LYRA INNOCENTIUM.







LYRA

INNOCENTIUM:



THOUGHTS IN VERSE



ON



CHRISTIAN CHILDREN,



THEIR WAYS, AND THEIR PRIVILEGES.



JESUS called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them.







OXFORD:



JOHN HENRY PARKER;

F. AND J. RIVINGTON, LONDON.



1846.







" O dearest, dearest Boy ! my heart

For better lore would seldom yearn,

Could I but teach the hundredth part

Of what from thee I learn."



Wordsworth.







ADVERTISEMENT.



ACCORDING to the first idea of this little work, it

would have proved a sort of Christian Year for

Teachers and Nurses, and others who are much

employed about Children. By degrees it has

taken a different shape : but it was thought

advisable in the Table of Contents, to mention

in many instances, with the subject of the Poem,

the Day to which it was meant to be adapted.







TO







ALL FRIENDLY READERS.







There are, who love upon their knees



To linger when their prayers are said,

And lengthen out their Litanies,



In duteous care for quick and dead.

Thou, of all Love the Source and Guide /



may some hovering thought of theirs,

Where I am kneeling, gently glide,



And higher waft these earth-bound prayers*



There are, who gazing on the stars

Love-tokens read from worlds of light,



Not as dim-seen through prison-bars,

But as with Angels' welcome bright.







VI







had we kept entire the vow

And covenant of our infant eyes,



We too might trace untrembling now

Glad lessons in the moonlight skies.



There are, to whom the gay green earth



Might seem a mournful penance cave ;

For they have marred their holy birth,



Have rent the lowers that o'er them wave.

Where underneath Thy Cross they lie,



Mark me a place : Thy Mercy's ray

Is healing, even to such as I,



Else wherefore bid us hope and pray ?



What if there were, who laid one hand



Upon the Lyre of Innocence,

While the other over sea and land



Beckoned foul shapes, in dream intense

Of earthly Passion ? Whoso reads,



In pity kneel for him, and pour

A deep heart-prayer (Of much it needs)



That lies may be his hope no more.







Vll







Pray that the mist, ly sin and shame



Left on his soul, may fleet , that he

A true and timely word may frame



For weary hearts, that ask to see

Their way in our dim twilight hour ,



His lips so purged with penance-fire,

That he may guide them, in Christ's power,



Along the path of their desire ;



And with no faint nor erring voice



May to the wanderer whisper, " Stay :

God chooses for thee : seal His choice,



Nor from thy Mother's shadow stray :

For sure thine holy Mother's shade



Rests yet upon thine ancient home :

No voice from Heaven hath clearly said,



' Let us depart / then fear to roam"



Pray that the Prayer of Innocents

On Earth, of Saints in Heaven above,



Guard, as of old, our lonely tents ,

Till, as one faith is ours, in Love







viii







W^e own all Churches, and are owned.

Pray Him to save, by chastenings keen,



The harps that hail His Bride enthroned

From wayward touch of hands unclean.







Feb. 8, 1846.







CONTENTS.







Page



I. HOLY BAPTISM. 1. The Most Holy Name



(For Trinity Sunday') . 1



2. New Creation (Septuagesima) 4



3. Guardian Angels . . 8



4. Baptismal Vows (St. John) 12



5. Sign of the Cross . ' . 15



6. Death of the New-baptized 18



II. CRADLE SONGS. 1. The First Smile . . 19



2. Children like Parents



(Sixth Sunday after Epiphany) 23



3. The Lullaby ... 28



4. Sleeping on the Waters

(Fourth Sunday after Epiphany*) 31



5. First Waking



(Monday in Easter Week) . 36



6. Looking Westward



(St. Matthew) . . 39







CONTENTS.



Page



II. CRADLE SONGS. 7. Upward Gazing



(St. John Baptist) . 42



8. Children's Thankfulness . 45



9. Children with Dumb Creatures 49



10. Lifting up to the Cross



(St. James) ... 55



11. Sickness in the Cradle



(Circumcision) . . 62



12. Anticipation and Retrospection



( Third Sunday after Easter) 64



13. Judas's Infancy



( Wednesday before Easter) 66



14. The Saint's Infancy



(St. Stephen) . . 69



15. The Cradle Guarded . 73

III. EARLY ENCOU- 1. Trustworthiness



RAGEMENTS. (First Sunday after Epiphany) 78



2. Samuel's Prayer . . 80



3. Prayer at Home and in Church 82



4. Self-Examination (St. Paul) 84



5. Confession (Sexagesima) . 87



6. Tell thy Mother . . 89



7. Absolution ... 91



8. Hours of Prayer . . 92



9. Repeating the Creed



(First Sunday after Easter) 94

10. Lessons and Accomplishments

(St. Luke) ... 97







CONTENTS.







III. EARLY EN- 11. Unwearied Love (Twenty-

COURAGEMENTS. second Sunday after Trinity} 99



IV. EARLY WARN- 1. Effect of Example



INGS. (First Sunday after Trinity) 102



2. Danger of Praise



(Fourth Sunday in Advent) 104



3. Envy . . . .106



4. Mistrust of Elders



(St. Thomas) . . .108



5. Fine Clothes (Palm Sunday} 1 10



6. Irreverence in Church . 113



7. Disrespect to Elders .117



8. Home Sickness (St. Marti) 122



9. Ill Temper . . .124



V. CHILDREN'S 1. The Cross laid on Infants

TROUBLES. (Good Friday} . . 128



2. Tears Restrained .(Eigh



teenth Sunday after Trinity} 132



3. Loneliness . . . 136



4. Shyness . . .140



5. Stammering ( Twelfth Sun



day after Trinity) . .143



6. Fear of Wild Beasts



(Quinquagesima} . . 145



7. Separation (Twenty -fourth



Sunday after Trinity) . 147



8. Bereavement (Sixteenth



Sunday after Trinity} . 149







CONTENTS.







V.







VI.







CHILDREN'S

TROUBLES.







CHILDREN'S

SPORTS.







VII. LESSONS OF

NATURE.







Page

9. Orphanhood . . .152



10. Fire (Nineteenth Sunday



after Trinity) . . 155



11. Punishment . . .158



12. Penance . . .162



1. Gardening (Ninth Sunday



after Trinity} . . 166



2. May Garlands (St. Philip



and St. James) . . 169



3. Sunday Nosegays (Seven



teenth Sunday after Trinity 172



4. Dressing up (Twenty-first



Sunday after Trinity) . 174



5. Pebbles on the Shore . 178



6. Bathing (St. Peter) . 182



7. Enacting Holy Rites



(St. Matthias) . . 185



1. Vernal Mirth . . .190



2. The Birds' Nest



(Whitsun-Tuesday) . 192



3. The Mother Bird with



her young (Tenth Sun

day after Trinity) . 195



4. Noontide (Ascension Day) 197



5. The Gleaners . . . 200



6. Autumn Buds



(Advent Sunday) . . 203



7. The Oak



( Third Sunday in Advent) 205







CONTENTS.



Page



VII. LESSONS OF 8. The Palm . . .207



NATURE. 9. The Waterfall



(St. Simon and St. Jude) 209

10. The Starry Heavens . 214



VIII. LESSONS OF 1 . Isaac on Moriah



GRACE. (First Sunday in Lent} . 219



2. Song of the Manna-



Gatherers . . 222



3. The Gibeonites . . 228



4. David's Childhood (Sixth



Sunday after Trinity) . 230



5. Elijah at Sarepta . . 233



6. Naaman's Servant (Eleventh



Sunday after Trinity} . 235



7. Hezekiah's Display . . 237



8. St. Joseph . . .239



9. The Boy with the Five



Loaves . . . .243



10. The Mourners following the



Cross . . . .246



11. St. Andrew and his Cross 249



IX. HOLY PLACES 1. Preparing for Sunday Ser-

AND THINGS. vices .... 252



2. Walk to Church . . 254



3. The Lich-gate . . .256



4. Obeisance on entering Church 259



5. The Empty Church . . 260



6. Church Decorations . 262







CONTENTS.



Page

IX. HOLY PLACES 7- Church Windows



AND THINGS. (All Saints') . . .264



8. Relics and Memorials



(St. Bartholomew} . . 266



9. Carved Angels



(St. Michael) . . 268



10. Church Rites (Second Sun



day after Epiphany) . 273



11. White Apparel



I. The Chrisom . . 276



II. The Sunday Dress . 277



III. Confirmation . . 278



IV. Priests in White . 279

V. Choristers in White 280



VI. Bridal White . . 281

VII. Penitents in White . 282

VIII. White upon the Altar 283



IX. The Winding Sheet 284



12. Redbreast in Church . 285



13. Disuse of Excommunication 288



14. Disuse of Infant Communion



( Thursday before Easter} 290



15. The Offertory



(St. Barnabas) . . 294



16. Church Bells . . .299



17. Continual Services



(Sunday before Advent} . 304







CONTENTS.



Page



X. HOLY SEASONS 1. Christmas Eve, Vespers .311

AND DAYS. 2. Christmas Eve, Compline . 314



3. Christmas Day . . 318



4. Epiphany . . .321



5. Purification . . .324



6. Lent . . . .328



7. Easter Eve . . .331



8. Easter Day . . .333



9. WhitsunEve . . .338



10. Whitsunday . . .342



11. Octaves of Festivals .345

V. CHILDREN'S 13. Languor 349



TROUBLES.







ERRATUM.

P. 233, line 10, for bless read dress.







LYRA INNOCENTIUM.







Baptism







i.



THE MOST HOLY NAME.



" Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy



Ghost."



ONCE in His Name who made thee,

Once in His Name who died for thee,

Once in His Name who lives to aid thee,

We plunge thee in Love's boundless sea.



Christian, dear child, we call thee ;

Threefold the Bath, the Name is One :

Henceforth no evil dream befall thee,

Now is thy heavenly rest begun.







Holy Baptism.



Yet in sharp hours of trial

The mighty seal must needs be prov'd :

Dread Spirits wait in stern espial :

But name thou still the Name belov'd.



Name it with heart untainted,

Lips fragrant from their early vow,

Ere Conscience yet have swerved or fainted,

Ere Shame have dyed the willing brow.



Name it in dewy morning,

"When duly for the world's keen fray

With prayer and vow thy soul adorning,

Thou in thy bower salut'st the day.



In quiet evening name it,

When gently, like a wearied breeze,

Thou sink'st to sleep ; O see thou claim it

That saving Name upon thy knees.



Name it in solemn meetings,

'Mid chanted anthems grave and clear,

When toward the East our awful greetings

Are wafted ere our Lord appear.







The Most Holy Name.



Upon thy death-bed name it :

So may'st thou chase th' infernal horde,

So learn with Angels to proclaim it,

Thrice Holy, One Almighty Lord.







Holy Baptism.



2.

NEW CREATION.



WHO may the wondrous birth declare

Of Earth and Heaven so vast and fair ?

Yet whensoe'er to Love's pure spring

A helpless Little One they bring,

Those wonders o'er again we see

In saving mystery.



All in the unregenerate child

Is void and formless, dark and wild,

Till the life-giving holy Dove

Upon the waters gently move,

And power impart, soft brooding there,

Celestial fruit to bear.



God on the first day spoke in might,

" Let there be Light," and there was Light.

So o'er the Font enlightening grace

As surely beams from JESUS' face,

As when in Jordan's wave He bow'd

Beneath the hovering cloud.







New Creation.



The second day, God stor'd on high

The dewy treasures of the sky :

And who the pure glad drops may tell,

Reserv'd in yon ethereal well,

Faith to revive upon her way,

Hope's weary thirst allay ?



The third day dawn'd : at His command

The rushing waters left the land,

With herb and flower the green earth smil'd,-

So art thou rescued, Christian Child,

From tossings of the world's rude sea,

In vernal peace to be.



Bright rose the fourth triumphant morn,

For then the sun and stars were born,

And the soft moon, whose chaste cold ray

Tells tidings of a purer day.

Christ in the Font became our Noon,

The holy Church, our Moon.







Holy Baptism.



To the fifth dawn and eve belong

Motion and life, and flight and song,

In watery deeps and deeps of Heaven :-

Such gift to thee, dear babe, was given,

When from the earth He bade thee rise

To greet Him in the skies.



The sixth dread day, the last in place,

Dread in its deeps of untold grace,

Moulded, at morn, the cold dull clay,

Inspired, at eve, the quickening ray ;

The same sad morn and evening mild

Renewed us, earth-defiled.



Thee, awful image of the All-good,

That one atoning day renew'd

For the whole world : the fontal wave

To each apart the glory gave,

Washing us clean, that we might hide

In His love-pierced side.







New Creation.



Thus in each day of toil we read

Tokens of joy to Saints decreed.

What if the day of holy rest

The sleep foreshow of infant blest,

Borne from the Font, the seal new given,

Perchance to wake in Heaven ?







Holy Baptism.



3.

GUARDIAN A1S 7 GELS.



" TELL me now thy morning dream."

" In the flowery sweet spring-tide



I beheld a sparkling stream,



Where by thousands Angels glide ; ,



Each beneath the soft bright wing



Seem'd a tender babe to bring,



Where the freshest waters fell



In an ever-living well.



Far within the unearthly Fount



Showed the pure Heaven's steadfast rays,

Stars beyond what eye can count



Deepening on the unwearied gaze.

Whoso of those springs would draw,

Wondrous joy and wondrous awe

On his soul together rise,

Starlight keen and dark blue skies.







Guardian Angels.



Round the margin breath'd and bloom'd

Flowers from Eden : far below



Gems from Heaven the sides illum'd :

But nor flower nor gem might show



Half so fair as your soft charms,



Who in your own Seraphs' arms



Here are wafted, in pure vest



Rob'd, and wash'd, and seal'd, and bless'd.



There one moment lay immers'd

Each bright form, and ere it rose,



Rose regenerate, Light would burst

From where golden morning glows,



With a sudden, silent thrill,



Over that mysterious rill.



Ne'er so bright, so gentle, sweep



Lightnings o'er the summer deep.



In a moment came that ray,



Came but went not : every sprite,



Through its veil of mortal clay,



Now is drench'd in quickening light ;







10 Holy Baptism.



Light wherewith the Seraphs burn,

Light that to itself would turn

Whatsoe'er of earth and shame

Mars even now the new-born frame.



Through the pure Heavens now at large



See the immortal guardians soar,

Joying to behold their charge



Purg'd, wing'd, brighten'd more and more,

As the strong undying spark

Buoys them upward to God's Ark,

To the Throne where all repair

With the first fruits of their care.



Ne'er with smile so glad and kind

Welcom'd God's High Priest of old



Abraham's seed with Abraham's mind

Offering gifts from field and fold,



Lamb or kid, or first-ripe corn,



Glory of the Paschal morn ;



When the shades from Salem's wall



On Siloah deepest fall ;







Guardian Angels. 11



As in that entrancing dream,



On my sleep-embolden'd eyes,

From the shrine, the approving beam



Thrill'd, as each new sacrifice,

Each new living ray, each soul

Borne beyond where shadows roll,

With its faithful Watcher, found

Place in the eternal round."



O sweet morning dream, I pray,



Pass not with the matin hour :

Charm me : heart and tongue allay,



Thoughts of gloom and eyes that lower.

From the Fountain to the Shrine

Bear me on, thou trance divine ;

Faint not, fade not on my view,

Till I wake and find thee true.







12 Holy Baptism.







4.

BAPTISMAL VOWS.



O HAPPY new-born babe, where art thou lying ?



What are these sounds that fill with healing balm

The hallow'd air, of power to still thy crying



At once, and nurse thee into heavenly calm ?



" His Bosom bears me, who on earth descended,

Of a poor Maid vouchsafing to be born.



His saving words, with holy water blended,



Have brought the glory to my prime of morn."



Joy to thy nurse, more joy to her who bare thee,

Lamb of that Shepherd's flock, whose name is Good



As He hath won, for ever may He wear thee,

And keep thee purified with His dear blood !



" Amen : and therefore am I sworn His servant,

His sacred Heart through life to be my rest,



To watch His eye with adoration fervent,



Foe of His foes, and in His white robe drest."







Baptismal F'ows. 13



O blest, O safe, on God's own bosom leaning !



But passion-hours are nigh : keep thou thy place :

And far and wide are evil watchers, gleaning



The lambs that slight the Shepherd's fostering grace.



" Nay, I will drink His cup ; my vow is taken ;



With His baptizing blood mine own shall blend ;

Ne'er be that holiest charge by me forsaken,



The dying Saviour's trust to each true friend."



Well hast thou sworn, and be thy warfare glorious :

But Saints are pure, the Church is undenled,



And JESUS welcom'd from His cross victorious

A Virgin Mother to a Virgin Child.



" Then ask for me of the dread Son of Mary,

Whose arms eternal are young children's home,



A loving heart, obedient eyes and wary,

Even as I am to tarry till He come."



Prayer shall not fail, but higher He would lead thee :

His bosom-friend ate of that awful Bread :



So will He wait all day to bless and feed thee ;

Come thou adoring to be blest and fed.







14 Holy Baptism.



" 'Tis meet and right, and mine own bounden duty.



Good Angels guide me with pure heart to fall

Before His Altar-step, and see His Beauty,



And taste of Him, my first, my last, mine all."







Holy Baptism. 15



5.



SIGN OF THE CROSS.



( See the First Prayer Book of Edward VI." Receyve the signe of the

Holy Crosse, both in thy forehead, and in thy breste.")



WHERE is the mark to JESUS known,



Whereby He seals His own ?

Slaves wore of old on brow and breast



Their master's name impress'd,

And Christian babes on heart and brow



Wear JESUS' token now.

His holy Priest that token gave

With finger dipt in the life-giving wave.



When soldiers take their sovereign's fee,



And swear his own to be,

The royal badge on forehead bold



They show to young and old.

Nor may we hide for fear or shame



The persecuted Name.

Only with downcast eyes we go

At thought of sin that God and Angels know.







16 Holy Baptism.



If the dread mark, though dim, be there.



The watchers will not bear

From spirits unblest or reckless man



Unpitying word or ban.

" Mine own anointed touch ye not,



Nor mine handwriting blot.

Where'er my soldiers cross your path,

Honour my royal Sign, or fear my wrath."



The Shepherd signs his lambs in haste,



Ere on the mountain waste

He loose them, far and wide to stray,



And whoso mars their way,

Or scorns the awful Name they show,



That Shepherd counts him foe.

Fresh from his arms are these, and sure

We read His token here undimm'd and pure.



Fresh from th' eternal Arms are these,



Or sporting on our knees,

Or set on earth with earnest eye



And tottering feet, to try







Sign of the Cross. 17



Their daily walk, or newly taught

Grave prayer and quiet thought.

The fragrant breath of their new birth

Is round them yet : avaunt, ill airs of earth.



Ye elder brethren, think on this !



Think on the mighty bliss,

Should He, the Friend of babes, one day,



The words of blessing say :

" My seal upon My lambs ye knew,



And I will honour you :"

And think upon the eternal loss

If on their foreheads ye deface the glorious Cross.







18 Holy Baptism.







6.

DEATH OF THE NEW-BAPTIZED.



WHAT purer brighter sight on earth, than when



The Sun looks down upon a drop of dew,

Hid in some nook from all but Angels' ken,



And with his radiance bathes it through and through.



Then into realms too clear for our frail view

Exhales and draws it with absorbing love ?



And what if Heaven therein give token true

Of grace that new-born dying infants prove,

Just touched with Jesus' light, then lost in joys above ?







19







Cratole







i.



THE FIRST SMILE.



"Post et ridere caepi ; dormiens primo, deinde vigilans." August.

Confess. 1.8.



TEARS from the birth the doom must be



Of the sin-born but wait awhile,

Young mother, and thine eye shall see



The dawning of the first soft smile.



It comes in slumber, gently steals

O'er the fair cheek, as light on dew ;



Some inward joy that smile reveals ;

Sit by and muse ; such dreams are true.



* For this Poem the Author is indebted to a dear friend.







20 Cradle Songs.



Closed eyelids, limbs supine, and breath

So still, you scarce can calm the doubt



If life can be so like to death

'Tis life, but all of earth shut out.



. 'Tis perfect peace ; yet all the while



O'er marble brow, and dimpled chin

Mantles and glows that radiant smile,

Noting the spirit stirred within.



Oh dim to this the flashing ray,



Though dear as life to mother's heart,



From waking smiles, that later play ;

In these earth claims the larger part.



'Tis childish sport, or frolic mirth,

Or the fond mother's blameless guile,



Or glittering toy, some gaud of earth.

That stirs him to that merry smile.



Or if in pensive wise it creep,



With gradual light and soberer grace,



Yet shades of earthly sorrow sleep,

Still sleep upon his beauteous face.







The First Smile.



But did the smile disclose a dream

Of bliss that had been his before ?



"Was it from heaven's deep sea a gleam

Not faded quite on earth's dim shore ?



Or told some Angel from above



Of glories to be his at last,

The sunset, crowning hours of love



His labours done his perils past ?



Or, thought of trial for her breast,

Did the mild spirits whisper then,



" From the Baptismal Fount, O blest,

Thou shalt be ours, dear child, again ?



" Thou shalt be ours, and heaven be thine,

Thy victory without peril given ;



Sent a brief while on earth to shine,

And then to shine a light in heaven.



" And her that folds thee now so warm,

And haply thinks 'twere death to part,



Her shall a holier love inform,



A clearer faith enlarge her heart."







22 Cradle Songs.



Blest smile ! so let me live my day,

That when my latest sun shall set,



That smile reviving once may play

And gild my dying features yet :



That smile to cheer the mourners round

With hope of human sins forgiven ;



Token of earthly ties unbound,



Of heart intent on opening heaven.







Cradle Songs. 23







2.







CHILDREN LIKE PARENTS.



" Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear

what we shall be : but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be

like Him ; for we shall see Him as He is."



WHEN travail hours are spent and o'er,



And genial hours of joy

In cradle songs and nursery lore



All the glad home employ,



Full busy in her kindly mood



Is Fancy, to descry

The welcome notes of fatherhood,



In form, and lip, and eye.



And elder brethren's hearts are proud,



And sisters blush and smile,

As round the babe by turns they crowd,



A brief and wondering while.







24 Cradle Songs.



With eager speed they ready make



Soft bosom and safe arm,

As though such burthen once to take



A blessing were and charm.



And ever as with hastening wing



His little life glides on,

By power of that first wondrous spring



To all but babes unknown,



Easier each hour the task will grow.



To name the unfolding flower,

By plumage and by song to know



The nestling in his bower.



Oh, while your hearts so blithely dance

With frail fond hopes of earth,



Will ye not cast one onward glance

To the true heavenly birth ?



