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When such music sweet

Their hearts and ears did greet

As never was by mortal finger strook—

Divinely-warbled voice,

Answering the stringed 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 aery 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 shamefaced night array'd:

The helmed cherubim

And sworded seraphim

Ave seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd.

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 base of heaven's deep organ blow;

And with your ninefold harmony

Make up full concert to the angelic symphony.

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,

Oib'd 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 ychain'd 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 aged 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 usurped 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 sleep of Delphos leaving:

No nightly trance 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 Baalim
Forsake their temple3 dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine;
And mooned Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shrine;
The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn,
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz
mourn.

And sullen Moloch, fled,

Hath left in shadows dread

His burning idol all of blackest hue;

In vain with cymbals' ring

They call the grisly king,

In dismal dance about the furnace blue;

The brutish gods of Nile, as fast

Isis and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.

Nor is Osiris seen

In Memphian grove, or green,

Trampling the unshower'd 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 timbrell'd anthems dark

The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt 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,

Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:

Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,

Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.

So, when the sun in bed

Curtain'd with cloudy red

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,

The flocking shadows pale

Troop to the infernal jail,

Each fetter'd 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:

Heaven's youngest-teemed star

Hath fixed her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord with hand-maid lamp attending;

And all about the courtly stable

Bright harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.

Milton.

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