Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
A Carol III
Awake dull soul, and from thy fold of clay
Receive the blessed tidings of the day:
Not of a fox's cub, whose guile might be
A promise of successive tyranny,
Nor o' th' victorious eagle's far-spread wing,
The chiefest of the world's parts covering,
But of a lamb that's yeaned, a child that's born,
No spectacle of glory but of scorn;
For in the house of bread, this Bread of Life,
For us is come to Joseph and his wife,
And though the city David's were, therein
His Son no throne possesses, but an inn.
There thou may'st find Him at Whose mean, low birth
The mightiest potentates of all the earth,
Nay, oracles, are silenced and gone,
Nor longer serve the devil's delusion.
The Delphian fiend confesses he's o'ercome
And by an Hebrew-born child stricken dumb.
The letters of th' Old Law effaced are;
Down falls the statue of great Jupiter,
With th' twins and their nursing beast--which shower
Of prodigies rouse up the emperor,
Who thus far in the dark could see, t' erect
In honor of th' Almighty Architect,
An altar in the Capitol to's Son
First-born, with the sole dedication.
If light thus through darkness shone, why is't
That thou who hast the Gospel's beams, the mist
Of errors canst not dissipate, but still
Becom'st idolater in doing ill?
How doth thy pride and envy hatch deceit,
And fond ambition raise thee in conceit
Of thine own worth, when all such honours can
But dress thee up more stately beast, no man?
The serpent's brood like twins do always pair,
Which by thy beastly humors fostered are:
Thy tongue no more thy heart's cross-row doth spell,
Than if thou wert another oracle.
Be silent then, nor longer more profane
That holy Temple for which thou art ta'en,
But let the Lamb's blood wash away the stains
And characters were written in thy veins
By thy first parents, and which since thou hast
By thy endeavors into volumes cast,
Throw down thyself for Him who meekly came
Into the world for thee, a Child, a Lamb,
Born to be slain for thee, yet slain before,
To make the victory and conquest more.
Humility's a child; a giant, pride:
Goliath from the hand of David died--
So though like foes, thy ill affections grow
Unto immensity, a powerful throw
Out of the sling of faith, of hope, and love
May all that monstrous-uncouth brood remove.
Then mayst thou reign without suspicion, free,
As Pharaoh did, till this nativity;
Then shall thy conscience oraclize thy fate,
Than was Augutus's more fortunate;
Nor in the Capitol but in thy heart
Erect an altar to Him, let each part
Express thou art awake, and seeing canst tell,
That now salvation's come to Israel.
[By Mildmay Fane,Second Earl of Westmoreland (1600-65)]