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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,

Sent down the meek-eyed Peace ;

She, crowned with olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere,

His ready harbinger,

With turtle wing the am'rous clouds dividing; And, waving wide her myrtle wand,

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 up hung; The hooked chariot stood

Unstained with hostile blood;

The trumpet spake not to the armèd 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,

Whisp'ring new joys to the mild ocean, Who now hath quite forgot to rave,

While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmèd



The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fixed in stedfast 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 glimm'ring 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 enlightened 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 e'er the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;

Full little thought they then,

That the mighty Pan1

In Greek mythology, the great god of shepherds and their flocks. The curious identification of Pan with the Good Shepherd is thus explained. See John x. 2.

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 struck; Divinely-warbled voice

Answ'ring the stringèd noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took : The air, such pleasure loth to lose,

With thousand echoes still prolongs each Heav'nly



Nature that heard such sound,

Beneath the hollow round

Of Cynthia's1 seat, the aery 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 uniön.


At last surrounds their sight

A globe of circular light,

That with long beams the shamefaced night


The helmèd Cherubim,

And sworded Seraphim,

Are seen in glitt'ring ranks with wings displayed, Harping in loud and solemn quire,

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

1 Twin-sister of Apollo, and connected with the moon as Apollo was with the sun.

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 welt'ring waves their oozy channel keep.


Ring out, ye Crystal Spheres,

Once bless our human ears,

If ye have pow'r to touch our senses so; And let your silver chime

Move in melodious time;

And let the bass of Heav'n's deep organ blow; And, with your ninefold harmony,

Make up full consort to th' angelic symphony.

For, if such holy song

Enwrap our fancy long,


Time will run back, and fetch the Åge of Gold; And speckled Vanity

Will sicken soon and die,

And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; And Hell itself will pass away,

And leave her dol'rous mansions to the peering Day.


Yea, Truth and Justice then

Will down return to Men,

Orbed in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,

Mercy will sit between,

Throned in celestial sheen,

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down


And Heav'n, 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 ychained 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 smould'ring clouds out brake:

The agèd Earth aghast,

With terrour of that blast,

Shall from the surface to the centre shake ; When, at the World's last sessiön,

The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread His



And then at last our bliss

Full and perfect is,

But now begins; for, from this happy day,

Th' old Dragon, under ground

In straiter limits bound,

Not half so far casts his usurpèd sway ;

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