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ODES.

1. ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven'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 daily forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table
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, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Assord a present to the Infant-God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,

To welcome bim to this his new abode,
Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrouis

bright?

See, how from far, upon the eastern road,
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
Oh! 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.

THE HYMN.

It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature, in awe to him,
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,

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-eved Peace :

She, crown d with olive green,came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere, Ilis ready harbinger,

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing: 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;

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng; And kings sat still with awful eye, As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by

But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began.
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kiss'd,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed

wave.

The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence:
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence,

But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until the Lord himself bespake, and bid them go

And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need
He saw a greater Sun appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could

bear.

The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row:
Full little thought they then,
That the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep,

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
Nature, that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round

close.

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 fulblling;
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,

Are 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 cars,

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