« PreviousContinue »
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
ye five other wand'ring fires that move
In myftic dance not without fong, refound
His praife, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldeft birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix,
And nourish all things; let your ceafelefs change
Vary to our great Maker ftill new praise.
Ye mifts and exhalations that now rife
From hill or fteaming lake, dufky or gray,
Till the fun paint your fleecy fkirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rife,
Whether to deck with clouds th' uncolour'd fky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling fhowers,
Rifing or falling ftill advance his praife.
His praife, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe foft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in fign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye, that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all ye living fouls; ye birds,
That finging up to heaven-gate afcend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praife.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and ftately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be filent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh fhade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praife.
Hail univerfal Lord, be bounteous fill
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gather'd ought of evil, or conceal'd,
Difperfe it, as now light difpels the dark.
MESSIA H, a Sacred ECLOGUE,
E nymphs of Solyma! begin the fong:
To heav'nly themes fublimer ftrains belong. The mofly fountains, and the fylvan fhades,
The dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian maids,
Delight no more-O thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Ifaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the Bard begun :
A Virgin fhall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
From Jeffe's root behold a branch arise,
Whofe facred flow'r with fragrance fills the fkies:
Th' ethereal fpirit o'er its leaves fhall move,
And on its top defcends the myftic dove.
Ye heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in foft filence fhed the kindly show'r!
The fick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From ftorms a fhelter, and from heat a fhade.
All crimes fhall ceafe, and ancient fraud fhall fail;
Returning juftice lift aloft her fcale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white rob'd innocence from heav'n defcend.
Swift fly the years, and rife th' expected morn!
Oh fpring to light, aufpicious Babe, be born!
See nature haftes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incenfe of the breathing spring:
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forefts on the mountains dance:
See fpicy clouds from lowly Saron rife,
And Carmel's flow'ry top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely defert chears;
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears :
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains, and, ye vallies, rife;
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be fmooth ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him, ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films fhall purge the visual ray,
And on the fightless eye-ball pour the day :
'Tis he th' obftructed paths of found fhall clear,
And bid new mufic charm th' unfolding ear:
The dumb fhall fing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No figh, no murmur the wide world shall hear,
From ev'ry face he wipes off ev'ry tear.
In adamantine chains fhall death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound.
As the good fhepherd tends his feecy care,
Seeks fresheft pafture, and the purest air,
Explores the loft, the wand'ring fheep directs,
By day o'erfees them, and by night protects,
The tender lambs he raifes in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bofom warms;
Thus fhall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promis'd father of the future age.
No more fhall nation against nation rife,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming fteel be cover'd o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But ufelefs lances into fcythes fhall bend,
And the broad faulchion in a plow-fhare end.
Then palaces fhall rife; the joyful fon
Shall finish what his fhort-liv'd fire begun;
Their vines a fhadow to their race fhall yield,
And the fame hand that fow'd, fhall reap the field,
The fwain in barren deferts with furprize
Sees lilies fpring, and fudden verdure rife;
And ftarts amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murm'ring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrufh nods.
Wafle fandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The fpiry for and fhapely box adorn: