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A Sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,
That far events full wisely could presage,
And in time's long and dark prospective glass
Foresaw what future days should bring to pass ;
* Your son," said she, (" nor can you it prevent)
Shall subject be to many an Accident.
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king, 73
Yet every one shall make him underling;
And those that cannot live from him asunder,
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under;
In worth and excellence he sball out-go them,
Yet, being above them, he shall be below them;
From others he shall stand in need of nothing,
Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.
To find a foe it shall not be his hap;
And peace shall lull him in her flow'ry lap;
Yet shall be live in strife, and at his door
Devouring war shall never cease to roar;
Yea, it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity.
What pow'r, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot ?"90

The next Quantity and Quality spake in prose, then

Relation was called by his name. RIVERS, arise; whether thou be the son of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulphy Dan, Or Trent, who, like some earth-born giant, spreads His thirty arms along th' indented meads; Or sulen Mole, that runneth underneath; Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death; Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee, Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee; Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name; Or Medway smooth, or royal-tow'red Thame. 106

[The rest was prose.

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THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Hear'n'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 deadly 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 Heav'n's high council-table 10
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, heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein 13
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 Heav'n, by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light, 20 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:
O 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.





IT was the winter wild,
While the Hear'n-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 sympathise:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

Only with speeches fair
She wooes 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,

45 Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

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

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; 50 And, waving wide her myrtle wand, Shę strikes an universal peace through sea and land.

Nor war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around :
The idle spear and shield were high up hung ;

55 The hooked chariot stood, Unstaind 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. 60


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 kist,

Whisp'ring new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed waree


The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,

70 Bending one way their precious influence; And will

not take their flight, For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
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,

89 As his inferior flame

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need; He saw a greater sun appear Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could VIII. The shepherds on the lawn,


85 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; 90
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 ;

95 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 heav'nly 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 Heav'n and Earth in happier union.

XI. At last surrounds their sight A globe of circular light,

110 That with long beams the shame-fac'd night array'd; The helmed cherubim, And sworded seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, Harping in loud and solemn quire,

115 With unexpressive notes to Heaven's new-born Heir.

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