Will ye not say, " God speed the time

When Spirits pure, to trace



The hues of a more glorious prime,

Shall lean from their high place,







Children like Parents. 25



And mark, too keen for earthly day,



The Father's stamp and seal,

Christ in the heart, the Living Kay,



Its deepening light reveal ?"



Oh, well the denizens of Heaven



Their Master's children know,

By filial yearnings sweet and even,



By patient smiles in woe,



By gaze of meek inquiry, turn'd



Towards th' informing Eye,

By tears that to obey have learn'd,



By clasped hands on high.



Well may we guess, our Guardians true



Stoop low and tarry long,

Each accent noting, each faint hue,



That shows us weak or strong.



And even as loving nurses here



Joy in the babe to find

The likeness true of kinsman dear



Or brother good and kind,







26 Cradle Songs.



So in each budding inward grace



The Seraphs' searching ken

The memory haply may retrace



Of ancient, holy men.



For of her Saints the Sacred Home



Is never quite bereft ;

Each a bright shadow in the gloom,



A glorious type, hath left.



And by those features, stern or sweet,



Resigned or dauntless, all

Heaven's keen-eyed Watchers use to mete,



Which mortals holy call.



" And hark," saith one, " the soul I guide



I heard it gently sigh

In such a tone as Peter sighed,



Touched by his Saviour's eye."



" And see," another cries, " how soft



Smiles on that little child

Yon aged man ! even so full oft



The loved Disciple smiled."













Children like Parents. 27



And oh, be sure no guardian fires



Flash brighter in their joy

Than theirs, who scan the meek desires



And lowly lone employ



Of maiden in her quiet bower,



When haply glance or mien

Reminds them of the lily flower



With Blessed Mary seen.



But as when babes by look or tone



Brother or friend recall,

In all the Parents' right we own,



Their memory blend with all,



So in earth's saintly multitude



Discern we Saints above :

In these, the Fountain Orb of Good,



Pure Light and endless Love.







28 Cradle Songs.



3.

THE LULLABY.



THE western sky is glowing yet,



The burnished Cross upon the spire

Gives token where the Sun hath set,



Touch'd faintly with its last dim fire.

Pause on thy way from evening prayer,

And listen : through the twilight air

Floats from yon open cottage door

A soft strain warbled o'er and o'er.



A maiden rocks a babe to sleep,



And times the cradle to her song ;

A simple strain, not high nor deep,



But awful thoughts thereto belong :

For oft in holy Church's shade

She to that strain hath lent her aid.

" In thee I put my steadfast trust,

Defend me, Lord, for thou art just."*



* Psalm Ixxi. 1. New Version.







The Lullaby. 29



Without a Psalm she breathes her strain,



Lest haply ruder ears be nigh ;

But to the babe her sense is plain,



In that half word of lullaby.

That sound still varied, still the same,

To him is as the Saving Name

Pronounced in every tone, and strong

To guard his sleep from every wrong.



Angels may read such words of power,

And infants feel them : we the while



But dimly guess, till in His hour

We see the Lord's unclouded smile.



Then spells that guarded us of old



Their hidden virtue shall unfold :



Charm'd writings are they now ; no eye



May read them till the fire be nigh.



O awful touch of God made Man !



We have no lack if Thou art there.

From Thee our infant joys began,



By Thee our wearier age we bear.







30 Cradle Songs.



From Satan's breath, from Herod's sword.

The cradle where Thou watchest, Lord,

Is safe : the Avenger's rushing cry

Is like a sister's lullaby.







Cradle Songs. 31







4.







SLEEPING ON THE WATERS.



" And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow : and they

awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish ?"



WHILE snows, even from the mild South-west,



Come blinding o'er all day,

What kindlier home, what safer nest,



For flower or fragrant spray,

Than underneath some cottage roof,



Where fires are bright within,

And fretting cares scowl far aloof,



And doors are closed on sin ?



The scarlet tufts so cheerily



Look out upon the snow,

But gayer smiles the maiden's eye



Whose guardian care they know.







32 Cradle Songs.



The buds that in that nook are born

Through the dark howling day



Old Winter's spite they laugh to scorn :

What is so safe as they ?



Nay, look again : beside the hearth



The lowly cradle mark,

Where, wearied with his ten hours' mirth,



Sleeps in his own warm ark

A bright-haired babe, with arm upraised,



As though the slumberous dew

Stole o'er him, while in faith he gazed



Upon his Guardian true.



Storms may rush in, and crimes and woes



Deform the quiet bower ;

They may not mar the deep repose



Of that immortal flower.

Though only broken hearts be found



To watch his cradle by,

No blight is on his slumbers sound,



No touch of harmful eye.







Sleeping on the Waters. 33



So gently slumber'd on the wave



The new-born seer of old,

Ordained the chosen tribes to sa\



Nor dream'd how darkly rolFd

The waters by his rushy brake.



Perchance even now defiled

With infants' blood for Israel's sake.



Blood of some priestly child.



What recks he of his mother's tears,



His sister's boding sigh ?

The whispering reeds are all he hears.



And Nile, soft weltering nigh.

Sings him to sleep ; but he will wake.



And o'er the haughty flood

Wave his stem rod ; and lo ! a lake,



A restless sea of blood !



Soon shall a mightier flood thy call



And outstreteh'd rod obey ;

To right and left the watery wall



From Israel shrinks away.







34 Cradle Songs.



Such honour wins the faith that gave

Thee and thy sweetest boon



Of infant charms to the rude wave,

In the third joyous moon.



Hail, chosen Type and Image true



Of JESUS on the Sea !

In slumber and in glory too, *



Shadowed of old by thee.

Save that in calmness thou didst sleep



The summer stream beside,

He on a wider wilder deep,



Where boding night-winds sigh'd :



Sigh'd when at eve He laid Him down,



But with a sound like flame

At midnight from the mountain's crown



Upon His slumbers came.

Lo, how they watch, till He awake,



Around His rude low bed :

How wistful count the waves that break



So near His sacred Head !







Sleeping on the Waters. 35



O faithless ! know ye not of old



How in the western bay,

When dark and vast the billows roll'd,



A Prophet slumbering lay ?

The surges smote the keel as fast



As thunderbolts from heaven :

Himself into the wave he cast,



And hope and life were given.



Behold, a mightier far is here ;



Nor will He spare to leap,

For the souls' sake He loves so dear,



Into a wilder deep.

E'en now He dreams of Calvary ;



Soon will He wake and say

The words of peace and might : do ye



His hour in calmness stay.







36 Cradle Songs.







FIRST WAKING.



" JESUS saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him,

Rabboni ; which is to say, Master."



" YE who wait in wistful gaze



Where young infants lie,

Learning faith and silent praise



From each pure calm sigh,

Say, 'mid all those beaming glances,

Starts, and gleams, and silent trances,

When the fond heart highest dances,



Feeling Heaven so nigh ?"



" Hard it is, 'mid gifts so sweet



Choosing out the prime :

But no brighter smiles we meet



Than at waking time,

When they burst the chains of slumber,

Chains that guard but not encumber,

And glad fancies without number



King their playful chime."







First Waking. 37



" Nay, but with a moaning sound



Babes awakening start ;

See the uneasy eye glance round,



Feel the beating heart."

" But the watcher's look prevailing

In a moment stills that wailing,

Eye and heart have ceased their ailing,



Joy hath learn'd her part."



So when rose on Easter dawn



Our all-glorious Sun,

You might see Love's eye withdrawn



From th' adored One.

Tears that morn were in her waking,

Now again her heart is breaking ;

Who may soothe her soul's sad aching ?



For her Lord is gone.



Him for tears she may not see,



Even her soul's delight,

Yet full near to her is He.



Say, did Hosts of Light







38 Cradle Songs.



Ever breathe in mortals' hearing

Tones so soft, so heavenly cheering ?

" Mary," was the word endearing

Heaven and earth grew bright.



Lo, the Babe spreads out his arms

Toward the Watcher's face,



Fain to hide from sad alarms

In Love's safe embrace.



See, the Word of Grace attending,



Magdalen full lowly bending.



" Touch Me not till mine ascending,"

Is the Word of Grace.



Love with infant's haste would fain



Touch Him and adore,

But a deeper holier gain



Mercy keeps in store.

" Touch Me not : awhile believe Me :

Touch Me not till Heaven receive Me,

Then draw near and never leave Me,



Then I go no more."







Cradle Songs. 39







6.







LOOKING WESTWARD.



" God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined

in our hearts."



HAD I an infant, Lord, to rear



And mould in JESUS' Law,

How should I watch in hope and fear



The first deep glance of awe,



When for a bright and conscious gaze



He lifts his eyelids meek,

And round his own world's little maze



Some marvel fain would seek !



Bright be the spot, and pure the ray,



That wins his steadfast eye ;

A path of light, a glorious way,



To guide his soul on high.







40 Cradle Songs.



O, rich the tint of earthly gold,

And keen the diamond's spark,



But the young Lamb of JESUS' fold

Should other splendours mark.



To soothe him in the unquiet night

I ask no taper's gleam,



But bring him where the aerial light-

Falls from the Moon's soft beam.



His heart at early morn to store



With fancies fresh and rare,

Count not thy jewels o'er and o'er,



Show him no mirror's glare,



But lift him where the Eastern heaven



Glows with the Sun unseen,

Where the strong wings, to morning given,



Brood o'er a world serene.



There let him breathe his matin thought



Of pure unconscious love,

There taste the dew by Angels brought



In silence from above.







Looking Westward. 41



Yet, might I choose a time, me seems



That earliest wistful gaze

Were best to meet the softening beams



Of sunset's glowing maze.



Wide be the western casement thrown



At sultry evening's fall,

The gorgeous lines be duly shown



That weave Heaven's wondrous pall.



Calm be his sleep, whose eyelids close



Upon so fair a sight :

Not gentler mother's music flows,



Her sweetest, best good night.



So hastes the Lord our hearts to fill



With calm baptismal grace,

Preventing all false gleams of ill



By His own glorious Face.







42 Cradle Songs.







7.







UPWARD GAZING.



" And whence is this to me, that the Mother of ray Lord should come to

me ? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the

babe leaped in my womb for joy."



" WHENCE is the mighty grace,

Mother of God, that thou to me shouldst come,

Me, who but fill a sinner's place,

A sinful child hid in my womb ?

Who in God's sight am I,



And who mine unborn boy,

That I should view Heaven's Spouse so nigh,

He in my bosom leap for joy ?"



O cry of deep delight



By Aaron's sainted daughter breath'd that hour !

O joy preventing life and light,

When the Incarnate in His Power







Upward Grazing. 43



Came to th' Unborn ! even now



Your echo faint we feel,

When o'er the newly sealed brow



Glad airs and gleams of summer steal.



Oft as in sunbright dawn

The infant lifts his eye, joying to find

The dusky veil of sleep undrawn,



And to the East gives welcome kind :

Or in the morning air



Waves high his little arm,

As though he read engraven there



His fontal name, Christ's saving charm :



Oft as in hope untold

The parent's eye pursues that eager look,

Enkindling like the shafts of old,



Where mid the stars their way they took :*

Still in Love's steady gaze,



In Joy's unbidden cry,

That holy mother's glad amaze,

That infant's worship, we descry.



* Virg. jEn. v. 525.







44 Cradle Songs.



Still Mary's Child unseen



Comes breathing, in the heart just seal'd His own,

Prayers of 'high hope : what bliss they mean,

And where they soar, to Him is known !

But joyous Mothers, mark,



And mark, exulting Sires,

All who the pure baptismal spark



Would duteous nurse to saintly fires :



Stern is the Babe, and lone :

Vow'd from his birth, unborn he seals the vow,

And ere he win his glory -throne,

Vigil and fast his frame must bow,

And hours of prayer, apart



From Home's too soothing praise ;

His Saviour's image in his heart

Increasing while his own decays.







Cradle Songs. 45



8.

CHILDREN'S THANKFULNESS.



WHY so stately, Maiden fair,

Rising in thy nurse's arms

With that condescending air ;



Gathering up thy queenly charms,

Like some gorgeous Indian bird,

Which, when at eve the balmy copse is stirr'd,



Turns the glowing neck, to chide

Th' irreverent foot-fall, then makes haste to hide



Again its lustre deep

Under the purple wing, best home of downy sleep ?



Not as yet she comprehends



How the tongues of men reprove,



But a spirit o'er her bends



Train'd in Heaven to courteous love,



And with wondering grave rebuke

Tempers, to-day, shy tone and bashful look.







46 Cradle Songs.



Graceless one, 'tis all of thee,

Who for her maiden bounty, full and free,



The violet from her gay

And guileless bosom, didst no word of thanks repay.



Therefore, lo, she opens wide



Both her blue and wistful eyes,

Breathes her grateful chant, to chide



Our too tardy sympathies.

Little Babes and Angels bright

They muse, be sure, and wonder, day and night,



How th' all-holy Hand should give,

The sinner's hand in thanklessness receive.



We see it and we hear,

But wonder not : for why ? we feel it all too near.



Not in vain, when feasts are spread,

To the youngest at the board*



Call we to incline the head,



And pronounce the solemn word.



Not in vain they clasp and raise

The soft pure fingers in unconscious praise,



* See Hooker, E. P. v. 31. 2.













Children's Thankfulness. 47



Taught perchance by pictur'd wall

How little ones before the Lord may fall,



How to His lov'd caress

Reach out the restless arm, and near and nearer press.



Children in their joyous ranks,



As you pace the village street,



Fill the air with smiles and thanks



If but once one babe you greet.



Never weary, never dim,



From Thrones Seraphic mounts th' eternal hymn.



Babes and Angels grudge no praise :

But elder souls, to whom His saving ways



Are open, fearless take



Their portion, hear the Grace, and no meek answer

make.



Save our blessings, Master, save



From the blight of thankless eye :

Teach us for all joys to crave

Benediction pure and high,

Own them given, endure them gone,

Shrink from their hardening touch, yet prize them

won :







48 Cradle Songs.



Prize them as rich odours, meet

For Love to lavish on His Sacred Feet ;



Prize them as sparkles bright

Of heavenly dew, from yon o'erflowing well of light.







Cradle Songs. 49







1).







CHILDREN WITH DUMB CREATURES.



" The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned

child shall put his hand on the cockatrice" den."



THOU mak'st me jealous, Infant dear ;



Why wilt thou waste thy precious smiles,

Thy beckonings blithe, and j oyous wiles,

On bird or insect gliding near ?



Why court the deaf and blind ?

What is this wondrous sympathy,

That draws thee so, heart, ear, and eye,

Towards the inferior kind ?



We tempt thee much to look and sing,

Thy mimic notes are rather drawn

From feathered playmates on the lawn.



The quivering moth or bee's soft wing,

E







50 Cradle Songs.



Brushing the window pane,

Will reach thee in thy dreamy trance,

When nurses' skill for one bright glance



Hath toil'd an hour in vain.



And as thou hold'st the creatures dear,

So are they fain on thee to wait.

Blood-hounds at thy caress abate

Their bayings wild ; yea without fear



Thou dalliest in the lair

Of watch-dog stern ; thy mother's eye

Shrinks not to see thee slumbering lie

Beneath his duteous care.



The war-horse treads full soft, they say,

If in his path a babe he see.

The tiger's whelp, encaged with thee,

Would sheathe his claws, to sport and play.



Bees have for thee no sting :

They love thy trusting heart too well,

That mightier guard than fairy spell

Of old, or magic ring.







Children with Dumb Creatures. 51



Oh, who the secret powers hath traced,

That in such league mysterious bind

The gentlest with the fiercest kind,

The sheepfold with the howling waste ?



Is it, that each and all

The living sympathize with life ?

That sudden movements, though in strife,

The entranced thought recall ?



He whom the burning East hath bred,

Wizard or sage, in day-dreams wild.

Might say, " Dim memories haunt the child,

Of lives in other beings led,



Other, and yet the same.

Nor less an instinct true, though blind,

Dwells in the soul of meaner kind,

Spark of past hope or shame."



Nay, call it recollection deep



Of Eden bowers, high purity



Beaming around from brow or eye

Of infants, waking or asleep :







52 Cradle Songs.



As in old time, we read,

The royal lion bending low

Did Una's virgin-glory know,



Her guardian prove in need.



Of homage paid in Paradise



To Adam, guileless then and pure,

The broken dream may yet endure

Within them visions vague arise



Of a Superior Power,

Discern'd by form erect, and mien

Commanding, and calm purpose, seen

In eyes that smile or lower.



Thus tender babes and beasts of prey

May silently each other mind



Of the old League : " Let man be kind

And true, so all must him obey."



Thus giants of the wood,

Wild elephant or mountain bull,

Beneath some quiet stripling's rule

Stand quailing and subdued.







Children with Dumb Creatures. 53



Who knows but here, in mercy lent,

A gleam preventing heaven we see,

A token of Love's victory

In a sweet awful Sacrament ?



Hearts fallen and sin-born,

Oh, why are ye so fondly stirr'd ?

For bounding lamb or lonely bird

Why should ye joy or mourn ?



Ah, you have been in JESUS' arms,

The holy Fount hath you imbued

With His all-healing kindly Blood,

And somewhat of His pastoral charms,



And care for His lost sheep,

Ye there have learn'd : in order'd tones

Gently to soothe the lesser ones,

And watch their noon-day sleep.



Lo, far and wide the Love o'erflows,

The Love that to your souls He gave

In the regenerating wave ;



Both man and beast His mercy knows :







54 Cradle Songs.



Nor from His pattern swerve

His children, tending lamb or dove :

But aye the choice of all your love



Ye for His Least reserve.



To point the way where they should go,

By word and gesture, o'er and o'er,

Teach them untir'd, all courteous lore,

Hear their first prayers, so meek and low



These are your arts : by these

Ye in the fold your task fulfil,

And the Good Shepherd on the hill

From far approving sees.







Cradle Songs, 55



10.

LIFTING UP TO THE CROSS.



" But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able

to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism

that I am baptized with ? They say unto him, We are able."



OFT have I read of sunny realms, where skies are pure



at even,

And sight goes deep in lucid air, and earth seems



nearer Heaven,

And wheresoe'er you lift your eyes, the holy Cross,



they say,

Stands guardian of your journey, by lone or crowded



way ;

And I have mused how awfully its shadows and its



gleams

Might haply fall on infants' eyes, and mingle with



their dreams,

And draw them up by silent power of its o'er-shading



arm,

And deepen on the tender brow Christ's seal and



saintly charm.







56 Cradle Songs.



Oft have I read, and dream'd, and now behold a token

true !



A maiden from a distant isle, where Faith is fresh of

hue,



Where Memory tarries, to reprove our cold irreverent

age,



In churches set like stars around some saintly her

mitage ;



Where old Devotion lingers beside the granite Cross,

And pilgrims seek the healing well, far over moor and



moss,



A noble-hearted maiden, from a believing shore,

Is by, to see Christ's little ones Him crucified



adore.



Upon a verdant hillock the sacred sign appears, s



A damsel on no trembling arm an eager babe up-



rears,

With a sister's yearning love, and an elder sister's



pride,

She lifts the new-baptized, to greet the Friend who for



him died.*



* A traveller from Ireland witnessed this scene on the Continent, and

described it to the Author.







Lifting up to the Cross. 57



Who may the maiden's thought divine, performing



thus in sight



Of all the heavenly Watchers her pure unbidden rite ?

While fearless to those awful Lips her treasure she



would raise,

I see her features shrink, as though she fain would



downward gaze.



Perchance a breath of self-reproach is fluttering round



her heart :

" Thou, darling, in our Saviour mayst for certain



claim thy part :

The dews baptismal bright and keen are glistening on



thy brow,

He cannot choose but own thee, in His arms received



e'en now.

But much I've sinn'd and little wept : will He not say,



* Begone ?'

I dare not meet His searching eye ; my penance is



undone.

But thou and thy good Angel, who nerves mine arm to



bear

And lift thee up so near Him, will strive for me in



prayer."







58 Cradle Songs.



Or chanced the Thorny Crown her first upseeking



glance to win,

And the deep lines of agony traced by the whole



world's sin ?

Oh, deeply in her bosom went the thought, " Who



draw so nigh

Unto those awful Lips, and share the Lord's departing



sigh,

Who knoweth what mysterious pledge upon their souls



is bound,

To copy in their own hearts' blood each keen and



bitter Wound ?



If of the dying JESUS we the Kiss of Peace receive,

How but in daily dying thenceforward dare we live ?



" And was it meet, thou tender flower, on thy young



life to lay

Such burdens, pledging thee to vows thou never canst



unsay ?

What if the martyr's fire some day thy dainty limbs



devour ?

What if beneath the scourge they writhe, or in dull



famine cower ?







Lifting up to the Cross. 59



What if thou bear the cross within, all aching and



decay ?

And 'twas I that laid it on thee : what if thou fall



away ?"

Such is Love's deep misgiving, when, stronger far



than Faith,

She brings her earthly darlings to the Cross for life or



death.







O, be Thou present in that hour, high Comforter, to



lead

Her memory to th' eternal Law, by the great King



decreed,

What time the highly favoured one who on His bosom



lay,

And He who of the chosen twelve first trode the



martyrs' way,

Taught by their mother, crav'd the boon next to Thy



throne to be,

For her dreams were of the Glory, but the Cross she



could not see.







60 Cradle Songs.



O well for that fond mother, well for her belov'd, that



they,

When th' hour His secret meaning told, did by their



promise stay.







" Thy baptism and Thy cup be ours : for both our



hearts are strong."

Learn it, ye babes, at matin prime, repeat it all day



long.



Even as the mother's morning kiss is token of delight

Through all the merry hours of day, and at fall of



dewy night

Her evening kiss shall to her babe the softest slumbers







So Thy first greeting life imparts, Thy last shall cheer



and heal.

Then, maiden, trust thy nursling here ; thou wilt not



choose amiss

For his sweet soul ; here let him dwell ; here is the



gate of bliss.







Lifting up to the Cross. 61



Three Saints of old their lips upon the Incarnate



Saviour laid,

And each with death or agony for the high rapture



paid.

His Mother's holy kisses of the coming sword gave



sign,

And Simeon's hymn full closely did with his last



breath entwine ;

And Magdalen's first tearful touch prepared her but



to greet

With homage of a broken heart his pierced and lifeless



feet.

Then courage, duteous maiden ; the nails and bleeding



brows,

The pale and dying lips, are the portion of the Spouse.







62 Cradle Songs.







11.

SICKNESS IN THE CRADLE.



" A CHRISTIAN child in pain !



O sad amazing thought !

A babe elect and born again,



With blood of JESUS bought,

That never yet knew dream of sin,

Nor throb of pride, nor will unclean ;

Yet faint with fever see him lie,

Or in strong grasp of sinners' agony !"



O, mother fond and wild,



Stay the complaining word !

What wouldst thou have ? Thy suifering child



Is as his Saviour Lord.

