from this happy day,
The old dragon, underground
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.
The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum

Runs through the archéd roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathéd spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.

The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard? and loud lament;

Alluding to the belief entertained by many of the Fathers, that the oracles ceased at the coming of Christ.

2 Alluding to an „ffective story told by Plutarch (de defectu oracul. orum), that a voice had been heard, proclaiming that “The Great Pan was dead."



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.


In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,

The Lars' and Lemuresmoan with midnight plai:it:
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 foregoes his wonted scat.



Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice battered god of Palestines;
And moonéd 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 moun.

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 unshowered grass with lowings loud :
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest,

Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud;
1 Household gods.
2 Night spirits, ghosts.

3. Dagon. See Judges xvi., and 1 Sam. v. The names of the heathen gods mentioned in the following lines have already been explained in the notes on the first book of Paradise Lost.

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