Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Society is all but rude
To this delicious solitude.

JOHN MILTON.

No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name.
Little, alas, they know or heed,
How far these beauties her exceed!
Fair trees! where'er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.

What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head.
The luscious clusters of the vine

pon my mouth do crush their wine.
The nectarine, and curious peach,
Into my hands themselves do reach.
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less
Withdraws into its happiness,

The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates transcending these,
Far other worlds and other seas;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.
Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,

My soul into the boughs does glide;
There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
Then whets and claps its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.

Such was the happy garden state,
While man there walked without

mate:

After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But 't was beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises are in one,
To live in paradise alone.

66

THE BERMUDAS.

35

WHERE the remote Bermudas ride
In the ocean's bosom unespied,
From a small boat that rowed along,
The listening winds received this song:
"What should we do but sing His praise
That led us through the watery maze
Where he the huge sea monsters racks,
That lift the deep upon their backs,
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own?
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storins and prelates' rage.
He gave us this eternal spring
Which here enamels everything,
And sends the fowls to us in care,
On daily visits through the air.
He hangs in shades the orange bright,
Like golden lamps in a green night,
And does in the pomegranates close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows.
He makes the figs our mouths to meet,
And throws the melons at our feet,
With apples, plants of such a price,
No tree could ever bear them twice.
With cedars, chosen by his hand,
From Lebanon he stores the land;
And makes the hollow seas that roar,
Proclaim the ambergris on shore.
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The gospel's pearl upon our coast;
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple where to sound his name.
O, let our voice his praise exalt,
Till it arrive at heaven's vault,
Which then perhaps rebounding may
Echo beyond the Mexic bay."

a Thus sang they in the English boat

[blocks in formation]

A holy and a cheerful note;

And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.

JOHN MILTON.

[1608-1674.]

HYMN ON THE NATIVITY.

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

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger
lies;
Nature, in awe of him,

Had doffed her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize: It was no season then for her'

To wanton with the sun, her lusty para

mour.

Only with speeches fair
She wooes the gentle air,

For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer had often warned them thence;

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

And, though the shady gloom

To hide her guilty front with innocent Had given day her room,

snow;

And on her naked shame,

Pollute with sinful blame,

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,

And hid his head for shame,

The saintly veil of maiden-white to As his inferior flame

[blocks in formation]

But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace:
She, crowned with olive green, came
softly sliding

Down through the turning sphere,
His 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 new-enlightened world no more
should need;

He saw a greater sun appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axle-
tree, 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 be-
low;

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,

The idle spear and shield were high up- Divinely warbled voice

As never was by mortal fingers strook,

hung;

The hooked chariot stood
Unstained with hostile blood;

The trumpet spake not to the arméd

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

Answering the stringéd noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took :

The air, such pleasure loath 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,

His reign of peace upon the earth began: Now was almost won,
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kissed,

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

[blocks in formation]

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 shame-faced
night arrayed;
The helméd cherubim,

[blocks in formation]

displayed,

Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's
new-born heir.

Such music as 't is 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 bass of Heaven's deep organ

blow;

And, with your ninefold harmony,
Make up full concert to the angelic sym-
phony.

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,

Orbed 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,

37

So both himself and us to glorify: Yet first, to those ychained 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, underground,
In straiter limits bound,

Not half so far casts his usurpéd 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 archéd roof in words
deceiving.

Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos
leaving.

No nightly trance, or breathéd 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 mourn with mid

night 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 Baälim

Forsake their temples dim

With that twice-battered God of Palestine;

And moonéd Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy
shine;

The Libyac 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,

Troop to the infernal jail,

Each fettered 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-teeméd star
Hath fixed her polished car,

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;

And all about the courtly stable Bright-harnessed angels sit in order serviceable.

SONNETS.

ON ARRIVING AT THE AGE OF TWENTY

THREE.

In dismal dance about the furnace blue: How soon hath Time, the subtle thief

The brutish gods of Nile as fast,

Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.

Nor is Osiris seen

In Memphian grove or green,

of youth,

Stolen on his wing my three-and-twen

tieth year!

My lasting days fly on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom, showeth.

Trampling the unshowered grass with Perhaps my semblance might deceive the

lowings loud;

Nor can he be at rest

Within his sacred chest,

Naught but profoundest hell can be his shroud;

In vain with timbrelled anthems dark

truth,

That I to manhood am arrived so near, And inward ripeness doth much less

appear,

That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.

The sable-stoléd sorcerers bear his wor-Yet, be it less or more, or soon or slow,

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

My true account, lest he returning | Christ leads me through no darker rooms
chide;
Than he went through before;
He that into God's kingdom comes
Must enter by his door.

"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"

I fondly ask but Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts: who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him

best: his state

Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,

And post o'er land and ocean without rest;

They also serve who only stand and wait."

Come, Lord, when grace has made me

meet

Thy blessed face to see;
For if thy work on earth be sweet,
What will thy glory be?

Then shall I end my sad complaints,
And weary, sinful days;

And join with the triumphant saints
That sing Jehovah's praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;

But 't is enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinua »