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EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living night.
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,
Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long, Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so, Which he for us did freely undergo :
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!
He, sovereign priest, stooping his regal head,
That dropp'd with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
4 divide] Spens. F. Queen. iii. i. 40.
'And all the while sweet music did divide
Hor. Od. i. xv. 15.
'Imbelli cithara carmina divides.' Warton.
His starry front low-roof'd beneath the skies:
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's
These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
His god-like acts, and his temptations fierce,
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.
Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief;
That Heaven and Earth are colour'd with my woe;
The leaves should all be black whereon I write,
And letters where my tears have wash'd, a wannish white.
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
26 Cremona's trump] Vida's Christiad.
30 Over] So P. L. iv. 609.
'And o'er the dark her silver mantle throw.' Steevens.
To bear me where the tow'rs of Salem stood,
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing,
Might think th' 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.
51 a weeping] Jeremiah, ix. 10. For the mountains will I take up a weeping,' &c. Warton.
FLY envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain!
For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb'd,
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
Of him, t' whose happy-making sight alone
Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.
* In Milton's MS. written with his own hand,-On Time. To be set on a clock-case.' Warton.
2 leaden-stepping hours] Carew's Poems, p. 78, ed. 1642.
'UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
YE flaming Pow'rs, and winged Warriors bright,
Seas wept from our deep sorrow:
He who with all heav'n's heraldry whilere
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease;
Sore doth begin
His infancy to seize !
O more exceeding love, or law more just!
And that great covenant which we still transgress
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
1 flaming] So P. Lost, ix. 156. xi. 101. Warton.
17 remediless] P. Lost, ix. 919. Sams. Agon. v. 648. All remediless.' Warton, Todd.