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Divinely-warbled voice

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 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;

And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.

1 The moon's.

For, if such holy song

Enwrap 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 from 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 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 smouldering clouds outbrake:

The agèd Earth, aghast

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,
Swingesl 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 trance or breathèd 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 Lars3 and Lemures mourn with midnight plaint.

In urns and altars round,

A drear and dying sound
Affrights the flamens4 at their service quaint;

And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.

Peors and Baälim6

Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-battered god of Palestine;

And moonèd Ashtaroth,6

Heaven's queen and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;

The Libyc Hammon? shrinks his horn;
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.

To move as a lash. A Grecian divinity whose temple was at Delphi. Ghosts of the dead. 4 Priests. 5 The national god of the Moabites, it is thought. Plural nouns denoting the gods and goddesses of Syria and Palestine. 7 Jupiter, as worshipped in Libya. His statue there had the head and horns of a ram. 8 A Phoenician god.

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Nor is Osiris seen

In Memphian grove or green,
Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings loud;

Nor can he be at rest

Within his sacred chest;
Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud;

In vain, with timbreled anthems dark,
The sable-stolèd sorcerers bear his worshiped 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

Longer dare abide,
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:

Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damnèd crew.

So, when the Sun in bed,

Curtained with cloudy red, Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,

The flocking shadows pale

Troop to the infernal jail,
Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave;

And the yellow-skirted fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.

But see! the Virgin blest

Hath laid her Babe to rest.
Time is our tedious song should here have ending:

1 National god of the Ammonites.

2 Eyes.

Heaven's youngest-teemèd star

Hath fixed her polished car,
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;

And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harnessed angels sit in order serviceable.
FURTHER READING.L'Allegro and Il Penseroso (in pamphlet form, by Clark &
Maynard, as also the whole of Bk. I. of Paradise Lost). Of Paradise Lost.read Bk.
I., 11. 1-74; 242-330. Bk. II., 50-467; 629-883. Bk. III., 1-55. Bk. IV., 411-735. Bk.
V., 153-208. Bk. VI., 171-353; 507-669; 824-892. Bk. VIII., 452–559; 618–753. Bk. IX.,
205-392; 494–795. Bk. X., 845–965. Bk. XI., 226-285. Bk. XII., 606-649.


Historical Sketch....... 151

Browne and Fuller.. 152
Taylor and Baxter .. 153
Extract from Fuller...... 154
Extract from Taylor..... 157
Extract from Browne.. 159
Decline of Poetry.. 161
Metaphysical Poetry,... 161
Lyric and Satirical...

John Milton..

165 Early Poems...


162 Rural Poetry....

163 (Religious Poetry...

Poetry and Prose.

165 His Prose during the Commonwealth....

166 Paradise Lost..

168 Later Poems.

170 His Work....

171 The Pilgrim's Progress... 172 From Milton's Prose...... 174 From Pilgrim's Progress.. 176 From Milton's Poetry..... 180


... 164

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