Or ever eight brief days have flown,

He, the unstain'd, must make His moan,

Must taste the sacrificial knife,

Must to the Cross devote the tender life.







Sickness in the Cradle. 63



Behold, the Virgin blest



Calls on her Babe to wake

From His sweet slumber on her breast ;



How should her heart not ache ?

From her pure bosom, where all night

He softly slept, that Maiden bright

Resigns her Well-beloved at morn

To shed His blood ; for therefore was He born.



Pierc'd is her heart, yet still :



For why ? that Mother's love

Is one with His Almighty will,



Chang'd by the o'ershadowing Dove.

O freely then your treasures yield,

With the dread Cross so lately seal'd,

Yield to the chastenings of th' Unseen,

The Saviour's Presence-tokens, sweet as keen.







64 Cradle Songs.







12.







ANTICIPATION AND RETROSPECTION.







" And ye now therefore have sorrow ; but I will see you again, and your

heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."







A FRAGMENT of a rainbow bright

Through the moist air I see,



All dark and damp on yonder height,

All clear and gay to me.



An hour ago the storm was here,

The gleam was far behind.



So will our joys and griefs appear

When earth has ceased to blind.



Grief will be joy, if on its edge

Fall soft that holiest ray ;



Joy will be grief, if no faint pledge

Be there of heavenly day.







Anticipation and Retrospection. 65



Christ's Passion eve fell dark and drear



Upon His faithful few,

But brighter, each returning year,



In memory gleam'd anew.



And loud the chant of hope and glee



O'er Adam's eldest born,

But, hapless mother, who like thee



Her travail pangs might mourn ?







66 Cradle Songs.







13.







JUDAS'S INFANCY.







" The Son of man goeth as it is written of him : but woe unto that man

by whom the Son of man is betrayed ! it had been good for that man if he

had not been born."







ALAS ! that e'er the pangs of birth,

The consecrated throes, whereby

Eden revives, should breed on earth

Untemper'd agony !



Yet sure as frail repenting Eve



For pardon knelt of yore, and now

Adoring kneels, there to receive,

Where all the world shall bow,



From fruit of her own favour'd womb,



The peace, the home, her wandering lost

Sure as to blessed Mary come



The Saints' and Martyrs' host,







Judas 's Infancy. (57



To own, with many a thankful strain,



The channel of undying bliss,

The bosom where the Lord hath laid,

The hand that held by His ;



Sure as her form for evermore



The glory and the joy shall wear,

That rob'd her, bending to adore



The Babe her chaste womb bare ;



So surely throes unblest have been,

And cradles where no kindly star

Look'd down no Angel's eye serene,

To gleam through years afar.



Did not our Lord speak out His ban,



The Christ for His betrayer mourn ?

" Alas ! good were it for that man

If he had ne'er been born."



Nor may we doubt, His Mother mild

Upon that bosom pitying thought,

Where Judas lay, a harmless Child,

By gold as yet unbought.







68 Cradle Songs.



But Time, as holy sages sing,



When earth and sin have waxed old,

A direr progeny will bring,

The last foe of the fold.



Of mortal seed, of woman bred,



The Antichrist, they write, will be,

From a soft bosom duly fed,

Rock'd on a loving knee.



High grace at first to Judas came



Who knows but he, the Man of Sin,

In the baptismal wave and flame

May his dread course begin ?



O ye who wait with hearts too light



By Font or cradle, fear in time !

O let not all your dreams be bright,

Here in Earth's wayward clime !



From the foul dew, the blighting air,



Watch well your treasure newly won.

Heaven's child and yours, uncharm'd by prayer,

May prove Perdition's son.







Cradle Songs. C9







14.

THE SAINTS' INFANCY.



" And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his

face as it had been the face of an Angel."



WHERE is the brow to bear in mortals' sight

The Crown of pure angelic Light ?

And where the favoured eye



Through the dim air the radiance to descry ?

An infant on its mother smiling,

Wash'd from the world and sin's defiling,

And to Faith's arm restored, while yet

With the blest dew its cheeks are wet.



There Christ hath sworn seraphic Light shall be,

There eyes, the Light to see.



He who vouchsafed to kindle that pure glow

Will feed it day and night, we know,



By duteous fear of sin

Fann'd into flame the virgin heart within,







70 Cradle Songs.



Till once again at Angels' warning

Heaven-gates shall part as clouds of morning,

And the confirming Spirit pour

His glory where young hearts adore :

There is Heaven's Light ; there, if true Pastors be,

Are eyes, the Light to see.



And what if there some favoured one should kneel,

Whom in His time the Lord will seal,

High in the Mount to draw



Light uncorrupt from His pure fontal Law,

Then 'mid his brethren bear unknowing

The lustre keen within him glowing,

But veil it, when he feels their gaze,

As Moses veil'd the Sinai rays ?



Blest, who so shines : and blest the thoughtful few,

Who see that brightness true.



Wouldst thou the tide of grace should higher flow,

The angelic ray more glorious show ?



Wait for His trial hour,

His willing Saints in His dread day of Power.







The Saints' Infancy. 71



Ever as earth's wild war-cries heighten,

The Cross upon the brow will brighten,

Till on the very scorner's gaze

Break forth the Heaven-reflecting rays,

Strange awful charms the unwilling eye compel

On the Saints' Light to dwell.



Yes strive, thou world, in thy rash tyrant-mood,

To slake that burning Cross in blood :

It will but brighter burn,



As martyrs' eyes near and more near discern

Where on the Father's right hand beaming,

Light upon Light in glory streaming,

The Saviour, felt, not seen, in life,

Deigns to be seen in that last strife,



And Angels hail, approaching to the shore,

Rays like their own, and more.



Who knows but maiden mild or smiling boy,

Our own entrusted care and joy,



By His electing grace

May with His martyrs find their glorious place ?







72 Cradle Songs.



O hope, for prayer too bold and thrilling,

O bliss, to aid its high fulfilling !

O woe and wrong, O tenfold shame,

To mar or damp the angelic flame !

To draw His soldiers backward from the Cross !

Woe and eternal loss !







Cradle Songs. 73



15.

THE CRADLE GUARDED.



" Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and

gather his wheat into the garner ; but he will burn up the chaff with un

quenchable fire."



" As therefore the tares are gathered, and burned in fire, so shall it

be in the end of this world."



THE Lord, th' All-gracious, hides not all His Ire :

Through the dim chinks of this decaying earth



Gleams ever and anon th' unwasted fire,



Startling rude eyes, and shaming lawless mirth.



Even in the joy of Harvest, see, His Brand

Over the chaff is kindling ; sheaves for food



And tares for fire, He binds in equal band.

At vintage time His robes are rolled in blood.



His Angels and His Saints cry out, How long ?



His Little ones, full keenly are they bent

To right the fallen and redress the wrong,



Full eagerly to justice run unsent.







74 Cradle Songs.



These are Thy tokens, all-redeeming Lord ;



Where, but of Thee, learn'd we aright to name

The last dire prison ? Thine the dismal word,



Thine the undying worm, th' unquenched flame.



Therefore Thy duteous Spouse, our Mother dear,

Tuning her love-notes to the Father's voice,



Is fain to breathe grave warnings in deep fear,

And say to Sin, Hell is thine hopeless choice !



The strain Love taught her, she in love repeats ;



Call it not hard, if in each holiest hour,

When with unwonted joy her King she greets,



With His own threatenings she would fence His

bower.



Call it not stern, though to her Babes she shew

The smoke aye glaring o'er th' abode of ill ;



Though guileless hearts, even in their vernal glow,

Hear now and then her thunders, and are still.



Might the calm smile, that on the infant's brow

So brightly beams, all its deep meaning tell,



Would it not say, " For Love's sweet sake allow

Fear's chastening Angel here with me to dwell ?







The Cradle guarded. 75



Was not the purchase of my quiet bliss

A life -long anguish and a Cross of woe ?



! much I fear the mountain-path to miss,

If from my sight I lose the gulph below."



Such lesson learn we by the cradle's side,

Nor other teach dark hills and valleys deep :



Where rude rocks fiercest frown, and waters chide,

'Tis but to guard the green mead's lowly sleep.



There is a peak the raven loves it well,

And all the mists of neighbouring ocean love,



Which if you climb, what seem'd a pinnacle



Proves as a wide sea-beach where cormorants rove.



Rocks showered at random, as by giant hands,

Strew the rude terrace : heedful be his eye,



And firm his step, who on the dark edge stands

Beneath the cloud, and downward dares espy.



" What seest thou there ?" A thousand feet below,

And further on, far as the mists that sweep



Around me suffer, dimly trac'd in snow,

Pale forms I see, reclining on the steep.







76 Cradle Songs.



Each in his drear ravine, where never ray



Even from the cold north-east in June might fall,



They sleep in silence till th' appointed Day,



Nor heed the eagle's scream, the whirlwind's call.



The wastes of vapour, veering round, now hide

And now reveal the watchers dark and vast,



Which by each awful resting-place abide,



Grim towering crags : who there his eye shall cast,



With aught of sin's sad burthen on his soul,

Feels he not like a powerless child forlorn,



Over a gulf where flaming billows roll



By a strong outstretch'd Arm as yet upborne ?



O surely then to his heart's deep is brought

The prayer, the vow, there evermore to cling,



And sickening turn from the wild haunting thought,

"What if at once o'er the dread verge I spring ?"



Retiring, sure he to a warning Voice



Will time his footsteps, on a true Arm lean :



What happy vale soe'er may crown his choice,

That awful gulf, those rocks will be its screen.







The Cradle guarded. 77



Lo, nestling at the mountain's further base,

And guarded by its terrors, a soft glen :



Its waters run a golden gladsome race,



Its windings hide meet homes for pastoral men.



Lord, if in such calm bowers a rest Thou give,

We pray Thee, crown thy gift with Fear, that we



May in the shadow of thy judgments live,

The wrath o'ertake us on our bended knee.







78







i.



TRUSTWORTHINESS.



" The child JESUS tarried behind in Jerusalem.



THE cares, the loves of parents fond

Go deep, all loves, all cares beyond.

Fain would they read the good and ill

That nestles in our silent will,



And night and day



They wish and pray

That only good may there find way.



But deeper lurk all breasts within

The secrets both of grace and sin.

Each has his world of thought alone,

To one dread Watcher only known.



And far and wide



On every side

Our dreams dart on no earthly guide.







Trustworthiness. 79



Glad may they be and calm of heart,

Who, when their child so walks apart,

Seek him and find where Angels come

On JESUS' work, in JESUS' Home :



Who, out of sight,



Know all is right,

One law for darkness and for light.



If in pure aims and deeds and prayers

His path mount high, and far from theirs,

If seeking him 'mid friends below

They find him not, what joy to know



He hath but turn'd



Where JESUS yearn'd

To be ; where heavenly Love is learn'd !



Thou who didst teach Thy Mother dear,

In three dim days of doubt and fear,

By timely training to foreknow

Thy Passion and its three days' woe,



Prepare Thou still



Our heart and will,

Our friends' and ours, for good and ill.







80 Early Encouragements.



2.

SAMUEL'S PRAYER.



WITH joy the guardian Angel sees

A duteous child upon his knees,

And writes in his approving book

Each upward, earnest, holy look.



Light from his pure aerial dream

He springs to meet morn's orient beam,

And pours towards the kindling skies

His clear adoring melodies.



Some glorious Seraph, waiting by,

Receives the prayer to waft on high,

And wonders, as he soars, to read

More than we know, and all we need.



More than we know, and all we need,

Is in young children's prayer and creed.

They, for their Home, before Him fall,

He, for His Church, receives their call.







Samuel's Prayer. 81



They cry with simple voice and clear,

" Bless Father, Mother, Brethren dear :"

He for the Priests of His dread Son

Accounts the blessing ask'd and won.



For holy Priests and Matrons mild,

For penitents and undefiled,

For dying Saints, for babes new-born,

He takes their offering, eve and morn.



He gives the frail and feeble tongue

A doom to speak on sin and wrong ;

Unconscious they stern lightnings aim,

When His ten Precepts they proclaim.



Thus in the Tabernacle shade

At morn and eve young Samuel pray'd,

Nor knew his prayer God's ark should win,

Forfeit by priest's and people's sin.



To Eli thus dread words he spake :

Ye hearts profane, with penance ache ;

A wondrous peal o'er Israel rung,

Heaven's thunder from a child's meek tongue.







82 Early Encouragements.



3.

PRAYER AT HOME AND IN CHURCH.



" These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,

with the women, and Mary the Mother of JESUS, and with his brethren."



WHERE are the homes of Paschal Mirth,

The bowers where heavenly Joy may rest her wings



on earth,



And at her leisure gaze adoring

Where out of sight the golden clouds are soaring

Beneath the ascending Saviour's Feet ?

Where may rejoicing Love retreat

To frame a melody for His returning meet ?



Two homes we know of Love's resort,

One in the upper room, one in the Temple court ;



In glorious Sion both, possessing

Alike her presence, whom the awful blessing

Lifted above all Adam's race :

The royal Twelve are there in place ;

Women and duteous friends, awaiting His high

grace.







Prayer at Home and in Church. 83



Two Homes for us His Love hath found,

One by our quiet couch and one in holy ground.

There in due season meekly kneeling



Learn we our lesson ere His last revealing.

The Mother of our Lord is there,

And Saints are breathing hallow'd air,



Living and dead, to waft on high our feeble prayer.



And with His Mother and His Saints

He watches by, who loves the prayer that never faints.



Avaunt, ill thoughts and thoughts of folly !

Where christen'd infants sport, that floor is holy :

Holier the station where they bow,

Adoring Him with daily vow,



Till He with ampler grace their youthful hearts

endow.







84 Early Encouragements.



4.

SELF-EXAMINATION.



" And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt them have

me to do ? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it

shall be told thee what thou must do."



" WHAT wouldst thou have me do, O Lord ?"



Darkling he spoke and lowly laid,

With all his heart he spake the word,



The awful Voice mild answer made :

" Go, seek one out who thee may bring

Where healing, holy waters spring,

Then will I show thee speedily

What burthen thou must bear for Me."



" What wouldst thou have me do, O Lord ?"



Each morn and eve we seem to say,

And He gives back no doubtful word :



" Remember, little child, all day,

Thine early vows, the hallow'd wave

Where JESUS first His blessing gave :

There stoop, there cleanse thee every hour :

Christ's Laver hath refreshing power."







Self -Examination. 85



" What wouldst Thou have me do, O Lord ?"



Rise, little child, and onward go,

Where Saints are met with one accord



The praises of high God to show.

In meekness learn their prayer and song,

Do as they do, and thou ere long

Shalt see the wonders they behold

In heavenly books and creeds of old.



" What wouldst Thou have me do, O Lord ?"

So whispering, Saul with prostrate brow



The persecuted One adored,



So breathed his earliest Christian vow.



Stern the reply : to fast alone,



And in the darkness make his moan.



Thrice set and rose the weary day,



Ere with the Christians he might pray.



" What wouldst Thou have me do, O Lord ?"

Think, little child ; thy conscience try,



Rebellious deed and idle word,



And selfish thought and envious eye :







86 Early Encouragements.



Hast thou no mark of these ? and yet

Full in thy sight His Law was set.

O, if He joy'd the Cross to bear,

With patience take thy little share.







Early Encouragements. 87







5.







CONFESSION.



" And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in

the cool of the day : and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the

presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden."



DIDST thou not hear how soft the day-wind sighed,

How from afar that sweeping breath it drew,



Waved the light rustling branches far and wide,

Then died away, then rose and moaned anew ?



Sure if aright our morning prayers were said,

We in those tones the Almighty's unseen walk



Shall hear, nor vainly shun the Presence dread,

"Which comes in mercy with our souls to talk.



" W^here art thou, child of earth ?" He seems to say,

" Why hide so deep from Love's all-seeing eye ?"



" I heard and feared, for I have sinned to-day."

" What ? know'st thou not the Almighty One was by ?







88 Early Encouragements.



" Think'st thou to lurk in yonder wavering boughs,

Where even these earthly sunbeams glide and steal ?



Nay, speed thee forth while yet high grace allows,

Lay bare thy wounds to Him who waits to heal.



" They only rankle in th' unwholesome shade ;



But sun and air have soothing power, and He

Yearns to forgive, when hearts are lowly laid.



Even now behold His robe prepared for thee.



" These fluttering leaves the more unveil thy shame.



Fall humbly down, and hide thine eyes in dust :

He will upraise thee, for His own great Name ;



His penance garb will make and show thee just."







Early Encouragements. 89







6.



TELL THY MOTHER.



Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.



WEARY soul and burthened sore,



Labouring with thy secret load,

Fear not all thy grief to pour



In this heart, true Love's abode.



Think not all is hidden quite :



Mothers' ears are keen to hear,

Mothers' eyes are quick as light,



Glancing wide and watching near.



I with boding anguish read



Half your tale ere ye begin :

Bitter drops in heart I bleed,



Penance for your shame and sin.







90 Early Encouragements,



Grudge not thou thine eyes to hide

On this breast that aches for thee :



Patient, kneeling, here abide

Till th* absolving Voice is free.



I from thy baptismal hour



Yearn for thee, hard heart and dry

Seek my penitential bower,



In the dust beside me lie.







Early Encouragements. 91







ABSOLUTION.



" Whose sins ye forgive, they are forgiven."



LIVE ever in my heart, sweet awful hour,

When prostrate in my sin and shame I lay,



And heard the absolving accents fall with power,

As soft, as keen, as lambent lightnings play.



And sure with lightning glance they seem'd to thrill,

(O may the dream prove true !) and search and

burn



Each foul dark corner of my lawless will.



What if the Spirit griev'd did then return ?



O fear, O joy to think ! and what if yet,



In some far moment of eternity,

The lore of evil I may quite forget,



And with the pure in heart my portion be ?



Live in my heart, dread blissful hope, to tame

The haughty brow, to curb the unchastened eye,



And shape to deeds of good each wavering aim ;

O teach me some true penance ere I die !







92 Early Encouragements.







8.







HOURS OF PRAYER.



" Evening, and morning, and at noonday will I pray."



DOWN, slothful heart ! how darest thou say,

" Call not so oft to pray ?"



Behold, the Lord's own bounteous showers

Keep their appointed hours.



The forenoon saw the Spirit first



On orphan'd Saints in glory burst ;



At noontide hour Saint Peter saw

The sheet let down, heavenward all earth to draw ;

At eventide, when good Cornelius kneel'd

Upon his fasting day, an Angel shone revealed.



Untired is He in mercy's task,



Then tire not thou to ask.

He says not, " Yesterday I gave,

Wilt thou for ever crave ?"







Hours of Prayer. 93



He every moment waits to give,



Watch thou unwearied to receive.



Thine Hours of Prayer, upon the Cross

To Him were hours of woe and shame and loss ;

Scourging at morn ; at noon, pierced hands and feet ;

At eve, fierce pains of death, for thee He counted

sweet.



The blue sky o'er the green earth bends,



All night the dew descends :

The green earth to the blue heaven's ray



Its bosom spreads all day.

Earth answers heaven : the holy race

Should answer His unfailing grace.

Then smile, low world, in spite or scorn,

"We to our God will kneel ere prime of morn ;

The third, the sixth, the ninth each Passion hour,

We with high praise will keep, as He with gifts of

power.







94 Early Encouragements.



9.

REPEATING THE CREED.



" Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world : and this is the

victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."



MANY the banners bright and fair,



Uplifted in the gleaming sky,

When Faith would show this lower air



The token of her victory.



The heaven-enlightened eye and mind,



By meek confession purified,

Gazes on high, nor fails to find



Which way the signs celestial guide.



One bodies forth a Virgin Form,



Holding aloft a Cross of might,

And watching, how through cloud and storm



Its head is lost in deepening light.



Another dreams, by night and day,



Of a calm Prophet's face, intent

To hear what God the Lord shall say,



Ere the dread tones be gone and spent.







Repeating the Creed. 95



An Eagle from the deep of space



Is hovering near, and hastes to bring



(Meetest the unearthly tale to trace,)

A plume of his mysterious wing.



A golden Chalice standing by,

What mantles there is life or death ;



A Dragon to the unpurged eye,



A Serpent from the Cross, to Faith.



O visions dread and bright, I feel



You are too high for me, I seek

A lowlier impress for my seal,



More of this earth, though pure and meek.



Give me a tender spotless child,



Rehearsing or at eve or morn

His chant of glory undefiled,



The Creed that with the Church was born.



Down be his earnest forehead cast,

His slender fingers joined for prayer,



With half a frown his eye sealed fast

Against the world's intruding glare.







96 Early Encouragements.



Who, while his lips so gently move,

And all his look is purpose strong,



Can say what wonders, wrought above,

Upon his unstained fancy throng ?



The world new -framed, the Christ new-born,

The Mother-Maid, the cross and grave,



The rising sun on Easter morn,



The fiery tongues sent down to save,



The gathering Church, the Fount of Life,

The saints and mourners kneeling round,



The Day to end the body's strife,



The Saviour in His people crowned,



All in majestic march and even

To the veil'd eye by turns appear,



True to their time as stars in heaven,

No morning dream so still and clear.



And this is Faith, and thus she wins

Her victory, day by day rehearsed.



Seal but thine eye to pleasant sins,

Love's glorious world will on thee burst.







Early Encouragements. 97



l(b



LESSONS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS.



(For St. Luke's Day.)



MOTHER of Christ's children dear,

Teacher true of loving Fear,

Kind Physician, wakeful Nurse,

Wont with many a potent verse

By our cradles watch to keep,

Singing new born Saints to sleep ;

Be thy tenderest breath to-day

Breathed on all we sing or say.

For to-day that Saint we own,

Who to JESUS' cradle-throne

Led us first, with shepherds mild,

With that Mother undented,

There to adore the wondrous Child.



Spouse of Christ, so pure and bright,

Skill'd, by His unearthly light,

In our coarse dim air to trace

Lines and hues from yon high place,







98 Early Encouragements.



Gathering tones from earth and sky

For His perfect harmony :

As to-day thou gnid'st our thought

Where that holy Painter wrought,

Who with pen and pencil true

Christ's own awful Mother drew ;

Be thy prayer untired and strong,

That when eager fancies throng,

Pure may be our dream and song.



Watcher of the eternal ways,

Trusted with the Saints' high praise,

Oft as o'er our childish trance

History bids her visions glance,

Wonders wild in airy measures,

Records grave from Memory's treasures,-

Guide thou well the heart-winning line,

May our love and hate be thine.

He whose tongue of JESUS told

On His Cross and in His Fold,

Third of the mysterious Four,

Learn we all his sacred lore,

Listening at the Kingdom's door.







Early Encouragements. 99







11.







UNWEARIED LOVE.



" JESUS saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times ; but,

Until seventy times seven."



