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Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at heav'n's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heav'n by the sun's team untrod,



1. `This is the month, &c.] The Et subito elisos ad sua fana Deos. sixth Elegy to his friend Deodate See st. xix.—xxvi. appears to have been sent about the close of the month December.

The oracles are dumb, &c. &c. Deodate had enquired how he The rest of the Ode chiefly conwas spending his time. Milton sists of a string of affected con. answers, v. 81.

ceits, which only his early youth, Paciferum canimus cælesti semine

and the fashion of the times, can regem,

But there is a dignity Faustaque sacratis sæcula pacta lic and simplicity in st. iv. “ No Uris ;

war, or battle's sound, &c." Vagitumque Dei, et stabulantem worthy the maturest years, and paupere tecto

the best times. Nor is the poetry Qui suprema suo curi patre regna

of st. v. " But peaceful was the Stelli parumque solum, modulantes. night, &c." an expression or que æthere turmas.

two excepted, unworthy of MilThe concluding pentameter of ton. T. Wurton. the paragraph points out the best 5. Sages] The prophets of part of this ode.

the Old Testament. T. Warlon.



Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watchin squadrons bright?

See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first, thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the Angel quire,
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.



I. It was the winter wild, While the heav'n-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ;



23. The star-led wizards) Wise this hath touched thy lips, and

So Spenser calls the an- thine iniquily is taken away, and cient philosophers, the antique thy sin purged. In his Reason wizards, F. Q. iv. xii. 2. And he of Church Government our ausays that Lucifera's kingdom was thor has another beautiful allu. upheld by the policy,

sion to the same passage, which And strong advizement of six wisurds we quoted in a note upon the old.

Paradise Lost, i. 17:2" that eterThat is, six wise counsellors. “ nal Spirit who can enrich with Ibid. i. iv. 12, 18. See also “all utterance and knowledge, Comus, v. 872. (24.) prevent them,

“ and sends out his Seraphim, come thither, before them. T.

51 with the hallowed fire of his Warton.

“ altar, to touch and purify the 28. From out his secret altar “ lips of whom he pleases." As touch'd with hallow'd fire.] Allud. Mr. Pope's Messiah is formed ing to Isaiah vi. 6, 7. Then flew upon passages taken from the one of the Seraphims unto me, prophet Isaiah, he very properly having a live coal in his hand, invocates the same divine Spirit. which he had taken with the tongs

- thou my voice inspire, from off the altar. And he laid

Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips it upon my mouth, and said, Lo,

with fire.


Nature in awe to him
Had dofft her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize :
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun her lusty paramour.

Only with speeches fair
She woos the gentle air

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,
And on her naked shame,

40 Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden white to throw,
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

But he her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

She crown'd 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 an universal peace through sea and land.



32. Nature in awe to him, &c.] 52. Perhaps Dr. Newton's obHere is an imitation of Petrarch's jection is too nice. Roman third Sonnet.

phraseology however, by which Era 'l giorno, ch' al sol si scoloraro

he would excuse the expression Per la pieta del suo fattore i rai; strike a peace, is here quite ont Quand' i fui preso,


of the question. It is not a

J. Warton. league or agreement of peace 52. She strikes an universal between two parties that is inpeace] The expression is a little 'tended. A quick and universal inaccurate, Peace to strike a diffusion is the idea. It was peace : but otherwise it is classi- done as with a stroke. T. Warcal, foedus ferire.



No war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around :

The idle spear and shield were high up hung,
The hooked chariot stood,
Unstain'd with hostile blood,

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng,
And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by. 60


But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of light

His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds with wonder whist
Smoothly the waters kist,

Whisp’ring new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.



55. The idle spear and shield 64. The winds with wonder were high up hung.) So Proper- whist] Whist, silenced, as in tius, ii. xxv. 8.

Spenser, Faery Queen, b. vii.

cant. 7. st. 59. Et vetus in templo bellica parma

So was the Titaness put down and

whist : But chivalry and Gothic manners and in Shakespeare, Tempest, were here in Milton's mind. T.

act i. sc. 5. Ariel's song. Warion.

The wild waves whist. 64. The winds, &c.] Ovid, It is commonly used as an inter, Metam. ii. 745.

jection commanding silence. And Perque dies placidos hyberno tempore hence, I suppose, the game of septem.

Whist hath its name, as it requires Incubat Halcyone pendentibus æquore silence and attention. nidis :

64. In Stanyhurst's Virgil, InTum via tuta maris; ventos custodit

tentique ora tenebant, is translated, Rolus egressu, &c.

They whisted all, b. ii. 1. T. T Warton. Warton.

et arcet

VI. The stars with deep amaze Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,

70 Bending one way their precious influence, , And will not take their flight, For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence; But in their glimmering orbs did glow,

75 Until their Lord himself bespáke, and bid them go.

And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame

The new enlighten’d world no more should need ;
He saw a greater sun appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree could bear.

The shepherds on the lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,



" the

77. And though the shady gloom, -Heaven awakened all his eyes &c.] This stanza is a copy of

To see another sunne at midnigbt

rise. one in Spenser's Aprill. I saw Phæbus thrust out his golden And afterwards he adds, hed

“ cursed oracles were strucken Upon her to gaze :

“ dumb." T. Warton. But when he saw, how broad her 86. Or e'er the point of dawn,] beames did spred,

Ere with e'er or ever following is It did him amaze. He blusht to see another sun belowe: changed into or; and there are Ne durst againe his fierie face out frequent instances of it not only showe, &c.

in all our old writers, but likeSo also G. Fletcher on a similar wise in the English translation of subject in his Christ's Victorie, the Bible. p. i. st. 78.

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