Xiphias: Shot to His Aim

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Sweet is the dew that falls betimes,
And drops upon the leafy limes;
Sweet, Hermon’s fragrant air:
Sweet is the lily’s silver bell,
And sweet the wakeful tapers’ smell
That watch for early prayer.

Sweet the young nurse, with love intense,
Which smiles o’er sleeping innocence;
Sweet when the lost arrive:
Sweet the musician’s ardour beats,
While his vague mind’s in quest of sweets
The choicest flowers to hive.

Sweeter, in all the strains of love,
The language of thy turtle-dove,
Paired to thy swelling chord;
Sweeter, with every grace endued,
The glory of thy gratitude.
Respired unto the Lord.

Strong is the horse upon his speed;
Strong in pursuit the rapid glede,
Which makes at once his game:
Strong the tall ostrich on the ground;
Strong through the turbulent profound
Shoots Xiphias to his aim.

Strong is the lion—like a coal
His eyeball—like a bastion’s mole
His chest against the foes:
Strong the gier-eagle on his sail,
Strong against tide the enormous whale
Emerges as he goes.

 

 extract: A Song To David
by Christopher Smart (c. 1760)

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