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VII.-The Creation of the World.
MEANWHILE the son
On his great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd,
Of majesty divine; sapience and love
Immense, and all his father in him shone.
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
Cherub and seraph, potentates and thrones,
And virtues; wing'd spirits and chariots wing'd
From the armory of God; where stand of old
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodg'd
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand.
Celestial equipage! and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them spirit liv'd,
Attendant on their Lord; heaven open'd wide
Her everdering gates, harmonious sound!
On golden hinges moving, to let forth
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
And Spirit coming to create new worlds.
On heavenly ground they stood, and from the shore
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss,
Outrageous as a sea; dark, wasteful, wild;
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds,
And surging waves, as mountains to assault
Heav'ns height, and with the centre mix the pole,
Silence ye troubled waves! and thou deep, peace!
Said then the omnific Word, your discord end:
Nor stay'd; but on the wings of cherubim
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn ;
For Chaos heard his voice; him all his train
Follow'd in bright procession to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then stay'd the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepar'd
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things.
One foot he center'd, and the other turn'd
Round through the vast profoundity obscure,
And said, thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
This be thy just circumference, O world!
Thus God the heaven created, thus the earth,
Matter unform'd and void! Darkness profound
Cover'd th' abyss; but on the watry calm
His brooding wings the spirit of God outspread,
And vital virtue infus'd, and vital warmth
Throughout the fluid mass; but downward purg'd
The black tartareous, cold, infernal dregs,
Adverse to life; then founded, then conglob'd
Like things to light, the rest to several place
Disparted; and between, spun out the air;
And earth self-balanced, on her centre hung.
VIII.-Overthrow of the Rebel Angels. SO spake the Son, and into terror chang'd His countenance, too severe to be beheld, And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the four spread out their starry wings, With dreadful shape contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. He on his impious foes, right onward drove, Gloomy as night. Under his burning wheels The steadfast empirean shook throughout, All but the throne itself of God. Full soon Among them he arriv'd; in his right hand Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent Before him, such as in their souls infix'd Plagues. They astonish'd, all resistance lost, All courage; down their idle weapons dropp'd: O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode, Of thrones and mighty seraphim prostrate, That wish'd the mountains, now, might be again Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire. Nor less on either side, tempestuous fell His arrows, from the fourfold visag'd four Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels Distinct alike with multitude of eyes: One spirit in them rul'd; and every eye Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire Among th' accurs'd, that wither'd all their strength, And of their wonted vigor, left them draind. Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.
Yet half his strength he put not forth; but check'd
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but to root them out of heaven.
The overthrown he rais'd; and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd,
Drove them before him thunderstruck, pursu'd
With terrors and with furies, to the bounds
And chrystal walls of heaven; which opening wide,
Roll'd inward, and a spacious gap disclos'd
Into the wasteful deep. The monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward; but far worse
Urg'd them behind. Headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
AX-Alexander's Feast; or, the Power of Music.-An Ode for St. Cecilia's Day.
'TWAS at the royal feast, for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son.-
Aloft in awful state,
The godlike hero sat
On his imperial throne.
His valiant peers were plac'd around,
Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound;
So should desert in arms be crown'd..
The lovely Thais by his side,
Sat like a blooming eastern bride,
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.-
Happy, happy, happy pair
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave, deserve the fair.
Timotheus plac'd on high,
Amid the tuneful choir,
With flying fingers touch'd the lyre:
The trembling notes ascend the sky,
And heavenly joys inspire.
The song began from Jove,
Who left his blissful seats above;
(Such is the power of mighty love!)
A dragon's fiery form bely'd the god;
Sublime on radiant spheres he rode,
When he to fair Olympia press'd,
And stamp'd an image of himself, a sovereign of the world.
The list'ning crowd admire the lofty sound;
A present deity, they shout around;
A present deity; the vaulted roofs rebound.
With ravish'd ears the monarch hears,
Assumes the god, affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.
The praise of Bachus, then, the sweet musician sung;
Of Bachus, ever fair and ever young.
The jolly god in triumph comes!
Sound the trumpet; beat the drums;
Flush'd with a purple grace,
He shows his honest face:
Now give the hautboys breath-He comes! he comes !
Bachus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain:
Bachus' blessings are a treasure!
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure;
Rich the treasure ;
Sweet the pleasure;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain;
Fought all his battles o'er again;
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.
The master saw the madness rise;
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;
And while he heaven and earth defy'd,
Chang'd his hand and check'd his pride.
He chose a mournful muse,
Soft pity to infuse :
He sung Darius, great and good,
By too severe a fate,
Fall'n, fall'n, fall'n, fall'n,
Fall'n, from his high estate,
And welt'ring in his blood:
Deserted at his utmost need
By those his former bounty fed,
On the bare earth expos'd he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast look the joyless victor sat,
Revolving, in his alter'd soul,
The various turns of fate below:
And now and then, a sigh he stole,
And tears began to flow.
The mighty master smil'd to see
That love was in the next degree:
'Twas but a kindred sound to move;
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures,
War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
Honour but an empty bubble;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying.
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, oh, think it worth enjoying!
Lovely Thais sits beside thee:
Take the good the gods provide thee;
many rend the skies with loud applause:
So love was crown'd; but music won the cause-
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gaz'd on the fair,
Who caus'd his care;
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd ;
Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again:
At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd victor-sunk upon her breast.
Now, strike the golden lyre again;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain ;
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark! hark !-the horrid sound
Has rais'd up his head,
As awak'd from the dead;
And, amaz'd he stares around.
Revenge, revenge! Timotheus cries--
See the furies arise!
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
Behold a ghastly band!
Each a torch in his hand!
These are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unbury'd, remain Inglorious on the plain, Give the vengeance due To the valiant crew.
Behold! how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods!
The princes applaud, with a furious joy;
And the king seiz'd a flambeau, with zeal to destroy:
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey;
And, like another Helen-fir'd another Troy.
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage-or kindle soft desire.
At last, divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame.
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarg'd the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit and arts unknown before.