Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

THE GOLDEN TREASURY

BOOK SECOND

62

ODE ON THE
MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY
This is the month, and this the happy morn

Wherein the Son of Heaven'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 Heaven's high council

5

table

10

16

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, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein

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 heaven, by the sun's team un-

trod, 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 ;

42

25

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.

THE HYMN

30

35

40

It was the winter wild

While the heaven-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 sympathize :

It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

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 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-eyed 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 ; And waving wide her myrtle wand,

51 She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.

No war, or battle's sound

Was heard the world around :
The idle spear and shield were high uphung ;

The hooked chariot stood

Unstain'd 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. 60

55

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, Whispering new joys to the mild oceán

Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charméd

65

wave.

70

75

SO

The stars, with deep amaze,

Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,
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,

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

bear.
The shepherds on the lawn

Or ere the point of dawn
Sate 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

85

90

95 100

105

110

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 shamefaced night

array'd ;
The helméd 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.
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 bass of heaven's deep organ blow;

120

125 131

141

145

And with your ninefold harmony
Make up 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

136 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,
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,

Mercy will sit between

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;

This must not yet be so ;
The Babe yet lies in smiling infancy

That on the bitter cross

Must redeem our loss ;
So both Himself and us to glorify :

Yet first, to those ychain'd 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.

150

155

160

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »