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And seals obedience first, with wounding smart,
This day, but O ere long,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart.
BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of heav'n's joy,
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd pow'r employ
Dead things with imbreath'd sense able to pierce;
And to our high-rais'd phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits thereon
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee,
Where the bright Seraphim in burning row
Their loud up-lifted angel trumpets blow,
And the cherubic host in thousand quires
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just Spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
There are three copies of this ode, all in Milton's own hand writing.
6 concent] So the Cant. MS. not 'consent.' Ed. 1645, 'content; 1673, 'concent.' Warton.
12 And Cherubim, sweet winged Squires.' So Cant. MS. Todd.
That we on earth with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd In perfect diapason, whilst they stood,
In first obedience, and their state of good.
O may we soon again renew that song,
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF
THIS rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A Viscount's daughter, an Earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair
Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from earth.
Summers three times eight save one
She had told; alas! too soon,
After so short time of breath,
To house with darkness, and with death.
And keep in tune with Heav'n, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!
20 nature's chime] Jonson's Epithal. vol. vii. 2.
'To do their offices in nature's chime.'
Yet had the number of her days
Been as complete as was her praise,
Nature and Fate had had no strife
In giving limit to her life.
Her high birth, and her graces sweet
Quickly found a lover meet;
The virgin quire for her request
The God that sits at marriage feast;
He at their invoking came,
But with a scarce well-lighted flame;
And in his garland as he stood,
Ye might discern a cyprus bud.
Once had the early matrons run
Το greet her of a lovely son,
And now with second hope she goes,
And calls Lucina to her throes;
But whether by mischance or blame
Atropos for Lucina came;
And with remorseless cruelty
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree:
The hapless babe before his birth
Had burial, yet not laid in earth,
And the languish'd mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb.
19 He] See Ov. Metam. x. 4.
'Adfuit ille quidem: sed nec solennia verba,
Nec letos vultus, nec felix attulit omen:
Fax quoque, quam tenuit, lacrymoso stridula fumo,
Usque fuit, nullosque invenit motibus ignes.' Jortin.
33 womb] Browne's Brit. Past. b. ii. s. 1. ed. 1616.
'Where never plowshare ript his mother's wombe
To give an aged seede a living tombe.' Todd.
So have I seen some tender slip,
Sav'd with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flow'r
New shot up from vernal show'r;
But the fair blossom hangs the head
Side-ways, as on a dying bed,
And those pearls of dew she wears
Prove to be presaging tears,
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hastening funeral.
Gentle Lady, may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this thy travail sore
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,
That to give the world increase,
Shorten'd hast thy own life's lease.
Here, besides the sorrowing
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon,
And some flowers, and some bays,
For thy hearse, to strew the ways,
Sent thee from the banks of Came,
Devoted to thy virtuous name;
47 Lady] Cymbeline, act iv. sc. 2.
'Quiet consummation have,
And renowned be thy grave!' Warton.
Whilst thou, bright Saint, high sitt'st in glory,
Next her, much like to thee in story,
That fair Syrian shepherdess,
Who, after years of barrenness,
The highly favour'd Joseph bore
To him that serv'd for her before,
And at her next birth much like thee
Through pangs fled to felicity,
Far within the bosom bright
Of blazing Majesty and Light:
There with thee, new welcome Saint,
Like fortunes may her soul acquaint,
With thee there clad in radiant sheen,
No Marchioness, but now a Queen.
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger, Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.
'And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger.' Warton.
2 dancing] Spenser's F. Q. i. v. 2.
'At last the golden oriental gate
Of greatest heaven gan to open faire;
And Phœbus fresh as bridgroome to his mate,
Came dancing forth, shaking his dewy hair.' Warton.
1 star] 'Of the bright morning star.' Hen. More's Poems, p. 322. 1 harbinger] Shakesp. Mids. N. Dream, act iii. sc. ult.