_Quel ch' infinita providenza ed arte._
HE CELEBRATES THE BIRTHPLACE OF LAURA.
He that with wisdom, goodness, power divine,
Did ample Nature's perfect book design,
Adorn'd this beauteous world, and those above,
Kindled fierce Mars, and soften'd milder Jove:
When seen on earth the shadows to fulfill
Of the less volume which conceal'd his will,
Took John and Peter from their homely care,
And made them pillars of his temple fair.
Nor in imperial Rome would He be born,
Whom servile Judah yet received with scorn:
E'en Bethlehem could her infant King disown,
And the rude manger was his early throne.
Victorious sufferings did his pomp display,
Nor other chariot or triumphal way.
At once by Heaven's example and decree,
Such honour waits on such humility.
The High Eternal, in whose works supreme
The Master's vast creative power hath spoke:
At whose command each circling sphere awoke,
Jove mildly rose, and Mars with fiercer beam:
To earth He came, to ratify the scheme
Reveal'd to us through prophecy's dark cloak,
To sound redemption, speak man's fallen yoke:
He chose the humblest for that heavenly theme.
But He conferr'd not on imperial Rome
His birth's renown; He chose a lowlier sky,--
To stand, through Him, the proudest spot on earth!
And now doth shine within its humble home
A star, that doth each other so outvie,
That grateful nature hails its lovely birth.
Who show'd such infinite providence and skill
In his eternal government divine,
Who launch'd the spheres, gave sun and moon to shine,
And brightest wonders the dark void to fill;
On earth who came the Scriptures to maintain,
Which for long years the truth had buried yet,
Took John and Peter from the fisher's net
And gave to each his part in the heavenly reign.
He for his birth fair Rome preferr'd not then,
But lowly Bethlehem; thus o'er proudest state
He ever loves humility to raise.
Now rises from small spot like sun again,
Whom Nature hails, the place grows bright and great
Which birth so heavenly to our earth displays.