MY child, the counsels high attend



Of thine Eternal Friend.

When longings pure, when holy prayers,

When self-denying thoughts and cares



Room in thine heart would win,

Stay not too long to count them o'er ;

Rise in His Name ; throw wide the door,



Let the good Angels in :



Nor listen, should the Tempter say,



" How wearying, day by day,

To say the prayer we said before,

The mountain path climb o'er and o'er,







100 Early Encouragements.



No end to warfare find !"

Nor seek thou, limit to discern

In patient woe, in duty stern,



But learn thy Mother's mind.



She will not tire on thee to wait



In early hour or late :

To-morrow even as yesterday,

Still onward, onward in Love's way



To speed, her only dream.

So many love-deeds done, to cease

Her kindly toil, and rest in peace,



Small joy to her would seem.



And He, the Fountain of her Love,-



His treasure-house above

Is open, day and night, with store

Of healing for our daily sore,



With grace to mourners given,

O'er -powering, by the tide of tears,

All that from old abhorred years

Remains of wasting leaven.







Unwearied Love.



He pardoning wearies not. Ah why



Behold with evil eye

Thy brother asking grace for sin ?

He doth but aid thee, more to win



Of hope in thy last end.

In heart forgive that pays Him all :

But grudging souls must die in thrall,



No Saviour and no Friend.







102







5F* iffiarlg SKKartttngs*



i.



EFFECT OF EXAMPLE.



" For I have five brethren ; that he may testify unto them, lest they

also come into this place of torment."



FIVE loving souls, each one as mine,

And each for evermore to be !

Each deed of each to thrill



For good or ill

Along thine awful line,

Eternity !



Who for such burthen may suffice ?

Who bear to think, how scornful tone,

Or word or glance too bold,



Or ill dream told,

May bar from Paradise

Our Master's own ?







Early Warnings.



We scatter seeds with careless hand,



And dream we ne'er shall see them more :

But for a thousand years



Their fruit appears,

In weeds that mar the land,

Or healthful store.



The deeds we do, the words we say,

Into still air they seem to fleet,

"We count them ever past ;



But they shall last,

In the dread judgment they

And we shall meet !



I charge thee by the years gone by,

For the love's sake of brethren dear,

Keep thou the one true way



In work and play,

Lest in that world their cry

Of woe thou hear !







104 Early Warnings.







2.







DANGER OF PRAISE.



" And he confessed, and denied not ; but confessed, I am not the Christ.



WHEN mortals praise thee, hide thine eyes,



Nor in thy Master's wrong

Take to thyself His crown and prize ;



Yet more in heart than tongue.



None holier than the Desert Priest



Beneath the Law's dim sky,

Yet in Heaven's kingdom with the least,



We read, he might not vie.



No member, yet, of Christ the Son,



No gospel Prophet he ;

Only a voice from out the Throne



Of dread yet blest decree.



If he confessed, nor dared deny, ,



Woe to that Christian's heart,

Who in man's praise would walk on high,



And steal his Saviour's part !







Danger of Praise. 105







And ah ! to him what tenfold woe,



Who hides so well his sin,

Through earth he seems a saint to go,



Yet dies impure within !



Pray we our Lord, one pang to send



Of deep remorseful fear

For every smile of partial friend.



Praise be our Penance here !







106 Early Warnings.







3.







ENVY.



" If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted ? and if thou doest not

well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou

shalt rule over him."



" WHAT is this cloud upon thy brow ?"

" The Lord accepts my brother's vow,



But turns no ear to mine.

High in the liquid heaven behold

His altar-flames in many an airy fold,

But where I kneel, the Almighty makes no sign."



" Yes : welcome to the pure bright air,



And dear to Angels, is his prayer,

For the sweet fragrance' sake



Of loving deeds : bring thou the same,

Thine altar too shall feel the gracious flame :

Haste, ere the monster at thy door awake.







Envy. 107



Beside thine hearth, thine home within,



Lies couched and still a deadly sin,

O chain it while 'tis time.



Learn on thy brother's joy to gaze

With thankful eye ; and heaven's high counsel praise,

That crowned him with the forfeit of thy crime.



Thy forehead yet awhile must bear



His wrathful mark ; but alms and prayer,



And penance true and stern,

May wear it out : thine evil eye

May melt in dews of holy charity,

Thy sullen tones to meek confessions turn.







108 Early Warnings.



4.

MISTRUST OF ELDERS.



" JESUS saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, them hast

believed : blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."



WHEN holy books, when loving friends,



When parents grave and kind

Tell of the peace the Almighty sends



On the pure heart and mind,



When they, on whom our souls should lean,



The wondrous joy declare,

How to God's Altar they have been



And found their Saviour there,



Alas ! too often, worldly wise,



We scorn what they reveal,

We will not see with others' eyes,



Ourselves would touch and feel.



Thus many a precious day, month, year,



The blessing we delay :

It comes at last with saddened cheer,



He justly dims His ray.







Mistrust of Elders. 109



Seven days, we read, a Saint of old



Dreamed on in doubt alone :

Seven days of hope and joy untold



For evermore were gone.



And when at last the all-gracious Lord



Vouchsafed the awful sign,

Made answer to his secret word,



And showed the Wounds divine,



Even with that light of love there came



A soft yet warning cloud,

A shade of pity more than blame :



" Behold thy prayer allowed.



My glorious Wouno> I show to thee,



Even here in earth's dull light ;

But happier they, who wait to see,



Till heaven has purged their sight."



Alas, that man his breath should lose



In wayward, doubting race,

Nor his still home in shelter choose



Where Thou hast set his place !







110 Early Warnings.



5.



FINE CLOTHES.



" And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way ; others

cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way."



( For Palm Sunday.)



LOOK westward, pensive little one,

How the bright hues together run,

Around where late the waning sun



Sank in his evening cloud.

Or eastward turn thee, and admire

How linger yet the showers of fire,

Deep in each fold, high on each spire



Of yonder mountain proud.



Thou seest it not : an envious screen,

A fluttering leaflet, hangs between

Thee and that fair mysterious scene,



A veil too near thine eye.

One finger's breadth at hand will mar

A world of light in Heaven afar,

A mote eclipse a glorious star,



An eyelid hide the sky.







Fine Clothes. Ill



And while to clear the view we stay,

Lo ! the bright hour hath pass'd away ;

A twilight haze, all dim and grey,



Hath quench'd the living gleam.

Remember this, thou little child,

In hours of Prayer, when fancies wild

Betwixt thee and thy Saviour mild



Come floating on life's stream.



shame, O grief, when earth's rude toys,

An opening door, a breath, a noise,

Drive from the heart th' eternal joys,



Displace the Lord of Love !

For half a prayer perchance on high

We soar, and heaven seems bright and nigh,

But ah ! too soon frail heart and eye



Sink down and earthward rove.



The Sunday garment glittering gay

The Sunday heart will steal away.

Then haste thee, ere the fond glance stray,

Thy precious robes unfold,







112 Early Warnings.



And cast before thy Saviour's feet :

Him spare not with thy best to greet,

Nor dread the dust of Sion's street,

'Tis jewels all and gold.



His very shrines, this week of woe,

Will doff their rich attire, and show

As mourners ; fear we then to go



In glad and festal guise.

Yea, when the funeral days are o'er,

And altars shine in gold once more,

I bid thee lavish all thy store



In fearless sacrifice.



The gorgeous hues by sinners worn,

Our pride and our good Angel's scorn,-

His pavement let them now adorn,



Or with His daylight blend.

His palace court hath order blest,

When from His Throne of earthly rest

In glory beams th' immortal Guest,



We to the dust descend.







Early Warnings. 113







6.



IRREVERENCE IN CHURCH.



" The Lord is in His holy Temple : let all the earth keep silence

before Him."



O GRIEF for Angels to behold



Within Christ's awful home !

A child regenerate here of old,

And here for lowliest adoration come,



Forgetting love and fear,



And with bold eye and tone bringing the rude world

here!



Where is the Cross upon thy brow,



Seal of His Love and Might,

Whose life-blood earn'd thee power, thy vow

To keep, and serve Him in His courts aright ?



Even in His week of grace,



Thou know'st, His ire brake out for His own holy

place.







114 Early Warnings.



Thrice in those seven dread days, we read,



He to His Temple came,

If haply from the wrath decreed

He might redeem th' abode of His great Name ;



With silent warning Eye,



With scourge in Hand, with doom of thrilling Pro

phecy.



On Sunday eve with many a palm.



With many a chant divine,

It came, that Eye so keen and calm,

Like a still lamp, far searching aisle and shrine.



Happy the few, that hour,



Who with adoring hearts kneel'd to that gaze of

power.



Nor they unblest, the morrow morn,



Who low before Him lay

In penitential guise forlorn,

And for His sounding scourge made duteous way :



Who at His word their store

Of earthly goods remov'd, nor ever brought them more.







Irreverence in Church, 115



But ah ! no blessing left He then,

When the third evening fell,

And o'er the olive-shaded glen

Came wafted to His Mount His stern farewell.



" We meet not, till ye own



The Crucified and scorn'd before the Judgment

Throne."



No blessing left the Lord of bliss,



Save on that widow poor,

Who only offer'd not amiss,

Whose praise for aye shall in His Book endure.



What if the place were doom'd ?

Love will abide the fire : her gift is unconsum'd.



Thrice warn'd the dread departing word



The city of His choice ;

And threefold are thy lessons, Lord,

Even now to reckless eye and heart and voice.



Why is there silence here ?



Why hush the prattling babe ? " An unseen Eye we

fear."







116 Early Warnings.



What are these frowns, and penal ways



With rebel hand and tongue ?

True tokens of the heart's amaze,

Where waits beside the door the scared throng,



By sentence heard in Heaven,

Of sin-retaining power, out of the Presence driven :



Driven for a while : and O ! if yet

The scornful brow they bend,

The saintly Thrones are duly set,

The doom prepar'd, that without hope or end



The Temple Roof will draw



Down on the irreverent head, there lingering without

awe.







Early learnings. 117







7.







DISRESPECT TO ELDERS.



" And he went up from thence unto Beth-el : and as he was going up

by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked

him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald-head ; go up, thou bald-head.

And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name

of the Lord : and there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and

tare forty and two children of them. And he went from thence to mount

Carmel."



THE Powers of HI have mysteries of their own,



Their sacramental signs and prayers,

Their choral chants in many a winning tone,



Their watchwords, seals, processions, known

Far off to friend and foe : their lights and perfum'd

airs.



And even as men, where warring hosts abide,



By faint and silent tokens learn

At distance whom to trust, from whom to hide,



So round us set on every side

Th' aerial sentinels our good and ill discern.







118 Early Warnings.



The lawless wish, the unaverted eye,



Are as a taint upon the breeze,

To lure foul spirits : haughty brows and high



Are signals to invite him nigh,

Whose onset ever Saints await on bended knees.



Him in some thievish corner of the street



Full often lurking low we trace,

When sullen lips our kindly glances meet,



And looks, that pastoral eyes should greet,

As flowers the morn, fall coldly, as on empty space.



His poisonous whisper hath been there, be sure,



Where childhood's simple courtesies

Are scorn'd : so trains he up his school impure,



So may his nursery tasks inure



The hearts that by and by against the Church shall

rise.



Open their eyes, good Lord, that they may know



Whose edicts they so dearly hold,

Making Thy rites a revel and a show,



Where the rude world may come and go,

To sit at ease, and judge the Saints and Seers of old.







Disrespect to Elders. 1 1 9



The stubborn knees with holy trembling smite,

Which bow not at Thine awful Name.



Pour from Thine Altar Thine own glorious Light,



Winning the world-enamour'd sight

To turn and see which way the healing radiance came.



O may our fallen land, though late, unlearn



Her reckless unbelieving heart,

And in the Gifts, sweet as from Aaron's urn,



And in the pure white Robe, discern

Signs lingering, faint and few, ere the last Saint

depart.



I



O grant us Thy good Angel, evermore



To wait, with unseen scourge in hand,

On the Church path, and by the low school door.



Write in young hearts Thy reverend lore,

Nor be our christen'd babes as Bethel's lawless band.



Perhaps among the wailing matrons there

Was one who to her child had taught

The ways of scorn, breathing the poison'd air



Into that bosom fresh and fair



Which from her own drew life. Alas ! too well it

wrought.







120 Early Warnings.



Now self-accusing by the drear wood-side

She ranges where th' avengers came,

In dreams of penance wandering wild and wide.



But he, the Healer and the Guide,

To Carmel top is gone, far from our woe and shame.



Now from his lips the judgment word hath past,



The lightning from his awful brow :

Low on his knees in some bleak cavern cast,



His prayers go up o'er ocean vast

For those whom he hath doom'd : he is their Patron

now.



And our Elisha fails He on the Mount



To plead, His holy ones to pray

For rebels and profane ? O who may count



The drops from that eternal Fount

Of heavenly Intercession, welling night and day ?



Ye fragrant showers, O were it not for you,

How could we breathe the parched air

Of the world's freedom, feverish and untrue,



Withering each soft and kindly hue

Even in young hearts ? but ye spring -w r eather cherish

there.







Disrespect to Elders. 121



Your influence from afar we own and bless,



When, school-hours past, o'er village green,

Or homely garden, bright in its May dress,



Come greetings from a throng and press

Of little strangers, prompt as fairies round their queen.



Ever, as up and down our glances go,



In that fair round we may discern

A beaming smile and an obeisance low ;



So forest bluebells in a row



Stoop to the first May wind, sweeping o'er each in

turn.



And here and there, perchance, one graver found



A comrade's roving eye may school

To courtesy forgot : so in each round



Of duty, here on earth's dull ground,

Angels with us rehearse their own majestic Rule.







122 Early Warnings.







HOME SICKNESS.



" If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,

and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he can

not be my disciple."



(For St. Mark's Day.)



A HOLY home, young Saint, was thine,



Child of a priestly line,

Bred where the vernal midnight air



Was vocal with the prayer

Of Christians fresh from Paschal meat,

With supplication strong and sweet,

With fast and vigil, in meek strife



Winning their Pastor's life.



A holy home, a mother bold,



Who to the scattered fold

Threw wide her door at dead of night,



Nor feared the tyrant's might ;

The sister true of him who poured

His treasure at Thy feet, O Lord :

The Son of Comfort named was he



By those who hearts could see.







Home Sickness. 123



A holy home, a refuge-bower



For Saints in evil hour,

Where child, and slave, and household maid,



Of their own joy afraid,

As parent's voice familiar own

The pastoral Apostolic tone.

'Tis heard, and each the race would win



To tell the news within.



A holy household ! yet beware !



Even here may lurk a snare.

These home delights, so keen and pure,



May not for aye endure.

Ere long, perchance, a sterner sound

Will summon : where wilt thou be found ?

Even holy homes may hearts beguile,



And mar God's work a while.







124 Early learnings.







9.







ILL TEMPER.



" JESUS was casting out a Devil, and it was dumb : and it came to

pass, when the Devil was cast out, the dumb spake."



NOT often bends the face of heaven and earth



A dull and joyless brow

On hearts that own meek love and quiet mirth :



But such their aspect now.

Slowly and late through leaden skies

The scanty lights of morning rise,



And hour by weary hour

The hard stern outlines loom around

Of hill by many a frost embrowned,

Pine top, and leafless forest bower.



And days have been, wild days of stormy wing,



O'er -powering breath and thought,

When the dark clouds plied each its heavy sling,



And air and ocean wrought

As erst o'er Noe, hiding all

The bright hues of this earthly ball.







/// Temper. 125



The traveller on his way

Was like a pinnace on the deep,

Whirling around as rude waves sweep,



The sport of every gust and spray.



So, happy childhood, thine enchanted clime



Two evil spirits mar.

This wild, that sullen : o'er the unlovely prime



Looks out no lingering star,

No softly-brightening trail of morn :

Their day, in gloom or tempest born,



Lowers on till noon and night :

Because the new-born soul made haste

Love's christening gift to scorn or waste,



Fretting or fierce, in Angels' sight.



Yet burns the sun on high beyond the cloud :



Each in his southern cave

The warm winds linger, but to be allowed



One breathing o'er the wave,

One flight across the unquiet sky ;

Swift as a vane may turn on high

The smile of heaven comes on.







126 Early Warnings.



So waits the Lord behind the veil,

His light on frenzied cheek or pale ,

To shed when the dark hour is gone.



O ye who feel the dumb deaf spirit's breath



About your heart and home,

As in foul cavern spreading damps of death,



Where only Love should come ;

Who mark, how wane the lamps of prayer

Where sullen thoughts are in the air ;



Haste, to the Healer bring

The moody silent one : perchance

He at the mighty word and glance



With Saints will hear, with Angels sing.



But if the frenzy fire blaze out, and cast



The sparks of Stygian glow,

Wild evil words, such showers as rode the blast



In Sodom's overthrow ;

If tossing limb and glaring eye

Declare the o'ermastering agony ;



On Tabor's crown behold

The pure calm glory : JESUS there







Ill Temper. 127



Hath spent the summer night in prayer :

There be your tale of anguish told.



Faint not, if prayer of man find tardy grace,



Though saintly knees be bowed,

But wait untired beneath the mountain's base ;



Soon will the healing Cloud

Toward thee descend, the voice of Love

Through the glad air will gently move :



" Believe, and all may be :"

The voice of Power command afar .

The rushings of that ireful war,



And heart and tongue for prayer be free.



Nay, doubt it not : He gave His signs of yore,



When Angels at the porch

Met thee, and led along the sacred floor,



And from their unseen torch

Shrank muttering to his penal fire

The Demon Shade, companion dire



Of all in evil born.

Within thee, if thou wilt, be sure

That happy hour's strong spells endure,

The seal of heaven, not all outworn.







128







F*







i.







THE CROSS LAID ON INFANTS.







" And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian,

coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might

bear it after JESUS."







" WELL may I brook the lash of scorn or woe



On mine own head to fall :

An evil mark is on me : well I know

I have deserved it all.

But these my tender sheep,

What have they sown, such ill to reap ?

Why should a new-born babe the watch of sorrow

keep r







The Cross laid on Infants. 129



Stay thee, sad heart, or ere thou breathe thy plaint,



And still thee, murmuring tongue,

And mark who climbs the hill, so meek, so faint,

Whose brows with anguish wrung

On the rough way drop blood ;

How rushing round Him like a flood,

They drag Him, fallen beneath the accursed and

galling wood.



Nor Him alone. They seize upon his way,



Early that fearful morn,

One hastening Zion-ward, and on him lay



Part of the pain and scorn,



Part of the Cross : who knows

Which in his secret heart he chose,

The persecutors' peace, or the meek Saviour's woes ?



Bowed he with grudging mind the yoke to bear,



Or was the bitter sweet

For JESUS' sake ? Lo, in the silent air



On unseen pinions fleet



The hosts of scorn and love :

With the sad train they onward move :

Owns he the raven's wing, or the soft gliding Dove ?







130 Children's Troubles.



O surely, when the healing Rood he felt,



The sacrificial fire

Of Love redeeming did his spirit melt.



And with true heart's desire



He set where JESUS trode

His steps along the mountain road,

Still learning more and more of His sweet awful load.



Thou leanest o'er thine infant's couch of pain :



It breaks thine heart, to see

The wan glazed eye, the wasted arm, that fain



Would reach and cling to thee.



Yet is there quiet rest

Prepared upon the Saviour's breast

For babes unconscious borne on Calvary to be blest.



Nor to the darlings of thine aching heart,



Nor to thine own weak soul,

Grudge thou the good Cyrenian's patient part,



The Cross that maketh whole



Met unawares, and laid

Upon the unresisting head,

The tottering feet upon the way of sorrow led.







The Cross laid on Infants. 131



What if at times the playful hand, though weak,

From the safe bosom part



The nursing Father's awful crown to seek,

And find it thorns, and start

With grieved and wondering call ?

Who but would joy, one drop should fall



Out of his own dull veins, for Him who spared us all ?







132 Children's Troubles.







2.







TEARS RESTRAINED.



" Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine

head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy

lips, and eat not the bread of men."



" TEARS are of Nature's best, they say ;

An April dry makes cheerless May :



Eyes that with answering glow

Meet eager joy, I love not well

That they should gaze immoveable



On sights of fear and woe."



" Nay, soft and wavering shows the heart

Whence the life-drops so lightly start,



And harsher by and by

Will prove, I ween, the withering hour

Of selfish care, for each brief shower



That hurries down our sky."







Tears Restrained. 133



Such talk when Angels watching near

From earthly guardians overhear,



Haply in heart they say,

" These are half-truths. Who deeply scan

The mystery of the tears of man,



To nurse them or allay,



" Demands, they know, a mightier skill :

He only may the task fulfil,



Who hath the springs in hand

Of Ocean, saying to this wave,

' Retire :' to that, * unbridled rave



High on the thirsty sand.'



" He in His wisdom hath decreed

That shingle light, or frail sea- weed,



Should here the proud waves stay,

There, giant rocks aside be hurled.

So in the heart's lone awful world



His waters know their way.



" His Power the inward storm unchains

At will, His Power and Love refrains.

Ask ye, by what high law ?







134 Children's Troubles.



Go not to sage or seer, but trace

His impress on some bright young face.

Half passion and half awe.



" Whom He hath blessed and called His own,

He tries them early, look and tone,



Bent broAv and throbbing heart ;

Tries them with pain, dread seal of Love.

Oft when their ready patience strove



With keen o'ermastering smart,



" And mortals deemed it gentle blood,

Faith might discern the healing Rood



Invisibly applied :

And when her veil soft Pity drew

Over each glad and vernal hue,



And babes for others sighed,



" A tear, we knew, from Lazarus' grave,

Had lent high virtue to the wave



In their baptismal hour :

Or one of those He deigned to weep

O'er Salem, in the olived steep,



A world-embalming shower.







Tears Restrained. 135



^ Thou art stern courage, Heavenly Child.

Thou to thy babes art mourning mild ;



Even as Thy Saints of old

From weeping now forbore, now prayed

Their eyes might endless showers be made



Over Thy fallen fold.



" One law is theirs, and Thine : to stay

Self -loving moans allow no way



For grief that only grieves.

But drops that cherish prayer, or speed

The pure resolve, or duteous deed,



He gave them, He receives."







136 Children's Troubles.







3.







LONELINESS.



" And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled ? and why do thoughts

arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I Myself :

handle Me, and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me

have."



ALONE, apart from mother dear



And father's gracious eye,

From all the nursery's joyous cheer,



Nor babe nor playmate by !



A place where others are at home,



But all is strange to me !

And now the twilight hour is come,



And the clear shadows flee.



Scarce dare I lay me down and sleep,



Lest in half-waking dream

Dimly all ways to dance and creep



The forms around me seem.







