Home  »  The Poets’ Bible  »  Upon the Circumcision

W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

Upon the Circumcision

John Milton (1608–1674)

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,

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

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?

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 oh! ere long,

Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart.