Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of Heaven's richest store,
And here though grief my feeble hands up-lock,
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before;

For sure so well instructed are my tears,
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild;
And I (for grief is easily beguiled)

Might think the infection of my sorrows loud Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud.

This subject the author finding to be above the years he had, when he wrote it, and nothing. satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished.

UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.

YE flaming powers, and winged warriors bright,
That erst with music, and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful shepherd's ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along
Through the soft silence of the listening night;
Now mourn; and, if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow:

He, who with all heaven's heraldry whilere
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease

Z

Alas, how soon our sin
Sore doth begin

His infancy to seize!

O more exceeding love, or law more just?
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we, by rightful doom remediless,
Were lost in death, till he, that dwelt above,
High-throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness;

And that great covenant which we still transgress
Entirely satisfied;

And the full wrath beside

Of vengeful justice bore for our excess ;

And seals obedience first, with wounding smart, This day; but, O! ere long,

Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart.

ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT,
Dying of a Cough.

O FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,

Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted Bleak winter's force that made thy blossom dry; For he, being amorous on that lovely dye

That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss, But kill'd alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.

For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer,
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touch'd his deity full near,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed and childless eld, Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reproach was held.

So, mounting up in icy-pearled car,
Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far;
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care:
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,

But, all unwares, with his cold kind embrace Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding-place.

Yet thou art not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth, born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land;

But then transform'd him to a purple flower: Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no power!

Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low-delved tomb;
Could Heaven for pity thee so strictly doom?
Oh no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine.

Resolve me, then, oh soul most surely blest!
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear);
Tell me, bright spirit, where'er thou hoverest,
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in the Elysian fields (if such were there);
Oh say, me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy
flight?

Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof
Of shaked Olympus by mischance didst fall;
Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?
Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall

Of sheeny heaven, and thou, some goddess fled, Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head?

Or wert thou that just maid, who once before
Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth,
And camest again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet-smiling youth?

Or that crown'd matron sage, white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heavenly brood

Let down in cloudy throne to do the world, some good?

Or wert thou of the golden-winged host,
Who, having clad thyself in human weed,
To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,
And after short abode fly back with speed,
As if to show what creatures heaven doth breed ;
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire

To scorn the sordid world, and unto heaven aspire?

But oh! why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy heaven-loved innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,
To turn swift-rushing black perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence,

To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart? But thou canst best perform that office where thou art.

Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child,
Her false-imagin'd loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild;
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent;
This if thou do, he will an offspring give,

That till the world's last end shall make thy name

to live.

ON TIME.

FLY, envious Time, till thou run out thy race;
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping Hours,

Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;

So little is our loss,

So little is thy gain!

For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd, And last of all thy greedy self consumed,

Then long eternity shall greet our bliss

With an individual kiss;

And joy shall overtake us as a flood,

When every thing that is sincerely good

And perfectly divine,

With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine About the supreme throne

Of Him, to whose happy-making sight alone When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb, Then, all this earthy grossness quit,

Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,

Triumphing over death, and chance, and thee,
O Time!

AT A SOLEMN MUSIC.

BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of heaven's joy,
Sphere born, harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ,
Dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce ;
And to our high-raised phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
To Him that sits thereon,

« IndietroContinua »