Loneliness. 137



Help me with reading, help to pray,



That I with spirit free

Mine evening hymn may sing or say



Upon my bended knee.



But look, your lore be true and wise,



The lamp ye light burn clear,

No flash to pass o'er strained eyes,



Leaving all dark and drear.



kindly and in happy hour

Ye bring the Volume blest :



There all is Truth, all Love, all Power :

Now sweet will be my rest.



Now at thy pleasure roam, wild heart,

In dreams o'er sea and land :



1 bid thee at no shadows start :



The Upholder is at hand.



The lurid hues, the deep sea-gleams,



That blend in hour of storm,

Till every hurrying night-wind seems



To waft a phantom form,







138 Children's Troubles.



Are but His signs, who lonely paced



The midnight waters drear.

A spirit o'er the heaving waste



He seemed they cried for fear.



Hark ! in the gale how softly thrills

The voice that wakes the dead !



Happy, whose ear such music fills

By night upon his bed.



" 'Tis I," He saith : " be not afraid !"



Whether in ocean vast,

Or where across the moonlight glade



Strange woodland shapes are cast,



Or flickering shadows come and go



In weary hours of gloom,

While midnight lamps burn dim and low,



Round some mysterious room,



One only spell hath power to soothe

When thoughts and dreams appal.



Name thou His Name, Who is the Truth,

And He will hear thy call ;







Loneliness. 139



As when new -risen on Easter night



Amid His own He stood,

Fear with His sudden shade, calm might



Came with His Flesh and Blood ;



Him name in Faith, and softly make



The sign to Angels known.

So never need thy young heart ache



In silence and alone.







140 Children's Troubles.







4.



SHYNESS.



" Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."



TEAR not away the veil, dear friend,

Nor from its shelter rudely rend

The heaven-protected flower :

It waits for sun and shower

To woo it kindly forth in its own time,

And when they come, untaught will know its hour of

prime.



Blame not the eye that from thee turns,

The cheek that in a moment burns

With tingling fire so bright,

Feeling thine eager sight,



The lowly drooping brow, the stammering tongue,

The giddy wavering thought, scarce knowing right

and wrong.













Shyness. 141



What if herein weak Nature own

Her trembling underneath His Throne,

Whose eye can ne'er depart

From our frail evil heart ?

Who knows how near His look of awful love

The gaze of aged men may to the young heart prove ?



The springs of silent awe, that dwell

Deepest in heart, will highest swell,

When in His destined hour

He calls them out in power.

Hide thou thy face, and fear to look on God,

Else never hope to grasp the wonder-working rod.



With quivering hands that closely fold

Over his downcast eyes, behold

The Shepherd on the Mount

Adores the Living Fount

Of pure unwasting fire : no glance he steals,

But in his heart's deep joy the Dread Eye gazing

feels,



Feels it, and gladlier far would die



Than let it go. There will he lie



Till the Dread Voice return,







142 Children's Troubles.



And he the lore may learn

Of his appointed task bold deeds to dare,

High mysteries to impart, deep penances to bear.



Ere long to the same holy place

He will return, and face to face



Upon the glory gaze,

Then onward bear the rays

To Israel : priest and people from his glance

Will shrink, as he from God's in that deep Horeb

trance.



Then tear we not the veil away,

Nor ruthless tell in open day

The tender spirit's dream.

O let the deepening stream



Might from the mountain-springs in silence draw.

O mar we not His work, who trains His saints in

awe !







Children's Troubles. 143



5.



STAMMERING.



" He maketh both the 1 deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak."



WHEN heart and head are both o'erflowing,

When eager words within are glowing,

And all at once for utterance crowd and throng,



How hard to find no tongue !

The little babe upon the breast

Wails out his wail and is at rest :



These may but look and long.







Perhaps some deed of sacred story,



Or lesson deep of God's high glory,



For many a toilsome hour rehears'd or read,



In holy Church is said.

He knows it all none half so well,

And longs in turn his tale to tell,



But all his words are fled.







144 Children's Troubles.



Perhaps on high the chant is ringing,

The youthful choir the free notes flinging,

To soar at will the mazy roof around :



But his to earth are bound.

In every chord his heart beats high,

But vainly would his frail lips try



The tones his soul hath found.



O gaze not so in wistful sadness :

Ere long a morn of power and gladness

Shall break the heavy dream ; the unchained voice



Shall in free air rejoice :



Thoughts with their words and tones shall meet,

The unfaltering tongue harmonious greet



The heart's eternal choice.



Even now the call that wakes the dying

Steals on thine ear with gentle sighing :

The breath, the dew of heaven hath touched thy



tongue :



Far to the winds are flung

The bonds unseen, ill spirits' work :

Satan no more may round thee lurk,

Thine Epphatha is sung.







Children's Troubles. 145







6.







FEAR OF WILD BEASTS.



(For Quinquagesirnu.)



OFT have I hid mine eyes,

When lightning thrill'd across the midnight skies : *



When tempests howl'd o'er land or main,

Oft have I thought upon the deluge rain.

But now I read, that never more

Will Heaven's dread windows so give out their awful



store.



The rainbow-sign is given,

His word endures in Heaven.



Oft have I shrank for fear,

When forms that seem'd of giant mould drew near,



And deeply in my childish heart

I thrill'd at every rush, and bound, and start :

L







146 Children's Troubles.



But now I hear th' Eternal Law



That binds them in His chain of deep mysterious awe :

I fear no monster birth,

His word endures on earth.



Even as the bright calm bow

Is safety's pledge when waters wild o'erflow,



As horned herds will turn and fly

If but a child survey them with bold eye,



So in the storms we may not see

Thy Saviour's rainbow crown, O Faith, thine own



may be :



So, if His Cross He raise,

Hell powers at distance gaze.



There may we calmly dwell,

Nor sounding tempest dread, nor lion fell.



But, little children, muse and mark :

His blessing waits on inmates of His ark,



On such as in His awful shade

Abide, and keep the seal His Holy Spirit made.

Else will the flood awake,

His chain the Lion break.







Children's Troubles. 147



7.



SEPARATION.



" For she said, If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be made whole."



SHE did but touch with finger weak



The border of His sacred vest,

Nor did He turn, nor glance, nor speak,

Yet found she health and rest.



Well may the word sink deep in me,



For I, full many a fearful hour,

Fast clinging, mother dear, to thee,



Have felt Love's guardian power.



When looks were strange on every side,



When gazing round I only saw

Far-reaching ways, unknown and wide,

I could but nearer draw :



I could but nearer draw, and hold



Thy garment's border as I might.

This while I felt, my heart was bold,

My step was free and light.







148 Children's Troubles.



Thou haply on thy path the while



Didst seem unheeding me to fare,

Scarce now and then, by bend or smile,

Owning a playmate there.



What matter ? well I knew my place,

Deep in my mother's inmost heart :

I fear'd but; in my childish race,



I from her robe might part.



O Lord, the Fount of Mother's Love



And Infant's Faith, I hear thee mourn :

" Thee, tender as a callow dove,



Long have I nurs'd and borne :



" Have nurs'd and borne thee up on high,

Ere Mother's love to thee was known :

And now I set thee down, to try

If thou canst walk alone.



" Nay, not alone but I would prove



Thy duteous heart. O grudge no more

Thy Lord His joy, when healing Love

His very robe flows o'er."







Children's Troubles. 149



8.



BEREAVEMENT.



" The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before."



I MARK'D when vernal meads were bright,



And many a primrose smil'cl,

I niark'd her, blithe as morning light,



A dimpled three years' child.



A basket on one tender arm



Contain'd her precious store

Of spring-flowers in their freshest charm,



Told proudly o'er and o'er.



The other wound with earnest hold



About her blooming guide,

A maid who scarce twelve years had told :



So walk'd they side by side.



One a bright bud, and one might seem



A sister flower half blown.

Full joyous on their loving dream



The sky of April shone.







150 Children's Troubles.



The summer months swept by : again

That loving pair I met.



On russet heath, and bowery lane,

Th' autumnal sun had set :



And chill and damp that Sunday eve

Breath'd on the mourners' road



That bright-eyed little one to leave

Safe in the Saints' abode.



Behind, the guardian sister came,



Her bright brow dim and pale



O cheer thee, maiden ! in His Name,

Who still'd Jairus' wail !



Thou mourn'st to miss the fingers soft

That held by thine so fast,



The fond appealing eye, full oft

Tow'rd thee for refuge cast.



Sweet toils, sweet cares, for ever gone !



No more from stranger's face

Or startling sound, the timid one



Shall hide in thine embrace.







Bereavement. 151



Thy first glad earthly task is o'er,



And dreary seems thy way.

But what if nearer than before



She watch thee even to-day ?



What if henceforth by Heaven's decree



She leave thee not alone,

But in her turn prove guide to thee



In ways to Angels known ?



O yield thee to her whisperings sweet :



Away with thoughts of gloom !

In love the loving spirits greet,



Who wait to bless her tomb.



In loving hope with her unseen



Walk as in hallow'd air.

When foes are strong and trials keen,



Think, " What if she be there ?"







152 Children's Troubles.



9.



ORPHANHOOD.



" Behold thy Mother."



OFT have I watch'd thy trances light,



And longed for once to be

A partner in thy dream's delight,

And smile in sleep with thee ;

To sport again, one little hour,

With the pure gales, that fan thy nursery bower,

And as of old un doubting upward spring,

Feeling the breath of heaven beneath my joyous wing.



But rather now with thee, dear child.



Fain would I lie awake,

For with no feverish care and wild



May thy clear bosom ache ;

Thy woes go deep, but deeper far

The soothing power of yonder kindly star :

Thy first soft slumber on thy mother's breast

Was never half so sweet as now thy calm unrest.







Orphanhood. 153



Thy heart is sad to think upon



Thy mother far away,

Wondering perchance, now she is gone,



Who best for thee may pray.

In many a waking dream of love

Thou seest her yet upon her knees above :

The vows she breathed beside thee yesternight,

She breathes above thee now, winged with intenser

might.



Both vespers soft and matins clear



For thee she duly pays,

Now as of old, and there as here ;



Nor yet alone she prays.

Thy vision (whoso chides, may blame

The instinctive Teachings of the Altar flame)

Shows thee above, in yon ethereal air,

A holier Mother, rapt in more prevailing prayer.



'Tis she to whom thy heart took flight



Of old in joyous hour,

When first a precious sister spright



Came to thy nursery bower,







154 Children's Troubles.



And thou with earnest tone didst say,

" Mother, let Mary be her name, I pray,

For dearly do I love to think upon

That gracious Mother-Maid, nursing her Holy One."



Then in delight, as now in woe,

Thou to that home didst turn,

Where God, an Infant, dwelt below :



The thoughts that ache and burn

Nightly within thy bosom, find

A home in Nazareth to their own sweet mind.

More than all music are the soothings dear

Which meet thee at that door, and whisper, Christ is

here.







Children's Troubles. 155







10.







FIRE.







" The Angel of the Lord made the midst of the furnace as it had been

a moist whistling wind."







SWEET maiden, for so calm a life

Too bitter seemed thine end ;



But thou hadst won thee, ere that strife,

A more than earthly friend.



We miss thee in thy place at school,

And on thine homeward way,



Where violets by the reedy pool

Peep out so shyly gay :



Where thou, a true and gentle guide,

Wouldst lead thy little band,



With all an elder sister's pride,

And rule with eye and hand.







156 Children's Troubles.



And if we miss, O who may speak

What thoughts are hovering round



The pallet where thy fresh young cheek

Its evening slumber found ?



How many a tearful longing look



In silence seeks thee yet,

Where in its own familiar nook



Thy fireside chair is set ?



And oft when little voices dim



Are feeling for the note

In chanted prayer, or psalm, or hymn,



And wavering wildly float,



Comes gushing o'er a sudden thought



Of her who led the strain,

How oft such music home she brought



But ne'er shall bring again.



O say not so ! the springtide air

Is fraught with whisperings sweet ;



Who knows but heavenly carols there

With ours may duly meet ?







Fire. 157



Who knows how near, each holy hour,



The pure and child-like dead

May linger, where in shrine or bower



The mourner's prayer is said ?



And He who will'd, thy tender frame



(Q stern yet sweet decree !)

Should wear the Martyr's robe of flame,



He hath prepar'd for thee



A garland in that region bright



Where infant spirits reign,

Ting'd faintly with such golden light



As crowns His Martyr train.



Nay, doubt it not : His tokens sure

Were round her death-bed shewn :



The wasting pain might not endure,

'Twas calm ere life had flown,



Even as we read of Saints of yore :



Her heart and voice were free

To crave one quiet slumber more



Upon her Mother's knee.







158 Children's Troubles.



11.



PUNISHMENT.



" They shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity."



THE scourge in hand of God or Man



Full deeply tries the secret soul.

Yon dark-eyed maid, her bearing scan ;

The tear that from beneath her quivering eyelids stole,

The shade, that hangs e'en now

Upon her wistful brow,

It comes not all of shame or pain,

But she with pitying heart full fain

Would twice the penance burthen bear,

Might she the chastening arm, so lov'd and loving,



spare.







So have I mark'd some faithful hound,



Recall'd by look and voice severe,

Come conscious of his broken bound,

And lowly cast him down as in remorseful fear,

One of the teachers true

Commission'd to imbue







Punishment. 159



Our dull hard hearts with heavenly skill,

With heavenly love our proud cold will.

How seems he penance to implore,

Patient in woe decreed, and humbly seeking more !



He who of old at Caiaphas' door



Denied th' eternal Holy One,

In words denied, but own'd ia store

Of penitential tears why made he restless moan,

When the forgiving Eye

Had beam'd on him so nigh,

And thrice, for his denials three,

The Lord had said, My Shepherd be ?

Yet were his waking thoughts self-blame,

And ever with cock-crowing tearful memory came.



For should the soul that loves indeed



Stoop o'er the edge of deadly sin,

And e'er so lightly taste its meed,

Though wonder-working grace might heal the wound



within,



Yet may the scar and stain

To the last fire remain,







160 Children's Troubles.



And Love will mourn them : loyal Love

Will for the Holy Friend above

Lament in reverent sympathy,

Feeling upon her heart the griev'd and gracious Eye.



Alas for sullen souls, that turn



Keen wholesome airs to poison blight !

Touch'd with Heaven's rod, in ire they burn,

Or in dim anguish writhe : beside them in its might

The saving Cross we rear,

They neither love nor fear ;

Each from his own unblessed tree

The five dread wounds unmov'd they see

O hard of heart ! and scornful say,

" Saviour, if such thou be, come chase our pangs

away."



Th' impenitent would still abate



His pain, the mourner still enhance.

O Lord, I know my sin is great,

I would not hide away from thee in heartless trance ;

When penal lightnings glare,

O give me grace, to bear







Punishment. 161



My sinful bosom to the blast ;

Nor, when the judgment hour is past,

Bask on in warmth of worldly ease,

But hold to the wrong'd Cross on worn and .aching

knees.







162 Children's Troubles.







12.



PENANCE.



" If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."



THOU, who with eye too sad and wan

Dost on the memory gaze

Of evil days,



Open thy casement, moody man,

Look out into the midnight air,

And taste the gushing fragrance there,

Drink of the balm the soft winds bear



From dewy nook and flowery maze :



They rise and fall, they come and go,

With touch ethereal whispering low

Of grace to penitential woe,

And of the soothing hand that Love on Conscience lays.



How welcome, in the sweet still hour,

Falls on the weary heart,



Listening apart,

Each rustling note from breeze and bower ;







Penance. 163



The mimic rain mid poplar leaves,

The mist drops from th' o'erloaded eaves,

Sighs that the herd half-dreaming heaves,

Or owlet chanting his dim part ;

Or trickling of imprison'd rill

Heard faintly down some pastoral hill,

His pledge, who rules the froward will

With more than kingly power, with more than wizard

art!



But never mourner's ear so keen



Watch'd for the soothing sounds

That walk their rounds



Upon the moonlight air serene,



As the bright sentinels on high

Stoop to receive each contrite sigh,

When the hot world hath hurried by,



And souls have time to feel their wounds.

Nor ever tenderest bosom beat

So truly to the noiseless feet

Of shadows that from light clouds fleet,

Where ocean gently rocks within his summer bounds,







164 Children's Troubles.



As Saints around the Glory-Throne

To each faint sigh respond



And yearning fond

Of Penitents that inly moan.



O surely Love adoring there

Is quicken'd to intenser prayer,

When youthful hearts are fain to wear

Unbidden wear their penance -bond :



When stripling grave and maiden meek

Forego the bright hours of the week,

Nor at the board their place will seek :

" Have we not sinn'd ? and sin must be by pain

aton'd."



Thrice happy, in Repentance' school



So early taught and tried !



At JESUS' side,

And by His dread Fore-runner's rule,



Train'd from the womb ! nor they unble.-t.



Who underneath the world's bright vest



With sackcloth tame their aching breast,

The sharp-edged cross in jewels hide :







Penance. K'>f>



Who day by day and year by year

Survey the Past with deepening fear.

Yet hourly with more hopeful ear

To the dim Future turn, th' absolving voice abide.



Not as lost Esau mourn'd, they mourn ;



No loud and bitter cry



They cast on high :

But on through silent air is borne



The fragrance of their tearful love



To the Redeemer's feast above.



Fresher than steam of dewy grove,

When April showers are twinkling nigh,



To aged husbandman at eve,



Is the sweet breath the Heavens receive



When bosoms with confession heave.

When lowly Magdalen hath won her Saviour's eye.







166







Cftffrrtn's







i.



GARDENING.



" He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."



SEEST thou yon woodland child,

How amid flowerets wild,

Wilder himself, he plies his pleasure-task ?

That ring of fragrant ground,

With its low woodbine bound

He claims : no more, as yet, his little heart need ask.



There learns he flower and weed

To sort with careful heed :

He waits not for the weary noontide hour.

There with the soft night air

Comes his refreshing care :



Each tiny leaf looks up, and thanks him for the

shower.







Gardening. J 67



Thus faithful found awhile,

He wins the joyous smile

Of friend or parent ; glad and bright is he,

When for his garland gay

He hears the kind voice say,



" Well hast thou wrought, dear boy : the garden thine

shall be."



And when long years are flown,

And the proud word, Mine Own,

Familiar sounds, what joy in field or bower

To view by Memory's aid

Again that garden glade,



And muse on all the lore there learned in each bright

hour !



Is not a life well-spent

A child's play -garden, lent

For Heaven's high trust to train young heart and



limb ?



When in yon field on high

Our hard-won powers we try,



Will no mild tones of earth blend with the adoring

hymn ?







168 Children's Sports.



O fragrant, sure, will prove

The breath of patient Love,

Even from these fading sweets by Memory cast,

As deepening evermore

To Him our song we pour,



Who lent us Earth, that he might give us Heaven at

last.







Children's Sports. 169







2.







MAY GARLANDS.



" The sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the

grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it

perisheth."



COME, ye little revellers gay,

Learners in the school of May,

Bring me here the richest crown

Wreathed this morn on breezy down,

Or in nook of copsewood green,

Or by river's rushy screen,

Or in sunny meadow wide,

Gemmed with cowslips in their pride ;

Or perchance, high prized o'er all,

From beneath the southern wall,

From the choicest garden bed,

'Mid bright smiles of infants bred,

Each a lily of his own

Offering, or a rose half-blown.







170 Children's Sports.



Bring me now a crown as gay,

Wreathed and woven yesterday.

Where are now those forms so fair ?

Withered, drooping, wan and bare,

Feeling nought of earth or sky,

Shower or dew, behold they lie,

Vernal airs no more to know :

They are gone and ye must go,

Go where all that ever bloomed,

In its hour must lie entombed.

They are gone ; their light is o'er :

Ye must go ; but ye once more

Hope in joy to be new-born,

Lovelier than May's gleaming morn.



Hearken, children of the May,

Now in your glad hour and gay,

Ye whom all good Angels greet

With their treasures blithe and sweet :

None of all the wreaths ye prize

But was nursed by weeping skies.

Keen March winds, soft April showers,

Braced the roots, embalmed the flowers.







May Garlands. 171



So, if e'er that second spring



Her green robe o'er you shall fling,



Stern self-mastery, tearful prayer,



Must the way of bliss prepare.



How should else Earth's flowerets prove



Meet for those pure crowns above ?







172 Children's Sports.







3.



SUNDAY NOSEGAYS.



Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased."



YE children that on JESUS wait,

Gathering around His temple gate



To learn His word and will,

For glory hungered and athirst,

Which of you all would fain be first ?



Come here and take your fill.



Come, still and pure as drops of dew,

Come to the feast prepared for you,



Your prayer in silence breathe ;

Seek the last room, the scorn'd of all :

If that be filled, adoring fall



The Holy Board beneath.



Not to the quick untrembling gaze,

The heart that bounds at human praise,

Loves he to say, Go higher.







Sunday Nosegays. 173



But most He turns His face away,

When envy's sidelong eyes betray

The foul unhallowed fire.



Say, little maids that love the spring,

Of all the fragrant gems ye bring,



For bower or bridal wreath,

Is aught so fair as violets shy,

Betraying where they lowly lie



By the soft airs they breathe ?



Oft as with mild caressing hand

Ye cull and bind in tender band



Those bashful flowers so sweet

With many a Sunday smile, to rest

Upon some loved and honoured breast,



A welcome gift and meet,



Ye to the Heaven-taught soul present

A token and a sacrament,



How to the highest room

Earth's lowliest flowers our Lord receives ;

Close to His heart a place He gives,



Where they shall ever bloom.







174 Children's Sports.







4.



DRESSING UP.



" Put on the whole armour of God."



GREAT is the joy when leave is won,



On sun -bright holiday,

To deck some passive little one



In fancy garments gay :



Whether it be a bright-haired boy

With brow so bold and high,



Or maiden elf with aspect coy,

Grave lip and laughing eye.



What flashes of quick thought are there,

What deep delight and pride !



Till the whole house the wonder share

From room to room they glide.







Dressing up. 175



You smile, their eager ways to see :



But mark their choice, when they

To choose their sportive garb are free,



The moral of their play.



In semblance proud of warrior's mail



The stripling shall appear,

The maiden meek in robe and veil



Shall mimic bridal gear.



All thoughtless they, to thoughtful eyes



Love-tokens high present :

The Bride descending from the skies,



The mail in Baptism lent.



Yes : fearless may he lift the brow,



Who bears, unstained and bright,

By touch of Angels sealed e'en now,



His Saviour's Cross of might.



Radiant may be her glance of mirth,



Who wears her chrisom-vest

Pure as when first at her new birth



It wrapt her tender breast.







176 Children's Sports.



O, if so fair the first dim ray



In JESUS' morn of grace,

How will it glow, His perfect Day,



On our triumphant race !



