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60

THE WORLD'S WAY
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry-

As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,

And purest faith unhappily forsworn, And gilded honour shamefully misplaced,

5 And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted, And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,

And strength by limping sway disabled, And art made tongue-tied by authority,

And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill, 10 And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,

And captive Good attending captain Ill : - Tired with all these, from these would I be gone, Save that, to die, I leave my Love alone.

W. SHAKESPEARE.

61 SAINT JOHN BAPTIST The last and greatest Herald of Heaven's King

Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild, Among that savage brood the woods forth bring, Which he more harmless found than man, and mild.

4 His food was locusts, and what there doth spring,

With honey that from virgin hives distillid ; Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing

Made him appear, long since from earth exiled. There burst he forth : * All ye whose hopes rely

On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn, Repent, repent, and from old errors turn !' 11 -Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry? Only the echoes, which he made relent, Rung from their flinty caves, Repent i Repent !

W. DRUMMOND.

133

са

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

5
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 counciltable

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, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein

Afford a present to the Infant God ? 16 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 ; 25

42

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

It was the winter wild
While the heaven-born Child

30 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

35 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,

40 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 ; 55

The hookéd chariot stood

Unstain'd with hostile blood ;
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng ;

And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran 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,

65 Whispering new joys to the mild oceân

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

wave.

The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fix'd in steadfast 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 75 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,

80 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

85 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; 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 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.

100 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,

105 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,

110 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

120 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 !

125 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 ;

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