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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 consort to the angelic symphony.

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;

So both himself and us to glorify:

Yet first, to those enchained 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 under ground,

In straiter limits bound,

Not half so far casts his usurpèd 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 arched roof in words deceiving.

Apollo from his shrine

Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.

No nightly trance, or breathèd 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;

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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 moan with midnight 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 forgoes his wonted seat.

Peor and Baalim

Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice-battered God of Palestine;

And moonèd Ashtaroth,

Heaven's queen and mother both,

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;

The Libyc 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,

In dismal dance about the furnace blue;

The brutish gods of Nile as fast,

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

Nor is Osiris seen

In Memphian grove, or green,

Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings loud :

Nor can he be at rest

Within his sacred chest ;

Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud ;
In vain, with timbrelled anthems dark,

The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipped ark.

He feels from Judah's land

The dreaded Infant's hand,

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;

Nor all the Gods beside

Longer dare abide,

Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine;

Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,

Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.

So, when the Sun in bed,

Curtained with cloudy red,

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,

The flocking shadows pale

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-teemèd 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.


Crashaw, the author of the annexed hymn, was the son of a clergyman of the Church of England, and received his education at Cambridge; after taking his degree, he became a fellow of Peterhouse College. Refusing, however, to subscribe to the parliamentary covenant, he was ejected from his fellowship, when he proceeded to France and embraced the Roman Catholic faith. His conversion probably arose from interested motives, as, having been recommended to Henrietta Maria by his friend Cowley the poet, a canonry in the Church of Loretto was conferred on him. This dignity he only lived to enjoy for a short time, as he died of a fever in 1650, soon after his induction.




OME we shepherds, whose blest sight
Hath met Love's noon in Nature's night;
Come lift we up our loftier song,
And wake the sun that lies too long.

To all our world of well-stoll'n joy,

He slept, and dreamt of no such thing;
While we found out Heaven's fairer eye,
And kissed the cradle of our King;

Tell him he rises now too late

To show us ought worth looking at.

Tell him we now can show him more

Than he e'er showed to mortal sight,

Than he himself e'er saw before,

Which to be seen needs not his light:
Tell him, Tityrus, where th' hast been;
Tell him, Thyrsis, what th' hast seen.

Tit. Gloomy night embraced the place

Where the noble infant lay;

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