If but His banner's hovering shade

May scare the infernal band,



How blest, who to the end arrayed

In His full armour stand !



Then haste, young warrior, year by year,



And day by day, and hour

By hour, His armoury to draw near,



And don His robes of Power.



Thy girdle, Truth to hate a lie :

Then, purpose high of soul



In Righteousness to live and die,

Thy breastplate, firm and whole.



Then, heavenly Calmness, lest thou fall

Where scandals line the way ;



Faith in the Unseen, thy shield o'er all,

Each fiery dart to stay.







Dressing up. 177



Hope in His gift, thine helmet sure,



Trust in His living Word

Thy weapon keen, to chase the impure,



His Spirit's awful sword.



This is thine armour, bathed in heaven :



Keep thou by prayer and fast

Thy Saviour's seal, so early given :



All shall be thine at last.







178 Children's Sports.







5.







PEBBLES ON THE SHORE.



" Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath

no money ; come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without

money and without price."



NOT undelightful prove



The rounds of restless love,

When high and low she searches, mine and mart,



And turns and tosses o'er



Some crowned merchant's store,

And scarce fit token finds of the full yearning heart.



Yet in Heaven's searching beam



As bright may haply seem

A child's unpurchased offering, stone or shell,



Found by some joyous crew



Glittering with ocean dew,



Where feathery lines of spray the waves' last boundary

tell.







Pebbles on the Shore. 179



Behold them, how they dance



Beneath the breezy glance

Of April morn, or fresh October noon ;



How on the twinkling sand,



In many a fairy band,



They leave their foot-prints light, to turn and count

them soon.



What if some nursing friend



His sportive counsel lend

To sort the treasure, wreathe the chaplet gay,



Coral or crimson weed ?



Then is it joy indeed,

When he to mind recalls some comrade far away.



Oh then how bright arise



To fancy's quick young eyes

The smiles that o'er the kindling brow will spread,



When on the nursery floor



They range their bounteous store,

Precious to them as pearls fronf India's ocean-bed !







180 Children's Sports.



What though unseen, unbought



By money, toil, or thought,

Those simple offerings come they not of Love ?



Love gives, and Love will take.



Such are the vows we make



To the dread Bethlehem Babe, nor He will them

reprove.



"What is a royal crown,



Or first-born babe, cast down

Before His Cradle, to one heavenly smile ?



We may not buy nor earn,



But He toward us will turn



Of His own Love : but we must kneel in Love the

while.



Thus learn we Bounty's lore



Along the unbounded shore :

And even beneath the mists which man hath made,



Where Mammon walks the street,



We light on memories sweet

Of a dread Bargain sealed, a countless Ransom paid.







Pebbles on the Shore. 181



We hear the frequent cry,



" Approach, ye poor, and buy,

Buy of the best for nought :" and dreams arise



Of yon supernal Home,



And Angel voices " Come,

Come to the Living Wells, buy without gold or price.



" Come to the true Vine's shade,



There in contrition laid

Drink of the drops He in your cup shall press.



Come to the quiet fold,



And while the lambs are told,

Taste the pure treasure of the pastoral wilderness."



The homeless and forlorn



In cities, think they scorn

Freely to quaff the fountain's unbought store ?



Freely to learn the song



It warbles all night long



In murmurings such as sooth'd their cradle dreams of

yore ?







182 Children's Sports.



6.



BATHING.



" Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water."



THE May winds gently lift the willow leaves ;



Around the rushy point comes weltering slow



The brimming stream ; alternate sinks and heaves



The lily-bud, where small waves ebb and flow.



Willowherb and meadowsweet !

Ye the soft gales, that visit there,



From your waving censers greet

With store of freshest balmiest air.



Come bathe the steaming noontide hour invites ;

Even in your face the sparkling waters smile.

Yet on the brink they linger, timid wights,



Pondering and measuring ; on their gaze the while



Eddying pool and shady creek

Darker and deeper seem to grow :

On and onward still, they seek

Where sport may less adventurous show.







Bathing. 183







At length the boldest springs : but ere he cleave



The flashing waters, eye and thought grow dim ;

Too rash it seems, the firm green earth to leave :

Heaven is beneath him : shall he sink or swim ?



Far in boundless depth he sees

The rushing clouds obey the gale,



Trembling hands and tottering knees,

All in that dizzy moment fail.



Oh mark him well, ye candidates of Heaven,



Called long ago to float in JESUS' ark

Ye know not where : His signal now is given,

The Lord draws near upon the waters dark :



To your eager prayer the Voice

Makes awful answer : " Come to Me :



Once for all now seal your choice,

With Christ to tread the boisterous sea."



And dare we come ? since he, the trusted Saint,

Who with one only shared the Lord's high love,



Shrank from the tossing gale, and scarce with faint

And feeble cry toward the Saviour strove.







184 Children's Sports.



Yes : we answer the dread call,

Not fearless, but in duteous awe :



He will stay the frail heart's fall,

His arm will onward, upward draw.



O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt ?



Spare not for Him to walk the midnight wave,

On the dim shore at morn to seek Him out,*



Work 'neath His Eye, and near Him make thy



grave.



So backslidings past no more

Shall in the Heavens remembered be,



Faith the Three Denials sore

O'erpaying with Confessions Three.



Strange power of mighty Love ! if Heaven allow



Choice, on the restless waters rather found,

Meeting her Lord, with cross and bleeding brow,

Than calmly waiting on the guarded ground !



Yearning ever to spring forth

And feel the cold waves for His sake ;



All her giving of no worth,

Yet, till she give, her heart will ache.



*St. John xxi.







Children's Sports. 185



7.



ENACTING HOLY RITES.







" Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast re

vealed them unto babes."







THEY talk of wells in caverns deep,



Whose waters run a wondrous race

Far underground, and issuing keep



Our floating tokens, bright or base.

So in the child's light play we read

The portion to the man decreed ;

His future self he hastes to prove

In art, in toil, in warfare, or in love.



Those waves emerging far away,



True to their fount, the likeness bear

Of fancies nurtur'd many a day,



How in the end their course they wear

Into the light of Manhood free :

The hidden soul breaks out, and we

In careless mien, in careworn face,

The long-forgotten Infant wondering trace.







186 Children's Sports.



Oh, many a joyous mother's brow



Is sadden'd o'er when sports are rife,

And watching by, she seems e'en now

The tale to read of coming strife.

Through lawless camp, o'er ocean wild,

Her prophet eye pursues her child,

Scans mournfully her Poet's strain,

Fears, for her Merchant, loss alike and gain.



But if a holier task engage



His busy dream, if clad in white

She see him turn some hallow'd page,



Dimly enact some awful rite,

Then high beyond the loftiest Heaven

The flight that to her hopes is given,

And darker than the gloomiest deep

The fears that in her boding bosom creep.



She sees in heart an empty Throne,

And falling, falling far away,



Him whom the Lord had placed thereon :

She hears the dread Proclaimer say,







Enacting Holy Rites. 187



" Cast ye the lot, in trembling cast ;*

The Traitor to his place hath past."

Strive ye with Prayer and Fast to guide

The dangerous Glory where it shall abide :



Guide it towards some serious brow,

In love and patience lowly bent,



Some youthful Athanase,f e'en now

Upon his future task intent ;



His Creed rehearsing to the roar



Of billows on the lonely shore,



Or with a child's deep earnestness



Showing his mates how Saints baptize and bless.



* Acts i.



" t Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, on a certain day being in his own

house, cast his eyes towards the sea, and seeing afar off boys playing on

the shore, and enacting a Bishop and the customs of the Church, as long

as he saw nothing too adventurous in their play, was pleased with what he

saw, and amused himself with their doings. But when they touched even

upon the Mysteries, he was troubled, and summoning the Clergy, made

them observe the boys : whom having caused to be brought before him, he

interrogated about their play, and the kind of things said and done

therein ;.. and they informed him that Athanasius was their Bishop and

director, and that he had baptized some of the lads who were unchrist-

ened. Of these Alexander made careful inquiry, what had been asked

of them, or done to them, by him who was Priest in their game, and

what they answered, and were taught to say. And finding that all the







188 Children's Sports.



She hears : one glance, how brief and keen !



As with a lightning touch reveals

Her Saint upon his path serene ;



With all her heart his vow she seals,

With all her heart the prayer prolongs,

That round him still the Watchers' songs

Echoing may purge the hallow'd air,

And from his soul the dreams of Judas scare.



Ever in hope and agony



She prays : in hope when most he fears,

In trembling when his hopes mount high.



Far, far away she feels, not hears

A deep chord thrill, an answering note

Go forth in Heaven, and earthward float,

Her Guardian Angel wafts it nigh,

But more it breathes than Angel sympathy.



order of the Church had been accurately observed in their case, he

deemed, on consulting with the Priests about him, that there was no

need to rebaptize such as had once for all received the grace of God in

simplicity. Only he performed for them the other ceremonies, which

the Priests alone may lawfully minister in the Sacraments. Moreover,

Athanasius and the other boys, who in their sport were Priests and

Deacons, he commended to their respective kinsmen, calling God to

witness ; to be nurtured for the Church, and trained to that which they

had enacted.." Sowmen. Eccl. Hist. i. 17.







Enacting Holy Rites. 189



Yea, gloom was on the Source of Light,*



A trouble at Joy's very heart,

When with the Traitor in His sight



His secret sad He told apart.

And when He spake of treasures seal'd

To proud wise men, to babes reveal'd,f

From His celestial aspect fell

A lightning as in Heaven, a bliss ineffable.



These are Thy signs, Thou Shepherd good,

To Daring and to Meekness given ;



To babes of mild, self-chastening mood,



Whispering their part in chants of Heaven.



" Else," warning Love cries out, " beware



Of Chancel screen and Altar stair."



Love interceding kneels in fear,



Lest to the Pure th' unholy draw too near.



* St. John xiii. 21. t St. Matt. xi. 25.







190







iUssnns of Nature*







i.







VERNAL MIRTH.



" Behold the fig-tree, and all the trees ; when they now shoot forth, ye

see and know of your own selves, that summer is now nigh at hand."



WHAT is the joy the young lambs know,



When vernal breezes blow ?

Why carol out so blithe and free

The little birds from every leafless tree ?



Why bound so high the boys at play



On grass so green and gay ?

From nursing arms, his proper throne,

Why rings so clear yon infant's joyous tone ?







Vernal Mirth. 191



The life that in them deeply dwells



Of genial spring-tide tells :

Of their own selves they see and know

To what glad tune the summer brooks shall flow.



Be thou through life a little child ;

By manhood undefiled ;

So shall no Angel grudge thy dreams

Of fragrance pure and ever brightening beams.







192 Lessons of Nature.







2.

THE BIRD'S NEST.



" As an eagle stirreth up her nest, so the Lord alone did lead him.



BEHOLD the treasure of the nest,



The winged mother's hope and pride :



See how they court her downy breast,

How soft they slumber, side by side.



Strong is the life that nestles there,



But into motion and delight

It may not burst, till soft as air



It feel Love's brooding, timely might.



Even such a blissful nest I deem

The cradle of the Lord's new-born,



Where deeply lurks the living beam

Lit in the glad baptismal morn.







The Bird's Nest. 193



But into keen enduring flame



It may not burst, till heavenly Love



Have o'er it spread, in Christ's dear Name,

The pinions of His brooding Dove.



Now steal once more across the lawn,

Stoop gently through the cypress bough,



And mark which way life's feeble dawn

Works in their little hearts, and how.



Still close and closer, as you pry,



They nestle 'neath their mother's plume,



Or with a faint forlorn half-cry,

Shivering bewail her empty room.



Or haply, as the branches wave,



The little round of tender bills

Is raised, the due repast to crave



Of her who all their memory fills.



Hast thou no wisdom here to learn,



Thou nestling of the Holy Dove,

How hearts that with the true life burn



Live by the pulse of filial love ?







194 Lessons of Nature.



When sorrow comes to thy calm nest,

Early or late, as come it will,



Think of yon brood, yon downy breast,

And hide thee deep in JESUS' will.



By morning and by evening moan,

As doves beneath the cedar spray,



Make thou thy fearful longings known

To Him who is not far away.



Him Cherub-borne in royal state,

The food of His Elect to be,



With eager lip do thou await,



And veiled brow, and trembling knee.



So underneath the warm bright wing,

The hidden grace of thy new birth



Shall gather might to soar and sing,

Where'er He bids, in heaven or earth.







Lessons of Nature. 195







3.







THE MOTHER BIRD WITH HER YOUNG.



" How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen

gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !"



THE Lord who lends His creatures all



A tongue to preach His will

To Salem came His mournful call,

His last sad word to Sion's wall,



From the green Eastern hill.



The little children waiting by



Wondered to see Him weep.

The louder swelled their duteous cry,

As He in lowliest majesty



Rode down the shady steep.



Thy little heart, so wild and weak,



Perhaps is musing now,

" Had I the joy to hear Him speak,

To see that Eye, so heavenly meek,



Sure I should keep my vow."







196 Lessons of Nature.



Nay, in that hour He thought on thee.



And left a token sure,

Ever in times of vernal glee

Around thee in thy walks to be,



And keep thee kind and pure.



Look how the Hen invites her brood



Beneath her wing to lie,

Look how she calls them to their food,

How eyes, in eager, dauntless mood,



The wheeling hawk on high.



So would thy Lord His pinions spread



Around thee, night and day,

So lead thee, where is heavenly Bread,

So, by the Cross whereon He bled,

The spoiler scare away.



But be thou gathered : one and all



Those simple nestlings see,

How hurrying at their mother's call,

To their one home, whate'er befall.

In faith entire they flee.







Lessons of Nature. 197







NOONTIDE.



" They looked steadfastly toward Heaven, as He went up.



THE shepherd boy lies on the hill



At noon with upward eye ;

Deep on his gaze and deeper still



Ascends the clear blue sky.



You pass him by, and deem perchance



He lies but half awake,

And picture in what airy trance



His soul may sport or ache.



Full wakeful he, both eye and heart,



For he a cloud hath seen

Into that waste of air depart,



As bark in ocean green.







198 Lessons of Nature.



"Tis gone, and he is musing left ;



What if in such array

Our Saviour through the aerial cleft



Rose on Ascension Day ?



That hour, a glorious cloud, we know,

Hid Him from human sight,



While pastoral eyes were strained below

To trace Him through the light.



Oh if but once such awful thought,



In sleep or waking dream,

At night or noontide, came unsought,



Like haunting sound of stream,



Surely thou durst not let it go ;



Oft as thine eye shall turn

Where overhead the clear deeps glow,



Thine heart must inly burn,



Wondering what mortal first shall view



The dread returning sign,

When the strong portals, raised anew,



Disclose the march divine.







Noontide. 199



Blest shall he be, that sinner's child,



If upward in that tide

His eye be turned, nor wandering wild,



Nor closed in inward pride.



Blest, if the glory o'er him break



Through chancel roof, or where

Some mourner's bed good Angels make,



And Pain is soothed by Prayer.







200 Lessons of Nature.







5.







THE GLEANERS.



THE Church is one wide Harvest Field,



Where Time and Death are gathering in

Rich blessings by the Almighty Owner sealed

For spirits meet His pardoning word to win.



We are as children : here and there



A few fallen ears, the sheaves among,

We glean, where best the bounteous Hand may spare,

So learning for His perfect store to long.



Come, little ones, come early out,



Come joyous, come with steady heart,

Roam not to seek wild flowers the field about,

Nor yet at dreams of fancied vipers start.







The Gleaners. 201



The sun of Autumn climbs full fast :



He will have quaffed each drop of dew,

Ere half the fragrant, heathy lane be passed,

The lingerers, they will find scant ears and few.



Come, quit your toys, and haste away.

But mark : ye may not leave behind

Your store of smiles, your gladsome talk and gay,

Your pure thoughts, fashioned to your Master's

mind.



Blithe be your course, yet bear in heart

The lame and old, and help them on ;

Full handfuls drop, where they may take a part,

As high will swell your heap when day is done.



Yon slumbering infant in the shade,

Grudge not one hour on him to wait

While others glean. The work with singing aid,

With ready mirth all sharper tones abate.



Sing softly in your heart all day



Sweet carols to the Harvest's Lord,

So shall ye chase those evil powers away

That walk at noon rude gaze and wanton word.







202 Lessons of Nature.



But see the tall elm shadows reach



Athwart the field, the rooks fly home,

The light streams gorgeous up the o'er-arching beech,

With the calm hour soft weary fancies come.



In heaven the low red harvest moon,



The glow-worm on the dewy ground,

Will light us home with our glad burdens soon ;

Grave be our evening prayers, our slumbers sound.







Lessons of Nature. 203



6.



AUTUMN BUDS.



The children crying in the Temple, Hosannato the Son of David."



How fast these autumn leaves decay !

But nearer view the naked spray,

And many a bud thine eye will meet

Prepared with ready smile to greet



The showers and gleams of spring.



Such buds of hope are Advent hours :

Ere the Old Year its leaves and flowers

Have shed, the New in promise lives ;

Christmas afar glad token gives,

Soft carols faintly ring.



So when our Lord in meekness rode

Where few save wintry hearts abode,

Each leaf on Judah's sacred tree

Was withered, wan, and foul to see,

Touched by the frost-wind's wing.







204 Lessons of Nature.



Yet lurk'd there tender gems beneath,

Ere long to bloom in glorious wreath.

While Priest and Scribe looked on and frowned,

His little ones came chanting round

Hosanna to their King.







Lessons of Nature. 205



7.

THE OAK.



" What went ye out into the wilderness to see ? A reed shaken with the

rind ?"



COME take a woodland walk with me,

And mark the rugged old Oak Tree,

How steadily his arm he flings

Where from the bank the fresh rill springs,

And points the waters' silent way

Down the wild maze of reed and spray.

Two furlongs on they glide unseen,

Known only by the livelier green.



There stands he, in each time and tide,

The new-born streamlet's guard and guide.

To him spring shower and summer sun,

Brown autumn, winter's sleet, are one.

But firmest in the bleakest hour

He holds his root in faith and power,

The splinter'd bark, his girdle stern,

His robe, grey moss and mountain fern.







206 Lessons of Nature.



Mark's! thou in him no token true



Of heaven's own Priests, both old and new ?



In penitential garb austere



Fix'd in the wild, from year to year



The lessons of stern love to teach,



To penitents and children preach,



Bold words and eager glances stay,



And gently level JESUS' way ?







Lessons of Nature. 207







8.







THE PALM.







" Palma virens semper manet conservatione et diuturnitate, non im.-

mutatione foliorum." St. Ambrose, Hexaemeron, iii. 71.







WHY of all the woodland treasure,

Holy Palm, art thou preferred,

When the voice of praise is heard,



When we tread our thankful measure ?

Why before our Saviour borne ?

Why by glorious Spirits worn ?



Is it for thy verdure, brightest



In the zone of colours bright ?

Or that with aerial height



Thou the genial clime requitest,



Like courageous mountain maid,

Nor of sun nor air afraid ?







208 Lessons of Nature.



Is it that in antique story



Conquerors own'd thee for their meed ?



Nay, thine honours are decreed

For thy green unchanging glory,



Wearing thy first leafy crown,



Till thy vigorous life die down.



Pines may tower, and laurels flourish

Deathless green is only thine ;

Type of hearts which airs divine



Cheer, and high communions nourish,

Hearts on whose pure virgin wreath

Sin indulg'd might never breathe.







Lessons of Nature. 209







9.

THE WATERFALL.



" Ye also as lively stones, are built up, a spiritual House."

" I will make thy seed as the dust of the Earth."



" WHAT is the Church, and what am I ?

A world, to one poor sandy grain,

A waste of sea and sky

To one frail drop of rain.



" What boots one feeble infant tone

To the full choir denied or given,

Where millions round the Throne

Are chanting, morn and even ?"



Nay, the kind Watchers hearkening there

Distinguish in the deep of song

Each little wave, each air

Upon the faltering tongue.







210 Lessons of Nature.



Each half note in the great Amen,

Even by the utterer's self unheard,

They store : O fail not then

To bring thy lowly word :



Spare not to swell the bold acclaim :

So in the future battle-shout,

When at the Saviour's Name

The Church shall call thee out,



No doubtful sound thy trump shall pour.

Remember, when in earlier days

Thou toil'dst upon the floor

Palace or tower to raise,



No mimic stone but found a place,

And glorious to the builder shone

The pile : then how should Grace

One living gem disown,



One pearly mote, one diamond small,

One sparkle of th' unearthly light ?

Go where the waters fall



Sheer from the mountain's height







The Waterfall. 211



Mark how, a thousand streams in one,

One in a thousand, on they fare,

Now flashing to the sun,

Now still as beast in lair.



Now round the rock, now mounting o'er,

In lawless dance they win their way,

Still seeming more and more

To swell as we survey.



They win their way, and find their rest

Together in their ocean home.

From East and weary West,



From North and South they come.



They rush and roar, they whirl and leap,

Not wilder drives the wintry storm :

Yet a strong law they keep,



Strange powers their course inform.



Even so the mighty sky-born Stream :

Its living waters from above

All marr'd and broken seem,

No union and no love.







212 Lessons of Nature.



Yet in dim caves they haply blend,

In dreams of mortals unespied :

One is their awful End,

One their unfailing Guide.



We that with eye too daring seek



To scan their course, all giddy turn :

Not so the floweret meek,

Harebell or nodding fern :



They from the rocky wall's steep side

Lean without fear, and drink the spray ;

The torrent's foaming pride

But keeps them green and gay.



And Christ hath lowly hearts, that rest

Amid fallen Salem's rush and strife :

The pure, peace-loving breast

Even here can find her life.



What though in harsh and angry note

The broken flood chafe high ? they muse

On mists that lightly float,

On heaven-descending dews,







The Waterfall. 213



On virgin snows, the feeders pure



Of the bright river's mountain springs :

And still their prayers endure,

And Hope sweet answer brings.



If of the Living Cloud they be

Baptismal drops, and onward press

Toward the Living Sea

By deeds of holiness,



Then to the Living Waters still



(O joy with trembling !) they pertain,

Joined by some hidden rill,

Low in Earth's darkest vein.



Scorn not one drop : of drops the shower

Is made, of showers the waterfall :

Of children's souls the Power

Doomed to be Queen o'er all.







214 Lessons of Nature.







10.



THE STARRY HEAVENS.



" So shall thy seed be."



" MORE and more Stars ! and ever as I gaze



Brighter and brighter seen !

Whence come they, Father ? trace me out their ways



Far in the deep serene."

My child, these eyes of mine but faintly show



One step on earth below :

And even our wisest may but dream, they say,

Of what is done on high, by yon empyreal ray.



Thou know'st at deepening twilight, how afar



On heath or mountain down

The shepherds kindle many an earthly star,



How from the low damp town

We through the mist the lines of torchlight trace



In dwellings proud or base :



But whom they light, what deeds and words are there,

We know but this alone 'tis well if all be prayer.







The Starry Heavens. 215



Whether on lonely shades the pale sad ray



From a sick chamber fall,

Or amid thousands more beam glad and gay



From mirthful bower or hall,

If pure the joy, and patient be the woe,



Heaven's breath is there, we know :

And surely of yon lamps on high we deem

As of pure worlds, whereon the floods of mercy

stream.



Yea, in each keen heart-thrilling glance of theirs



Of other stars we read,

Stars out of sight, souls for whom Love prepares



A portion and a meed

In the supernal Heavens for evermore,



When sun and moon are o'er ;

Fixed in the deep of grace and song, as these

In the blue skies, and o'er the far-resounding seas.



More and more Stars, here in our outward Heaven,



More and more Saints above !

But to the wistful gaze the sight is given,



The vision to meek love,







216 Lessons of Nature.



Love taught of old to treasure and embalm



Whate'er in morning calm

Or evening soft steals from the gracious skies,

The dry ground freshening with the dews of Paradise.



All humble holy gleams I bid thee seek,



Dim lingering here below ;

So shall the Almighty give a tongue to speak,



A heart to read and know

Of Saints at Home, robed and in glory crowned.



Dews on the lowly ground

May to the downward eye true token yield,

Yea even in glaring morn, of midnight Heaven's pure

field.



Stars to the childish eye may gathered seem



Into strange shapes and wild,

Lion or Eagle, Bear or Harp such dream



As heathen hearts beguiled :

Or as a flock untended, roaming wide



Heaven's waste from side to side :

But of a central glory sages sing,

Whence all may be discerned in clear harmonious ring.







The Starry Heavens. 217



Such are Saints' ways the forms so manifold



Our mystic Mother wears,

O far unlike our dreamings, young and old !



But Faith still onward fares,

Love-guided, heaven-attracted, till she reach



The orb whence all and each

By golden threads of order and high grace

Are pendant evermore, all beauteous, all in place.



More and more Stars ! behold yon hazy arch,



Spanning the vault on high,

By planets traversed in majestic march,



Seeming to earth's dull eye

A breath of misty light : but take thou wing



Of Faith, and upward spring :

Into a thousand stars the blended light

Will part ; each star a world with its own day and

night.



Not otherwise of yonder Saintly host



Upon the glorious shore

Deem thou. He marks them all ; not one is lost ;



By name He counts them o'er.







218 Lessons of Nature.



Full many a soul, to man's dim praise unknown,



May on its glory-throne



As brightly shine, and prove as strong in prayer,

As theirs, whose separate beams shoot keenest through

this air.



My child, even now I see thy tender breath



Full quickly come and go

At sound of praise. may the touch of Faith



Those chords so fine and low

Early controul, and tune thy heart too high



For aught beneath the sky.

So may that little spark of glory swell

To a full orb, and soar with loftiest Saints to dwell.







219







* Wessons of







i.



ISAAC ON MORIAH.



" Abide you here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship.



DREAD was the mystery on Moriah's hill :

Low on the ridge the cloud of morning lay :



From each dark fold, along each gliding rill,



Strange whispers from the mountain met our way.



But we must wait below, and upward gaze,



While toward the mount the father and the son



Pursue their course, soon in that awful haze

To vanish, till the appointed deed be done.



So when the Lord for some parental heart

Prepares a martyr's crown, He calls on high



Father and child, in His still shrine apart

To learn His lore of healing agony.







220 Lessons of Grace.



We may but stay without, and wondering pray ;



Unknown to us that deep of love and woe,

The knife in Abraham's hand upraised to slay,



Meek Isaac bound and waiting for the blow.



Weak as the echo of some distant knell,



Borne now and then on breathing winds of eve,



Comes to our ear the sound : " I see full well



The fire and wood ; but who the Lamb will give ?"



Fitful and faint, should Angel bless our dream,

The memory now would fleet and now abide.



Such to our hearts the stern sweet form may seem

Of him who said, " The Almighty will provide."



Not even to dwellers on the mystic height,

Not to the Saints, is full enlightening given :



The Cross, they hold by, towers beyond their sight,

On the hill peak opens a deeper heaven.



Yea, though in one were gathered all the woes

That mourners e'er on household altars laid,



Widows' and orphans' tears, untimely throes,

Fears, that the memory of loved souls o'ershade,







Isaac on Moriah. 221



What were it all, to match one drop of Thine,

One bitter drop, poured on Thy mountain here



In Thine own hour ? O joy ! that Blood. is mine :

For us it flowed, even as for Saint and seer.



Well may we mourn our dull cold heart, and eye

That up the mount of glorious sacrifice



Sees such a little way : yet kneel we nigh :

Turn not away : let prayer in gloom arise.



He who beside His own the Cross allows

Of penitential grief ; who to each Saint



Calls from His height of woe ; His bleeding brows

Will meekly droop to hear our breathing faint.







222 Lessons of Grace.







2.







SONG OF THE MANNA-GATHERERS.



" This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.



COMRADES, haste ! the tent's tall shading



Lies along the level sand

Far and faint : the stars are fading



O'er the gleaming western strand.

Airs of morning



Freshen the bleak burning land.



Haste, or ere the third hour glowing



With its eager thirst prevail

O'er the moist pearls, now bestrewing



Thymy slope and rushy vale,

Dews celestial,



Left when earthly dews exhale.







Song of the Manna- Gatherers. 223



Ere the bright good hour be wasted,



Glean, not ravening, nor in sloth :

To your tent bring all untasted ;



To thy Father, nothing loth,

Bring thy treasure :



Trust thy God, and keep thy troth.



Trust Him : care not for the morrow :



Should thine omer overflow,

And some poorer seek to borrow,



Be thy gift nor scant nor slow.

Wouldst thou store it ?



Ope thine hand, and let it go.







Trust His daily work of wonder,

Wrought in all His people's sight :



Think on yon high place of thunder,

Think upon the unearthly light



Brought from Sinai,

When the prophet's face grew bright.







224 Lessons of Grace.



Think, the Glory yet is nigh thee,

Power unfelt arrests thine arm,



Love aye watching, to deny thee

Stores abounding to thy harm.



Kich and needy,

All are levelled by Love's charm.







Sing we thus our songs of labour

At our harvest in the wild,



For our God and for our neighbour,

Till six times the morn have smiled,



And our vessels

Are with two-fold treasure piled.







For that one, that heavenly morrow,

We may care and toil to-day :



Other thrift is loss and sorrow,

Savings are but thrown away.



Hoarded manna !

Moths and worms shall on it prey.







Song of the Manna-Gatherers. 225



While the faithless and unstable



Mars with work the season blest,

We around Thy heaven-sent table



Praise Thee, Lord, with all our best.

Signs prophetic



Fill our week, both toil and rest.







Comrades, what our sires have told us

Watch and wait, for it will come :



Smiling vales shall soon enfold us

In a new and vernal Home :



Earth will feed us

From her own benignant womb.







We beside the wondrous river

In the appointed hour shall stand,



Following, as from Egypt ever,



Thy bright Cloud and outstretched Hand



In thy shadow

We shall rest, on Abraham's land.







Q







226 Lessons of Grace.



Not by manna showers at morning

Shall our board be then supplied,



But a strange pale gold, adorning

Many a tufted mountain's side,



Yearly feed us,

Year by year our murmurings chide.







There, no prophet's touch awaiting,

From each cool deep cavern start



Rills, that since their first creating

Ne'er have ceased to sing their part.



Oft we hear them

In our dreams, with thirsty heart.







Oh, when travel-toils are over,

When above our tranquil nest



All our guardian Angels hover,

Will our hearts be quite at rest ?



Nay, fair Canaan

Is not heavenly Mercy's best.







Song of the Manna-Gatherers. 227



Know ye not, our glorious Leader



Salem may but see, and die ?

Israel's guide and nurse and feeder



Israel's hope from far must eye,

Then departing



Find a worthier throne on high.



Dimly shall fond Fancy trace him,



Dim though sweet her dreams shall prove,



Wondering what high Powers embrace him,

Where in light he walks above,



Where in silence

Sleeping, hallows heath or grove.



Deeps of blessing are before us :



Only, while the desert sky

And the sheltering cloud hang o'er us,



Morn by morn, obediently,

Glean we Manna,



And the song of Moses try.







228 Lessons of Grace.







3.







THE GIBEONITES.



" I will follow upon mine enemies, and overtake them, neither will I

turn again till I have destroyed them."



" BEHOLD me, Lord, a worthless Gibeonite,

Unmeet to bear one burthen in thy sight,

To hew thy servants' wood, or water draw,

Yet trusted with thine own eternal Law.

The deadlier sure the guilt, the doom more drear,

Should Canaan powers prevail and they are near.

The world of Sense, five mighty Monarchs, hard

Upon me lies, and I thy robe have marr'd.

Chariot and horse they come, a fearful fray :

I cannot stand alone this evil day."

" Go, shamed and scared, seek Joshua in thy need,

Him and all Israel : they for thee shall plead.

Their voice hath power to stay the sun, and win

The frail fallen mourner time to hate his sin.







The Gibeonites. 229



But when their prayer hath laid the Tempter low,

Be sure thou crush him : deal out blow on blow ;

Set thy stern foot upon his neck, and hide

His corse, unpitying, in the dark cave's side ;

Nor venture but in thought to move the stones

That guard his place, lest even in those dry bones

Some quickening fiend the bold bad life renew,

And thou in sevenfold guilt thy heart's backsliding

rue."







230 Lessons of Grace.







4.







DAVID'S CHILDHOOD.



" Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings thou hast ordained

strength, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."



CHRISTIAN child, whoe'er thou be,

Purer oil than David knew,

Mingling with baptismal dew,



Heaven hath dropped on thee.



Strength is given thee, watch to keep

O'er the lamb He bought so dear,

Thine own soul to watch in fear :

Sleep no faithless sleep.



When the Lion and the Bear,



Childish Pride and childish Wrath,

Lay athwart thy morning path,

Thou didst win by prayer.







David's Childhood. 231



Now a mightier foe is nigh ;

Holy hands for a new strife

Thee have stored with ampler life :

Set thine heart on high.



Not with sword and shield and lance,

But with charm-words from our Book,

Gems from our baptismal Brook,

Meet his stern advance.



He through every gate of sense,

Eye and ear, taste, touch, and smell,

Fain would hurl the shafts of hell :

Seek thou strong defence.



Guard in time those portals five



"With the smooth stones from the Fount,

With the Law from God's own Mount :

So thy war shall thrive.



Keep thy staff, the Cross, in hand :

Thou shalt see the giant foe

By the word of Faith laid low,

O'er him conquering stand.







232 Lessons of Grace.



Mark and use the trial-hour :



When his whispers nearest sound,

Be thou then most faithful found,

Then tread down his power.



Stripling though thou be, and frail,

Thy right arm shall wield his sword,

Wield, and take his head abhorred,

Christ in thee prevail.







Lessons of Grace. 233







5.







ELIJAH AT SAREPTA.







" Make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after

make for thee and for thy son."







Lo, cast at random on the wild sea sand



A child low wailing lies :

Around, with eye forlorn and feeble hand,



Scarce heeding its faint cries,

The widowed mother in the wilderness

Gathers dry boughs, their last sad meal to bless.



But who is this that comes with mantle rude



And vigil-wasted air ?

Who to the famished cries, " Corne give me food,



I with thy child would share ?"

She bounteous gives : but hard he seems of heart,

Who of such scanty store would crave a part.







234 Lessons of Grace.



Haply the child his little hand holds forth,



That all his own may be.

Nay, simple one, thy mother's faith is worth



Healing and life to thee.



That handful given, for years ensures thee bread ;

That drop of oil shall raise thee from the dead.



' For in yon haggard form He begs unseen,



To Whom for life we kneel :

One little cake He asks with lowly mien,



Who blesses every meal.



Lavish for Him, ye poor, your children's store,

So shall your cruse for many a day run o'er.



And thou, dear child, though hungering, give glad

way



To JESUS in His need :

So thy blest mother at the awful day



Thy name in Heaven may read ;

So by His touch for ever mayst thou live,

Who asks our alms, and lends a heart to give.







Lessons of Grace. 235







6.







NAAMAN'S SERVANT.

" Who hath despised the day of small things ?"



" WHO for the like of me will care ?"

So whispers many a mournful heart,



When in the weary languid air

For grief or scorn we pine apart.



So haply mused yon little maid



From Israel's breezy mountains borne,



No more to rest in Sabbath shade

Watching the free and wavy corn.



A captive now, and sold and bought,

In the proud Syrian's hall she waits,



Forgotten such her moody thought

Even as the worm beneath the gates.







236 Lessons of Grace.



But One who ne'er forgets is here :

He hath a word for thee to speak :



Oh serve Him yet in duteous fear,

And to thy Gentile lord be meek.



So shall the healing Name be known

By thee on many a heathen shore,



And Naaman on his chariot throne

Wait humbly by Elisha's door ;



By thee desponding lepers know

The sacred waters' sevenfold might.



Then wherefore sink in listless woe ?



Christ's poor and needy, claim your right !



Your heavenly right, to do and bear

All for His sake ; nor yield one sigh



To pining Doubt ; nor ask, " What care

In the wide world for such as I ?"







Lessons of Grace, 237







7.







HEZEKIAH'S DISPLAY.



" There is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them."



WHEN Heaven in mercy gives thy prayers return,

And Angels bring thee treasures from on high,



Shut fast the door, nor let the world discern,

And offer thee fond praise when God is nigh.



In friendly guise, perchance with friendly heart,

From Babel, see, they haste with words of love :



But if thou lightly all thy wealth impart,

Their race will come again, and all remove.



Ill thoughts, the children of that King of Pride,

O'er richest halls will swarm, and holiest bowers,



Profaning first, then spoiling far and wide :



Voluptuous Sloth make free with Sharon's flowers.







238 Lessons of Grace.



Close thou the garden-gate, and keep the key,

There chiefly, where the tender seedlings fold



Their dainty leaves a treasure even to thee

Unknown, till airs celestial make them bold.



When sun and shower give token, freely then

The fragrance will steal out, the flower unclose :



But busy hands, and an admiring ken,



Have blighted ere its hour full many a rose.



Then rest thee, bright one, in thy tranquil nook,

Fond eyes to cherish thee, true arms to keep,



Nor wistful for the world's gay sunshine look ;

In its own time the light will o'er thee sweep,



Think of the babes of Judah's royal line :



Display but touched them with her parching glare



Once, and for ages four they bare the sign,

The fifth beheld them chained in Babel's lair.







Lessons of Grace. 239







ST. JOSEPH.

" He called His Name JESUS."



THE glorious Sun at morn



Draws round him a soft screen,

Clear haze, of light and moisture born ;

So are the bright forms seen,



His royal cradle round



Standing in meet array,

Clouds of all hues, not wholly drowned

In dazzling floods of day.



Thou temperest, Lord, the rays



Which in thy manger burn,

Till Faith in that deep glory-blaze

Dim shapes of earth discern :







240 Lessons of Grace.



The spotless Mother, first



Of creatures : His mild eye,

O favoured ! who her travail nursed,

And Thy dread infancy.



Him o'er Thee lowly bent,

Or meekly waiting nigh,

Or on some homely task intent,

Yet conscious who is by,



Or on the journey wild,



With duteous staff in hand,

Guiding the Mother and the Child

Across the sea of sand,



Thy Church in memory views ;



Nor can her babes aright

On Bethlehem or on Nazareth muse,

But he is still in sight.



balm to lonely hearts,



Who childless or bereft,

Yet round the cradle find their parts,

Their place and portion left







St. Joseph. 241







In bowers of home delight :

Yet may they draw full near,

And in the treasure claim their right,

Their share of smile and tear,



Of thrilling joys and cares.



" Father in God :" who knows

How near it brings us, unawares,

To true parental throes ?



Mightier perchance may prove



The lore the Font imparts



To strangers, than all yearning love



In heathen Mothers' hearts.



Whom JESUS Father owned,*



Though childless to our eyes,

Doubt not, his soul was higher toned

To parents' sympathies,



Than sires on earth may know :



And when His Octave came,

He o'er the Lord did first below

Speak the Most Holy Name.



* St. Luke ii. 48, 49.

R







242 Lessons of Grace.



Wherefore in chorus kind



Of household jubilee,

Name thou his name with willing mind,

Who spake Christ's Name o'er thee.



And when at holy tide,



Along the Church-way borne

Thou seest how babes in triumph ride

On arms by rude toil worn ;



Or mark'st, how well agree,



Both leading and both led,



Grey Poverty and childish Glee ;



Leave not His lore unread :



Then of Saint Joseph think,



And of his dread Nurse-Child.

Let eyes, that day, from evil shrink,

And hearts be undefiled.







Lessons of Grace, 243



9.



THE BOY WITH THE FIVE LOAVES.



" If thou hast little, do thy diligence gladly to give of that little."



WHAT time the Saviour spread His feast

For thousands on the mountain's side,

One of the last and least



The abundant store supplied.



Haply, the wonders to behold,

A boy 'mid other boys he came,

A lamb of JESUS' fold,



Though now unknown by name.



Or for his sweet obedient ways



The Apostles brought him near, to share

Their Lord's laborious days,

His frugal basket bear.



Or might it be his duteous heart

That led him sacrifice to bring

For his own simple part,



To the world's hidden King ?







244 Lessons of Grace.



Well may I guess how glow'd his cheek,

How he look'd down, half pride, half fear

Far off he saw one speak

Of him in JESUS' ear.



" There is a lad five loaves hath he,

And fishes twain : but what are they,

Where hungry thousands be ?"

Nay, Christ will find a way.



In order, on the fresh green hill,



The mighty Shepherd ranks His Sheep

By tens and fifties, still



As clouds when breezes sleep.



Oh who can tell the trembling joy,

Who paint the grave endearing look,

When from that favoured boy



The wondrous pledge He took ?



Keep thou, dear child, thine early word ;

Bring Him thy best : who knows but He

For His eternal board



May take some gift of thee ?







The Boy with the Fice Loaves. 245



Thou prayest without the veil as yet ;

But kneel in faith : an arm benign

Such prayer will duly set

Within the holiest shrine.



And Prayer has might to spread and grow.

Thy childish darts, right-aim'd on high,

May catch Heaven's fire, and glow

Far in the eternal sky :



Even as He made that stripling's store

Type of the Feast by Him decreed,

Where Angels might adore,

And souls for ever feed.







246 Lessons of Grace.



10.



THE MOURNERS FOLLOWING THE CROSS.



" Weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children."



THERE is no grief that ever wasted man,

But finds its hour here in Thine awful week,

And since all Mother's love from Thee began,

Sure none, like Thee, of Mother's woe can speak.

Thine ear prophetic, Lord, while angels wreak

The vengeance on Thine heritage defil'd,

While temples crash, and towers in ashes reek,

And with each gust some kingdom strews the wild,

Loses no lowly moan, no sigh of sobbing child.



Even so might seamen's wives at midnight drear

Lie listening to the blast, and tell aright

The tale of all the waves, that far and near

Break on the reef, yet miss no wailing slight

Of nestling babe, for wonder or delight

Uttering faint cries in sleep. O restless care !

Oh all foreseeing pity ! be our flight

In winter, soothing spells will He prepare,

And for His lambs allay the bleak heart-killing air.







The Mourners following the Cross. 247



Or if the holy Day the few brief hours

Of flight abridge, for nursing -mother frail,

For tender babe, Thou send'st Thine unseen powers

To help or hide : hide in the lowly vale,

Help o'er the weary mountain. Ne'er may fail

The prayer of helpless Faith ; but she must pray,

Her forceful knocking must Heaven's door assail :

For so of old He taught : " Pray that your way

Be not in winter wild, nor on the Sabbath Day."



The season He bids choose, who in strong hand

Winter and summer holds, and day and night,

Binding His sovereign will in Love's soft band ;

As parents teach their little ones to write

With gently-guiding finger, and delight

The wish and prayer to mould, then grant the boon :

Such is Thy silent grace, framing aright

Our lowly orisons in time and tune

To Litanies on high, controlling sun and moon.



And as the heart maternal evermore

Must rise in prayer, so the maternal feet

Must feel their dim way on the lonely shore,

Ere o'er the path the unpitying surges beat.







248 Lessons of Grace.



At early dawn, the fresh spring dews to greet,

I bid thee haste, else vainly wilt thou crave

An hour in winter. Fast the week-days fleet,

Slow speeds the work : the lingerers who shall save ?

Thy task ere Sunday end, thy life before the grave.



Who may the horror but in dream abide,

Breathless to knock, and by the portal wait

Where Saints have past behind their glorious Guide,

Then feel, not hear, the sad drear word, " Too late ?"

Woe, in that hour, to souls that seek the gate

Alone ! but deeper anguish, direr gloom,

If to thy bosom clinging, child or mate,

Pupil or friend, the heaven-prepared room,

Tardy through thee, should miss, and share the hopeless

doom !







Lessons of Grace. 249







11.







ST. ANDREW AND HIS CROSS.



" Where I am, there shall also my servant be."



O HOLY Cross, on thee to hang



At JESUS' side, and feel thee sweet,

And taste aright each healing pang,

What Saint, what Virgin Martyr e'er was meet ?



Two only of His own found grace

The very death He died to die.

Joyful they rush'd to thine embrace,

While Angel choirs, half envying, waited by.



Joyful they speed ; but how is this ?



Why doubt they yet, in JESUS' power

To grasp their crown of hard won bliss ?

Well have ye fought ; why faint in Victory's hour ?







250 Lessons of Grace.



Two brothers' hearts were they, the first



Who shone as stars in JESUS' Hand,

For thee in Prayer and Fasting nurs'd,

And bearing thee, dread Cross ! from land to land.



And now in wondrous sympathy,



When thou art nearer fain to draw,

These who had yearn'd so long for thee

Shrink from thy touch, and hide their eyes for awe.



He who denied he dares not scale

With forward step thy holy stair.

Best for his giddy heart and frail

In humblest penance to hang downward there.



And he, that saintly Elder meek,



Wont of old time to find and bring

Brother or friend with Christ to speak,

As worthier to behold the heart-searching King :



Ah little brook'd his lowly heart,



Such glorious crown should him reward.

He sought the way with duteous art

To change his Cross, yet suffer with his Lord.







St. Andrew and his Cross. 251



He sought and found : and now where'er



Saint Andrew's holy Cross we see,

In royal banner blazon'd fair,

Or in dread Cipher, Holiest Name, of thee,



A martyr'd form we may discern,



There bound, there preaching : Image meet

Of One uplifted high, to turn

And draw to Him all hearts in bondage sweet.



