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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By John Milton (1608–1674)

Upon the Circumcision

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 distil 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!
Oh, 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 cov’nant 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        25
This day; but oh, ere long
Huge pangs and strong
  Will pierce more near His heart!