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Happy were he could finish forth his fate
Of worldly folk, there should he sleep secure; 5 Then wake again, and yield God ever praise;
Content with hip, with haws, and brambleberry;
Who, when he dies, his tomb might be the bush 10 Where harmless robin resteth with the thrush: -Happy were he!
R. Devereux, Earl of Essex
SAINT JOHN BAPTIST
The last and greatest Herald of Heaven's King
Which he more harmless found than man, and mild. 5 His food was locusts, and what there doth spring,
With honey that from virgin hives distill’d;
There burst he forth: All ye whose hopes rely 10 On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn, Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!
Who listen’d to his voice, obey'd his cry?
This is the month, and this the happy morn
Our great redemption from above did bring; 5. For so the holy sages once did sing
That He our deadly forfeit should release,
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
15 Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
See how from far, upon the eastern road,
And lay it lowly at His blessed feet;
And join thy voice unto the Angel quire
It was the winter wild
Nature in awe to Him
With her great Master so to sympathize:
Only with speeches fair 10 She woos the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow;
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw; 15 Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding 20 Down through the turning sphere,
His ready harbinger,
She strikes a universal peace through sea and land. 25 No war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around:
Unstain'd with hostile blood;
5 But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of Light
Smoothly the waters kist
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,
And will not take their flight
But in their glimmering orbs did glow 20 Until their Lord Himself bespake, and bid them go.
And though the shady gloom
And hid his head for shame, 25 As his inferior flame
The newenlighten'd world no more should need;
The shepherds on the lawn 30 Or ere the point of dawn
Sate simply chatting in a rustic row;
Was kindly come to live with them below; 35 Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep:-
As never was by mortal finger strook-
As all their souls in blissful rapture took: 5 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 airy region thrilling, 10 Now was almost won
To think her part was done,
Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union. 15 At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light
And sworded Seraphim
Harping in loud and solemn quire
Before was never made
While the Creator great
And cast the dark foundations deep, 30 And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
Ring out, ye crystal spheres!
And let your silver chime 35 Move in melodious time;
And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow;