Verse > Harvard Classics > John Milton > Complete Poems
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John Milton. (1608–1674).  Complete Poems.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Upon the Circumcision
 
(1634)
 
 
YE flaming Powers, and wingèd 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,—        5
Now mourn; and if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distill no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow,
He who with all Heaven’s heraldry whilere        10
Entered 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?        15
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;        20
And that great Covenant which we still transgress
Intirely satisfied,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful Justice bore for our excess,
And seals obedience first with wounding smart        25
This day; but oh! ere long,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart.
 

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