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But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace;
She, crowned with olive green, came swiftly sliding
Down through the turning sphere,
His ready harbinger,
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing ;
And, waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes an 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 armed 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,
Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fixed in steadfast 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 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 enlightened world no more should need;
He saw a greater sun appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axle-tree 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 Pan
Was kindly come to live with them befow :
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,
Answering the stringèd 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 shame-faced night arrayed
The helmed cherubim
And sworded seraphim,
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displayed ;
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
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 humble ears,
If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time;
And let the base of Heaven s deep organ blow;
And, with your ninefold harmony,
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.
For, if such holy song
Inwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold;
And speckled Vanity
Will sicken soon and die,
And leprous Sin will melt with 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,
Orbed 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 lies yet 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 smouldering clouds out brake:
The agèd earth aghast,
160 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.
And then, at last, our bliss
Full and perfect is,
But now begins; for, from this happy day,
The old Dragon, under ground
In straiter limits bound;
Not half so far casts his usurpèd sway,
And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.
The oracles are dumb;
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trace or breathed 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 Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,
Witli that twice battered god of Palestine ;
And moonèd 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 mourr.