« PreviousContinue »
Then Ens is represented as father of the Predica
ments his ten sons, whereof the eldest stood for Substance with his canons, which Ens, thus speaking, explains.
Good luck befriend thee, Son; for at thy birth
The fairy ladies danc'd upon the hearth;
Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy
Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie,
And sweetly singing round about thy bed
Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head.
She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still
From eyes of mortals walk invisible:
Yet there is something that doth force my fear,
For once it was my dismal hap to hear
A Sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,
That far events full wisely could presage,
And in time's long and dark prospective glass
Foresaw what future days should bring to pass ;
Your son, said she (nor can you it prevent),
Shall subject be to many an Accident.
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king,
Yet every one shall make him underling,
And those that cannot live from him asunder
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under;
In worth and excellence he shall out-go them,
Yet being above them, he shall be below them; 80
From others he shall stand in need of nothing,
Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.
To find a foe it shall not be his hap,
And peace shall lull him in her flow'ry lap;
Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door
Devouring war shall never cease to roar;
Yea it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity.
What pow'r, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot ?
The next QUANTITY and QUALITY spake in prose;
then RELATION was called by his name.
RIVERS arise ; whether thou be the son
Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulphy Dun,
Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant spreads
His thirty arms along th’ indented meads,
Or sullen Mole that runneth underneath,
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death,
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,
Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee,
Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name,
Or Medway smooth, or royal tower'd Thame.
94 indented] Sylvester's Du Bartas, D. ii. W. 1.
Our silver Medway which doth deepe indent
The flowerie meadowes of my native Kent.' Warton. 98 hallow'd] "holy Dee.' Randolph's Poems, p. 48, ed. 1640. Todd.
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of heav'n'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,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
II. That glorious form, that light unsufferable, And that far beaming blaze of majesty, Wherewith he wont at heav'n's high council-table 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, heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heav'n by the sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons
See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wisards haste with odours sweet:
0 run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
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.
It was the winter wild,
While the heav'n-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ;
Nature in awe to him
Had dofft her gaudy trim,
23 star-led] "The starre-led sages that would Christ behold.' Bancroft's Sec. B. of Epigrams, Ep. 228. Todd. Storer's Life of Wolsey, p. 21.
• When wise magicians wandered far awide
To find the place of our Messiah's birth.' 23 wisards] Spenser's F. Q. iv. xii. 2. 'antique wisards.' i. iv. 12. “and strong advizement of six wizards old. Warton. The Syracusan wizard did invent.' Storer's Life of Wolsey, p. 12. And Fitz-Geffrey's Holy Raptures, p. 37. 17.
With her great Master so to sympathize :
It was no season then for her
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,
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-ey'd 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; 50
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
Unstain'd with hostile blood,