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ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide; "Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?" I fondly ask but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state
TO MR. LAWRENCE.
LAWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice
He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
TO CYRIAC SKINNER.
CYRIAC, whose grandsire, on the royal bench
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.
TO THE SAME.
CYRIAC, this three years' day, these eyes, though clear,
In liberty's defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe rings from side to side.
This thought might lead me through the world's vain Content, though blind, had I no better guide.
ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.
METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave, Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave, Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint. Mine, as whom, wash'd from spot of child-bed taint, Purification in the old law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind: Her face was veil'd, yet, to my fancied sight,
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked-she fled-and day brought back my night.
I. ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY. HIS is the month, and this the happy morn, Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King, 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,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table
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, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
See, how from far, upon the eastern road,
And join thy voice unto the angel-quire,
It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ;; Nature, in awe to him,
Had doff'd 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.