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John Milton

Rubens. Circumcision. 1605.


     YE flaming powers, and winged warriors bright
That erst, with music, and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear
So sweetly sung your joy, the clouds along,
Through the soft silence of the listening night,
Now mourn; and if, sad share with us to bear,
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas, wept from our deep sorrow:
He, who, with all Heaven's heraldry, whilere
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease;
Alas, how soon our sin
     Sore doth begin
          His infancy to seize!
O, more exceeding love or law more just:
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we, by rightful doom, remediless,
Were lost in death, till he, that dwelt above,
High throned in secret bliss, for us, frail dust,
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness:
And that great covenant, which we still transgress
Entirely satisfied,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice, bore for our excess;
And seals obedience first, with wounding smart,
This day, but O! ere long,
Huge pangs and strong
          Will pierce more near his heart.







The Poetical Works of John Milton.
        London: J. J. Chidley, 1847. 441-2.

to Works of John Milton

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on December 23, 2006. Last updated April 25, 2012.


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