England's Antiphon

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Sleep, sleep, old sun; thou canst not have re-past[81] As yet the wound thou took'st on Friday last. Sleep then, and rest: the world may bear thy stay; A better sun rose before thee to-day; Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell On the earth's face as thou, enlightened hell, And made the dark fires languish in that vale, As at thy presence here our fires grow pale; Whose body, having walked on earth and now Hastening to heaven, would, that he might allow Himself unto all stations and fill all, For these three days become a mineral. He was all gold when he lay down, but rose All tincture; and doth not alone dispose Leaden and iron wills to good, but is Of power to make even sinful flesh like his. Had one of those, whose credulous piety Thought that a soul one might discern and see Go from a body, at this sepulchre been, And issuing from the sheet this body seen, He would have justly thought this body a soul, If not of any man, yet of the whole.

What a strange mode of saying that he is our head, the captain of our salvation, the perfect humanity in which our life is hid! Yet it has its dignity. When one has got over the oddity of these last six lines, the figure contained in them shows itself almost grand.

As an individual specimen of the grotesque form holding a fine sense, regard for a moment the words,

He was all gold when he lay down, but rose All tincture;

which means, that, entirely good when he died, he was something yet greater when he rose, for he had gained the power of making others good: the tincture intended here was a substance whose touch would turn the basest metal into gold.

Through his poems are scattered many fine passages; but not even his large influence on the better poets who followed is sufficient to justify our listening to him longer now.

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