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Bless'd pair of Syrens! pledges of Heaven's joy!
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse!
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ
Dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce;
And to our high-raised phantasy present
That undisturbed of pure concent
Aye sung before the sapphire-color'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 in thousand quires,
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just Spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
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.
0, may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with Heaven, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!
MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
This rich marble doth inter
The honor’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.
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 cypress
Once had the early matrons run
To 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.
So have I seen some tender slip
Saved 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 flower
New shot up from vernal shower :
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 travel 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; VOL. III.
Whilst thou, bright Saint! high sit’st in glory,
Next her, much like to thee in story,
That fair Syrian shepherdess,
Who after years of barrenness,
The highly favor’d Joseph bore
To him that served 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 flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May! that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire:
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale, doth boast thy blessing !
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.