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SELECTIONS OF POETRY.

ADDRESS TO LIGHT.

Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first born!
Or of the Eternal co-eternal beam !
May I express thee unblamed? Since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity; dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate !
Or hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell ? before the

sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and, at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn; while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre,
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;

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Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare! thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovereign vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two, equalled with me in fate,
So were I equalled with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineas, prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return : but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark,
Surrounds me! from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off; and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expunged and razed,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out!

So much the rather thou, celestial Light !
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

MILTON.

THE ANGELIC SONG.

Then crowned again, their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tuned, that, glittering by their side,
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high;
No voice exempt,—no voice but well could join
Melodious part, such concord is in heaven.

“ Thee, Father,” now they sung, “ Omnipotent,
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Eternal King; thee, Author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyself invisible
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shad'st
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud,
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
Yet dazzle heaven, that brightest seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.”

“ Thee,” too they sang, "of all creation first, Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud Made visible, the Almighty Father shines,

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Whom else no creature can behold; on thee
Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides,
Transfused on thee His ample Spirit rests.
He heaven of heavens, and all the powers therein,
By thee created, and by thee threw down
The aspiring Dominations."

MILTON.

EVENING DISCOURSE BETWEEN

ADAM AND EVE.
Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied ; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung ;
Silence was pleased : now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

When Adam thus to Eve: “Fair consort, the hour
Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
Mind us of like

since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep
Now falling with soft, slumberous weight, inclines
Our eyelids : other creatures all day long
Rove idle unemployed, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind

repose,

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