Page images

Thy bosom, and this glory next to Thee

Freely put off, and for him lastly die

Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage;
Under his gloomy power I shall not long
Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess
Life in myself for ever; by thee I live,

Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,
All that of me can die. Yet, that debt paid,
Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave,
His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
For ever with corruption there to dwell:
But I shall rise victorious, and subdue

My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil;
Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop
Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed.

I, through the ample air, in triumph high

Shall lead Hell captive, maugre Hell, and show

The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight
Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down, and smile,
While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes,
Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave;
Then, with the multitude of my redeemed,
Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,
Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
Of anger shall remain, but peace assured
And reconcilement; wrath shall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.

His words here ended, but his meek aspect
Silent, yet spake, and breathed immortal love
To mortal men, above which only shone
Filial obedience; as a sacrifice

Glad to be offered, he attends the will

Of his great Father. Admiration seized

All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend
Wondering; but soon the Almighty thus replied:
O Thou in Heaven and earth the only peace

Found out for mankind under wrath! O Thou,

My soul complacence!-well thou knowest how dear
To me are all my works, nor man the least,
Though last created; that for him I spare
Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
By losing thee awhile, the whole race lost.
Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
Their nature also to thy nature join;
And be thyself Man among men on earth,
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room
The head of all mankind, through Adam's son.
As in him perish all men, so in thee,

As from a second root, shall be restored
As many as are restored, without thee none.
His crime makes guilty all his sons. Thy merit,
Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
Receive new life. So Man, as is most just,
Shall satisfy for man, be judged, and die,
And dying rise, and rising with him, raise
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.
So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,
Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
So dearly to redeem, what hellish hate

So easily destroyed, and still destroys

In those who, when they may, accept not grace.

Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume

Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.

Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss

Equal to God, and equally enjoying

Godlike fruition, quitted all, to save

A world from utter loss, and hast been found
By merit more than birthright, Son of God,
Found worthiest to be so, by being good,

Far more than great or high; because in thee
Love hath abounded more than glory abounds,
Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt

With thee thy manhood also to this throne;
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign
Both God and man, Son both of God and man,
Anointed universal king; all power

I give thee; reign for ever, and assume
Thy merits; under thee, as head supreme,

Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce:
All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.
When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven,
Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
The summoning Archangels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds
The living, and forthwith the cited dead
Of all past ages, to the general doom
Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.
Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge
Bad men and Angels. They arraigned, shall sink
Beneath thy sentence. Hell, her numbers full,
Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile
The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring
New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
And, after all their tribulations long,

See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,

With joy and love triumphing, and fair truth.
Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by,
For regal sceptre then no more shall need;
God shall be all in all. But, all ye gods,
Adore Him who, to compass all this, dies;
Adore the Son, and honor Him as Me.

No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
The multitude of angels, with a shout,

Loud as from numbers without number, sweet


As from blessed voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung

With jubilee, and loud hosannas filled

The eternal regions. Lowly reverent

Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground,
With solemn adoration, down they cast

Their crowns, inwove with amarant and gold;—
Immortal amarant, a flower which once

In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,

Began to bloom; but soon for man's offense

To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,

And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,

But where the River of Bliss through midst of Heaven Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream ;

With these, that never fade, the spirits elect

Bind their resplendent locks, inwreathed with beams.
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpled with celestial roses, smiled.

Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high:
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.

Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent,
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,

Eternal King: thee, Author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyself invisible

Amidst the glorious brightness, where thou sittest
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest
The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloud
Drawn round about thee, like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.


Thee, next they sang, of all creation first,
Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,

In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud
Made visible, the Almighty Father shines,
Whom else no creature can behold: on thee

Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides,
Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests.

He Heaven of Heavens, and all the powers therein,
By thee created; and by thee threw down
The aspiring dominations: thou that day
Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks
Thou drovest of warring angels disarrayed.
Back from pursuit thy powers with loud acclaim
Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
Not so on Man: him, through their malice fallen,
Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom
So strictly, but much more to pity incline,
No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail man
So strictly, but much more to pity inclined,
He, to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned,
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Second to thee, offered Himself to die.
For man's offense. Oh, unexampled love!
Love nowhere to be found less than Divine!
Hail, Son of God, Savior of men! Thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my heart thy praise
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.

Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere, Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. Meanwhile upon the firm opacous globe

« PreviousContinue »