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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;
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 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.

Peor and Baalim
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ;
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

mourn.

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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 ;

Nor is Osiris seen

Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest ;

The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
In Memphian grove, or green,
Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud :
Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud ;
In vain with timbrellid anthems dark
The sable stoléd sorcerers bear his worshipt ark..
He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded infant's hand ;
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside
Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine :
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,
Çan in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.
So, when the sun in bed
Curtain'd with cloudy red
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to the infernal jail,
Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave;
And the yellow-skirted fays

Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.

Longer dare abide,

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But see, the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest;
Time is, our tedious song should here have ending :
Heaven's youngest-teemed star
Hath fixed her polish'd car,
Her sleeping Lord with hand-maid lamp attending :
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.

7. Milton

LXIII

F

SONG FOR SAINT CECILIA'S DAY,

1687
ROM Harmony, from heavenly Harmony

This universal frame began :
When Nature underneath a heap

Of jarring atoms lay
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high,

Arise, ye more than dead !
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry
In order to their stations leap,

And music's power obey.
From harmony, from heavenly harmony

This universal frame began :

From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.

What passion cannot Music raise and quell?

When Jubal struck thorded shell
His listening brethren Stood around,
And, wondering, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound.

Less than a God they thought there could not dwell

Within the hollow of that shell

That spoke so sweetly and so well. What passion cannot Music raise and quell?

The trumpet's loud clangor

Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger

And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat

Of the thundering drum
Cries, ‘Hark! the foes come;
Charge, charge, 't is too late to retreat!'

The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers

The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.

Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains, and height of passion

For the fair disdainful dame.

But oh! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach

The sacred organ's praise ?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heavenly ways

To mend the choirs above.

Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees uprooted left their place

Sequacious of the lyre :

BOOK SECOND

LXII

ODE

ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY

HIS is the month, and this the happy morn,

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-table
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 ?

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