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371

HYMN ON THE NATIVITY

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 steadfast 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;

but in their glimmering orbs did glow, until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go. 372

The shepherds on the lawn

or ere the point of dawn
sat simply chatting in a rustic row;

full little thought they than

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.

373

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,

The oracles are dumb;

no voice or hideous hum runs through the arched roof in words deceiving:

Apollo from his shrine

can no more divine, with hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving:

no nightly trance or breathed 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;

from haunted spring and dale

edged with poplar pale
the parting Genius is with sighing sent;

with Aower--inwoven tresses torn
thé nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn

In consecrated earth,

and on the holy hearth, 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 foregoes his wonted seat.

J. MILTON

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Сом
‘OME, peace of mind, delightful guest !

return and make thy downy nest
once more in this sad heart:
nor riches I nor power pursue,
nor hold forbidden joys in view;

we therefore need not part.

Where wilt thou dwell, if not with me,
from avarice and ambition free,

and pleasure's fatal wiles ?
For whom, alas! dost thou prepare
the sweets that I was wont to share,

the banquet of thy smiles ?
The great, the gay, shall they partake
the Heaven that thou alone canst make ?

And wilt thou quit the stream
that murmurs through the dewy mead,
the grove and the sequestered shed,

to be a guest with them?
For thee I panted, thee I prized ;
for thee I gladly sacrificed

whate'er I loved before ;
and shall I see thee start away,
and helpless, hopeless, hear thee say-
farewell! we meet no more ?

W. COWPER

375

ODE TO PEACE

O

THOU! who bad'st thy turtles bear

swift from his grasp thy golden hair,
and sought'st thy native skies;
when War, by vultures drawn from far,
to Britain bent his iron car,

and bade his storms arise !
Tired of his rude tyrannic sway
our youth shall fix some festive day,

his sullen shrines to burn:
but thou, who hear'st the turning spheres,
what sounds may charm thy partial ears,

and gain thy blest return!
O Peace, thy injured robes upbind!
O rise, and leave not one behind

of all thy beamy train:
the British Lion, goddess sweet,
lies stretched on earth to kiss thy feet,

and own thy holier reign.
Let others court thy transient smile,
but come to grace thy western isle,

by warlike Honour led;
and, while around her ports rejoice,
while all her sons adore thy choice,

with him for ever wed!

W. COLLINS

376

TO SPRING
*HE bright-haired sun with warmth benign

their infant buds display:
again the streams refresh the plains
which Winter bound in icy chains,

and sparkling bless his ray.
Life-giving Zephyrs breathe around,
and instant glows th' enameld ground

with Nature's varied hues :
not so returns our youth decayed,
alas! nor air nor sun nor shade

the spring of life renews.
The sun's too quick-revolving beam
will soon dissolve the human dream,

and bring th' appointed hour :
too late we catch his parting ray,
and mourn the idly-wasted day,

no longer in our power.
Then happiest he, whose lengthened sight
pursues by virtue's constant light

a hope beyond the skies;
where frowning Winter ne'er shall come,
but rosy Spring for ever bloom
and suns eternal rise.

MISS FERRER

377

HAPPY INSENSIBILITY

IN

N a drear-nighted December,

too happy, happy Tree,
thy branches ne'er remember
their green felicity;
the north cannot undo them,
with a sleety whistle through them,
nor frozen thawings glue them
from budding at the prime.

In a drear-nighted December,
too happy, happy Brook,
thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo's summer-look ;
but with a sweet forgetting
they stay their crystal fretting,
never, never petting
about the frozen time.
Ah! would 'twere so with many
a gentle girl and boy !
But were there ever any
writhed not at passéd joy?
to know the change and feel it,
when there is none to heal it,
nor numbéd sense to steal it-
was never said in rhyme.

J. KEATS

378

SPRING

Now

row each creature joys the other,

passing happy days and hours;
one bird reports unto another,

in the fall of silver showers;
whilst the earth, our common mother,

hath her bosom decked with flowers.
Whilst the greatest torch of heaven

with bright rays warms Flora's lap, making nights and days both even,

cheering plants with fresher sap: my field of flowers quite bereaven

wants refresh of better hap. Echo, daughter of the air,

(babbling guest of rocks and hills) knows the name of my fierce fair,

and sounds the accents of my ills. Each thing pities my despair,

whilst that she her lover kills: whilst that she (O cruel maid !)

doth me and my love despise; my life's flourish is decayed,

that depended on her eyes: but her will must be obeyed;

and well he ends for love who dies.

S. DANIEL

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