And as we gaze may He impart



The grace to bear what He shall send,

Yet stay the rash self-pleasing heart,

Too forward with His Cross our penal woe to blend.







252







antr







i.



PREPARING FOR SUNDAY SERVICES.



" As they went to tell His Disciples, JESUS met them, saying, ' All hail.' "



BEHOLD, athwart our woodland nest,



And down our misty vale,

From his own bright and quiet rest

The Sunday sun looks out, and seems to say, "All

hail."



True token of that brighter Day,

Which hailed, this matin hour,

The holy women on their way.



They sought His Church in love, He met them in His

power.







Preparing for Sunday Services. 253



And dare we the transporting word



To our own hearts apply ?

Trembling we dare ; for He had heard

Our lowly breathed vows, ere flamed yon morning sky.



We have been by His Cross and grave ;



His Angel bade us speed

Where they resort, whom He will save,

And hear and say as one, " The Lord is risen indeed."



Then speed we on our willing way,



And He our way will bless.

In fear and love thy heart array :

Straight be thy churchway path, unsoiled thy Sabbath

dress.







254 Holy Places and Things.



2.

WALK TO CHURCH.



" The path of the Just is as the shining light, which shineth more and

more unto the perfect day."



Now the holy hour is nigh,



Seek we out the holy ground ;

Overhead the breezy sky,



Rustling woodlands all around :

Fragrant steams from oak-leaves sere,



Peat and moss and whortles green,

Dews that yet are glistening clear



Through their brown or briary screen.



Hie we through the autumnal wood,



Pausing where the echoes dwell,

Boys, or men of boyish mood,



Trying how afar they swell.

Haply down some opening glade



Now the old grey tower we see,

Underneath whose solemn shade



JESUS risen hath sworn to be.







Walk to Church. 255



He hath sworn, for there will meet



Two or three in His great name,

Waiting till their incense sweet



Feel His heaven -descended flame.

Day by day that old grey tower



Tells its tale, and week by week

In their tranquil hoary bower



To the unlearned its shadows speak.







256 Holy Places and Things.







3.







THE LICH-GATE.



" Keep thy foot when thou goest to the House of God."



THIS is the portal of the dead.



Nay, shrink not so, my fair-eyed boy,

But on the threshold grating tread

With wary softness : tame the joy,

The wildfire keen, that all the way

Even from our porch at home hath danced with thee

so gay.



This is the holy resting-place,



Where coffins and where mourners wait,



Till the stoled priest hath time to pace

His path toward this eastern gate,

Like one who bears a hidden seal

Of pardon from a king, where rebels trembling kneel.







The Lich-gate. 257



Brief is the pause, but thoughts and dreams



By thousands on that moment crowd,

- Of clouds departing, opening gleams,

A waning lamp, a brightening shroud :

Such visions fill the longing eyes

As haply haunt the space 'twixt earth and Paradise.







Such visions in the churchyard air

Are gleaming, fluttering all around.



O scare them not away : beware

Of bolder cry and ruder bound.

Thick as the bees that love to play

Under the lime-tree leaves the livelong summer day,



And tunable as their soft song,



And fragrant as the honey'd flowers



They haunt and cherish, is the throng



Of thoughts in these our hallowed bowers.

On every gale that stirs the yew

They float, and twinkle in each drop of morning dew.







258 Holy Places and Things.



Oh then revere each old grey stone,



And gently tread the mounds between.

So when thy blithesome days are done,

And thou, as I, shalt wearied lean

Upon the wicket low, and tell



Thy tale of playmates called before thee here to

dwell ;



When thou shalt mark, how swarms the street



With boys at play, the turf with graves,

All in one little hour to meet



And hear the doom that slays or saves ;

Fresh may the memory prove and dear,

How thou hast come and gone, since first we brought

thee here.



Then shall the wings, so strong in need,



Which met thee at the Font that hour,

And homeward joy'd with thee to speed,

O'ershade the'e still in love and power,

And with the churchyard shadows blend,

Which thy last entering here shall in sweet peace

attend.







Holy Places and Things. 259



4

OBEISANCE AT ENTERING CHURCH.



They shall see His Face, and His Name shall be in their foreheads."



COME hear with duteous mind



Thy Mother's whisper'd word.

" Wouldst thou upon His threshold find



Thy dread and loving Lord ?

Renew in silence on thy brow

The pledge of thy first saving vow."



Safe in thy forehead keep



The mark by JESUS set.

Before thee is a mighty deep,



A baptism waits thee yet :

As Lazarus rising, such thou art,

Thy soul and flesh again to part.



But when thy Lord and thou,

Thou from the grave, and He

From Heaven, shall meet, upon thy brow



A glorious Cross shall be,

A Light that needs no watching o'er,

Even as He rose, and died no more.







260 Holy Places and Things.







5.



THE EMPTY CHURCH.



" The blind and the lame came to Him in the temple."



WHY should we grudge the hour and house of prayer

To Christ's own blind and lame,

Who come to meet Him there ?

Better, be sure, His altar-flame

Should glow in one dim wavering spark,

Than quite die down, and leave His temple drear and

dark.







" But in our Psalm their choral answers fail."

Nay, but the heart may speak,

And to the holy tale

Respond aright in silence meek.

And well we know, bright angel throngs

Are by, to swell those whisperings into warbled songs,







The Empty Church. 261



What if the world our two or three despise ?

They in His name are here,

To Whom in suppliant guise

Of old the blind and lame drew near.

Beside His royal courts they wait

And ask His healing Hand : we dare not close the

gate.







262 Holy Places and Things.







6.







CHURCH DECORATIONS.



" I will not offer burnt-offerings without cost."



" WHY deck the high cathedral roof



With foliage rich and rare,

With crowns and flowerets far aloof,



To none but Angels fair ?



" Why for the lofty Altar hide

Thy gems and gold in store ?



Why spread the burnished pall so wide

Upon the chancel floor ?"



Nay, rather ask, why duteous boy



And mother-loving maid

Scarce in their filial gifts find joy,



If nought of theirs be paid :







Church Decorations. 263



Why hearts, that true love-tokens need



For brother or for friend,

Count not the cost with careful heed,



But haste their all to spend :



Ask why of old the favoured king



Enquired the Temple's price,

Not bearing to his Lord to bring



An unbought sacrifice.



Yea, lowly fall, and of thy Lord



In silence ask and dread,

Why praised He Mary's ointment, poured



Upon His Sacred Head.







264 Holy Places and Things.



7.



CHURCH WINDOWS.



" The Lord my God shall come, and all the Saints with Thee : and it

shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark."



OPT have I heard our elders say,



How sad the autumnal hour,

How rude the touch of stern decay,

How fast the bright hues melt away



In mountain, sky, and bower !



Yet is it dear delight to me



The rustling leaves to tread,

To heap and toss them wild and free,

Their fragrance breathe, and o'er them see



Soft evening lustre shed.



And some will say, 'tis drear and cold



In holy Church to kneel

With one or two, Christ's little fold,

With blind and lame, with poor and old,



There met for Him to heal.







Church Windows. 265



Nay, look again : the Saints are there ;



Christ's ever-glowing Light

Through heavenly features grave and fair

Is gleaming ; all the lonely air



Is thronged with shadows bright.



The Saints are there : the Living Dead,



The Mourners glad and strong ;

The sacred floor their quiet bed,

Their beams from every window shed,



Their voice in every song.



And haply where I kneel, some day,



From yonder gorgeous pane

The glory of some Saint will play :

Not lightly may it pass away,



But in my heart remain.







266 Holy Places and Things.







8.



RELICS AND MEMORIALS.



" As the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land."



THE Twelve holy men are gathered in prayer,

The Psalm mounts on high, the Spirit descends :

A keen silent thrilling is round them in air,

A Power from the Highest with thought and word

blends.



They pass by the way, to sight poor and mean.

How glorious the train that streams to and fro !

The blind, dumb, halt, withered, by hundreds are



seen,

The prisoners of Satan lie chained where they go.



O lay them but where the shadow may fall

Of Christ's awful Saint, to prayer as he speeds :

The mighty love-token all fiends shall appal,

A gale breathe from Eden, assuaging all needs.







Relics and Memorials. 267



Or bring where they lie Paul's girdle or vest :

One touch and one word : the pain fleets away,

The dark hour of frenzy is charmed into rest :

The hem of Christ's garment all creatures obey.



Christ is in His Saints : from Godhead made Man

The virtue goes out, the whole world to bless.

O'er lands parched and weary that shadow began

To spread from Saint Peter, and ne'er shall grow less.







See Acts iv. and v.







268 Holy Places and Things.







9.







CARVED ANGELS.



" Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones : for in Heaven

their angels do always behold the Face of My Father."



GREATEST art Thou in least, O Lord,



And even thy least are great in Thee :

A mote in air, a random word,



Shall save a soul if Thou decree :



Much more their presence sweet,



Whom with an oath Thou didst into thy Kingdom

greet.



A little child's soft sleeping face



The murderer's knife ere now hath staid :

The adulterous eye, so foul and base,

Is of a little child afraid.



They cannot choose but fear,



Since in that sign they feel God and good Angels

near.







Carved Angels. 269



For by the Truth's sure oath we know,

There is no christened babe but owns

A Watcher mightier than his foe,

One of the everlasting Thrones,

Who in high Heaven His face

Beholding ever, best His likeness here may trace.



As in each tiny drop of dew,



Glistening at prime of morn, they mark

Of Heaven's great Sun an image true,

Hear their own chantings in the Lark,



So, sleeping or awake,



They love to tend their babes for holy Bethlehem's

sake.



And so this whole fallen world of ours,



To us all care, and sin, and spite,

Is even as Eden's stainless bowers

To the pure spirits out of sight,



To Angels from above,

And souls of infants, sealed by new -creating Love.







270 Holy Places and Things.



Heaven in the depth and height is seen ;



On high among the stars, and low

In deep clear waters : all between

Is earth, and tastes of earth : even so



The Almighty one draws near

To strongest seraphs there, to weakest infants here.



And both are robed in white, and both



On evil look unharmed, and wear

A ray so pure, ill Powers are loth

To linger in the keen bright air.



As Angels wait in joy

On Saints, so on the old the duteous-hearted boy.



God's Angels keep the eternal round



Of praise on high, and never tire.



His Lambs are in His Temple found



Early, with all their hearts' desire.



They boast not to be free,



They grudge not to their Lord meek ear and bended

knee.







Carved Angels. 271



O well and wisely wrought of old,



Nor without guide, be sure, who first

Did cherub forms as infants mould,



And lift them where the full deep burst



Of awful harmony



Might need them most, to waft it onward to the

sky :



Where best they may in watch and ward



Around the enthroned Saviour stand,

May quell, with sad and stern regard,

Unruly eye and wayward hand,



May deal the blessed dole

Of saving knowledge round from many a holy scroll.



What if in other lines than ours



They write, in other accents speak ?



There are whom watchful Love empowers



To read such riddles ; duteous seek,



And thou shalt quickly find.

The Mother best may tell the eager babe's deep mind.







272 Holy Places and Things.



Haply some shield their arms embrace,

Rich with the Lord's own blazonry.

The Cross of His redeeming grace,



Or His dread Wounds, we there descry.



His standard-bearers they :

Learn we to face them on the dread Procession Day.



And O ! if aught of pride or lust



Have soiled thee in the world, take heed :

Entering, shake off the mire and dust.

Angelic eyes are keen, to read



By the least lightest sign,

When we foul idle thoughts breathe in the air divine.



And how, but by their whisperings soft,



Feel virgin hearts when sin is near,



Sin even in dreams unknown ? Full oft



Such instinct we may mark in fear,



Nor our own ill endure



In presence of Christ's babes, and of their Guardians

pure.







Holy Places and Things. 273







10.

CHURCH RITES.



" Christ is all, and in all."



THE wedding guests are met,



The urns are duly set,

Even as the Lord had taught his own of old.



Filled are they to the height



With water pure and bright :

Now pour them out 'tis done, and purest wine behold.



The bridegroom kneels beside



His bashful loving bride ;

Earth on that hour seems showering all her best.



But more than Earth e'er knew



He wins, if hearts be true :

An Angel friend, to share his everlasting rest.



A babe in deep repose

Where holy water flows



Is bathed, while o'er him holiest words are said.

T







274 Holy Places and Things.



A child of wrath he came

Now hath he JESUS' Name :

A glory like a Saint's surrounds his favoured head.



A mortal youth I saw



Nigh to God's Altar draw

And lowly kneel, while o'er him pastoral hands



Were spread with many a prayer,



And when he rose up there,

He could undo or bind the dread celestial bands.



When Bread and Wine he takes,



And of Christ's Passion makes

Memorial high before the Mercy Throne,



Faith speaks, and we are sure



That offering good and pure

Is more than Angels' bread to all whom Christ will own.



Mid mourners I have stood,



And with sad eye pursued

The coffin sinking in the grave's dark shade :



The immortal life, we know,



Dwells there with hidden glow,

Brightly to burn one day when sun and stars shall fade.







Church Rites. 275



What is this silent might,



Making our darkness light,

New wine our waters, heavenly Blood our wine ?



Christ, with His Mother dear,



And all His Saints, is here,



And where they dwell is Heaven, and what they

touch, divine.



The change of water into wine was believed by the ancients to typify

that change which St. Paul in particular so earnestly dwells on : " Old

things are passed away: behold, all things are become new." And St.

John, " He that sitteth on the Throne saith, Behold, 1 make all things

new " Accordingly St. Cyprian applies this first miracle to the admission

of the Gentiles into the Church. (Ep. 63. ed. Fell.) And St. Augustine,

to the evangelical interpretation of the Old Testament. (In Joan. Tract.

8.) And St. Cyril of Alexandria (in loc.) to the Spirit superseding the

letter. This then being the " beginning of miracles," a kind of pattern of

the rest, showed how Christ's glory was to be revealed in the effects of

His Sacramental Touch ; whether immediately, as when He touched the

leper and healed him : or through the hem of His garment : or by Saints,

His living members, according to His Promise, "The icorks that I doshaU

ye do also: and greater works than these shall ye do, because I go unto

my Father." Thus, according to the Scriptures, the Sacramental Touch

of the Church is the Touch of Christ : and her system is " deifica disci-

plina," a rule which, in some sense, makes men gods, and the human,

divine ; and all this depends on the verity of the Incarnation, therefore

His Mother is especially instrumental in it ; besides being, as nearest to

Him, the most glorious instance of it. " The Mother of Jesus is there,

and both Jesus and His Disciples are called," (He as the Bridegroom

and Author of the whole mystery, they as ministers, servants, and instru

ments,) to this mysterious "marriage," or Communion of Saints.







276 Holy Places and Things.







11.



WHITE APPAREL.

I. THE CHRISOM.



" These are they which have washed their robes, and made them white

in the Blood of the Lamb."



ALL gorgeous hues are in the pure white beam,

All Christian graces in one drop of Love

That sparkles from the bright baptismal stream

Over the fair young brow, where gently move

Christ's dawning rays. Therefore the veil ye wove,

Good Angels, under Bethlehem's healing star,

Whose virtue this our new-born joy shall prove,

Is spotless white : and from its folds afar,

Even as from banner waved in Angels' war,

The dark Powers flee. But thou, heaven-honoured



child,



Let no earth-stain thy robe of glory mar :

Wrap it around thy bosom undefiled ;

Yet spread it daily in the clear Heaven's sight,

To be new -bathed in its own native Light.







White Apparel 277







11.



WHITE APPAREL.



II. THE SUNDAY DRESS.



" Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments."



So keep thou, by calm prayer and searching thought,

Thy Chrisom pure, that still as weeks roll by,

And Heaven rekindles, gladdening earth and sky,

The glow that from the grave our Champion brought,

Pledge of high victory by His dread Wounds wrought,

Thou mayst put on the garb of Purity,

And from thy prayer look up with open eye,

Him owning, who from shame and sinful blot

Hath kept thee safe, nor suffered base desire

Thy soul to haunt, unhallowing the good hour.

Then on thy way to church rejoicing fare,

Yet heedful, gathering up from earthly mire

The glittering folds : for even in Sunday air

Foul spirits love to lurk with tainting power.







278 Holy Places and Things.







11.



WHITE APPAREL.

III. CONFIRMATION.



" Ye shall be as the wings of a Dove, that is covered with silver wings.'



SPEED on, ye happy Sunday hours, O speed

The moment when a richer gift shall crown

A riper faith : when Childhood, casting down

Her innocent vesture, the pure Chrisom weed,

Shall claim the sevenfold radiance, erst decreed

Where true hearts kneel 'neath Apostolic hands.

White are his mantle folds, who ready stands

Before the shrine, to bless and intercede :

And duteous maidens, skilful in Love's law,

Unbidden use in stainless white to come :

As doves, that to the bright clouds upward draw,

Plume the soft lily breast, the more to win

Of splendour from the Light's far cloudless home.

O deep, that hour, the bliss or curse within !







White Apparel. 279



11.



WHITE APPAREL.

IV. PRIESTS IN WHITE.



" When they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed

with linen garments."



AND even the very walls of the dread place,

And the tall windows with their breathing lights,

Speak to the adoring heart, and say, No base

Or week-day garb may him beseem, who writes

God's message here in hearts of men, invites

To the bright nuptial feast of joy and grace.

But Angels waiting on our awful rites

Should in our frail and mortal Angel trace

Some hue of their own robes, what time they raise

The censer, heaped with prayer, before the tjirone :

And Innocents, in wonder moved to gaze

On the new glory, mantling forms well-known,

Should ask and learn the clue to Angels' ways :

" The vision is for the pure heart alone."







280 Holy Places and Things.







11.

WHITE APPAREL.



V. CHORISTERS IN WHITE.



" the Levites which were the singers, with their sons and their



brethren, being arrayed in white linen."



WITHIN a reverend Minster I have stood,



As one to whom, for many a godless deed,



The Choir was clos'd : fit penance and due meed



Sad conscience own'd it : one by one I view'd



With wistful eye the entering multitude.



At last with joyous step, but sober heed



Of holy things, like fawns in forest mead,



Timid yet happy, the white-robed brood



Of Choristers swept by : then musings came,



" What happier dawn of being than to meet



Matins and vespers here with punctual feet ?



What happier close, than here in peace to lay,



Wearing the white robe still, th' exhausted frame,



And so, through life, Heaven's garb and speech assay ?"







THute Apparel. 281







11.

WHITE APPAREL.



VI. BRIDAL WHITE.



" And unto her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,

white and clean."



ONCE more unto thine Altar, Lord, once more,

In vesture of thy Saints : for Joy and Love

Have vow'd, to day, their best on earth to prove, -

And Pureness, guardian sole of their rich store

Of blessing and delight. Arm we the more

Both heart and limb with brightness from above :

So may we scare the noisome beasts that rove

There busiest, where Earth's rapture most runs o'er.

Well are they warn'd, who in that dangerous bliss

May on some Innocent look down, array'd

In bridal white, flower of the nuptial band,

Unconscious, yet o'erjoy'd : nor far amiss

Deem they perchance, who in that smiling maid

Heaven's youngest Angel see, with wreath in hand.







282 Holy Places and Things.







11.



WHITE APPAREL.



VII. PENITENTS IN WHITE.



" Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him."



BUT what if chrisom robes be sin-defil'd,



If nuptial white of broken vows bear trace,



If he who daily in the holy Place



Wears the bright albe, in heart be gross and wild,



So that the stones, whereon the shrine is pil'd,



Seem to cry out, " Who hath requir'd this grace



Of thee, the consecrated floor to pace,



Thrice pledg'd and thrice forsworn ?" O Saviour mild,



Hast Thou, for these, a white robe yet in store ?



Yea : the Church path is by the fount of tears,



And a grave Angel stands beside the door,



Laden with vests for contrite pilgrims meet.



Him trust with all ; sad memories and dim fears ;



Then kneel in white before the Mercy-seat.







White Apparel. 283







11.



WHITE APPAREL.



VIII. WHITE UPON THE ALTAR.



" He bought fine linen, and took Him down, and wrapped Him in the

linen."



O LORD, give gracious humbleness of heart,

And chaste and grave imaginings, in awe

Veiled evermore, that as we nearer draw

To thy tremendous Altar, or impart

Unto thy little ones the skill and art

Of holy things, and the mysterious law

Whereby Faith sees whate'er Apostles saw,

No ill may glance or eye or mind athwart.

So unreproved may we to babes declare

The secret of the Altar's snow-white pall,

And of the linen garment, bright and fair,

Spread o'er the glorious Sacrifice when all

Have tasted. 'Tis as JESUS' winding sheet,

And theirs, who die clasping His sacred Feet.







284 Holy Places and Things.







11.



WHITE APPAREL.



IX. THE WINDING SHEET.



" Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon."



PUKE is the glory of the Chrisom vest ;



Joyous the Sunday-robe ; all hope and might



The heavenly gleam, when dovelike wings alight



On the twice-sealed brow ; benignly rest



The smiles of Angels on the mitred crest



And flowing skirt of Priests, whose stainless white



The heart belies not ; or on striplings bright,



Glancing like spirits through the region blest ;



Or on glad bridal train, around the shrine



Gathered with starlike and unchanging gleam ;



But most where dimly robes of penance shine.



Yet all is vain, if the last glory fail,



If with the cold pale shroud the Font's pure beam



Blend not, and o'er all hues of death prevail.







Holy Places and Things. 285







12.







REDBREAST IN CHURCH.



" The creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption

into the glorious liberty of the children of God."



WHAT is this sudden thrill



Of notes so sweet and keen ?

The organ's waves of sound are still



Within the awful screen.

In prayer are bowed both head and knee,

And yet unbidden rings and free



A chant from one unseen.



A winged chorister



From his arched nook on high

Makes in the calm a gladsome stir,



His proper melody :

A Redbreast blithe, his evening hymn

Trying amid the shadows dim,



Attracts both ear and eye.







286 Holy Places and Things.



Nor time nor tune are there,

Yet sounds the unruly joy

Meet for the hour, nor spoils the prayer



Even of the gazing boy.

It seems to say, Not man alone

Lives in the shade of JESUS' Throne,

And shares the Saints' employ.



The Angels out of sight



"Worship with us, we know ;



And who can say what pure warm light

The unreasoning tribes below



May by their kindly wafting feel ?



What gleams to guide, what balms to heal

From Christ on earth may flow ?



Bird, beast, and insect hail



Warm sun and fragrant shower.

The sheep in Bethlehem's thymy dale,



In Blessed Mary's bower

The ox and ass to them was given

To see our Lord : the Light of Heaven

Fell on them in that hour.







Redbreast in Church. 287



And since our Lord she bare



In triumph to His place,

One patient beast hath seemed to wear



The mark of His high grace,

His token to dumb creatures, freed

From slavery and unholy deed,



From cruel tasks and base :



Freed by the mighty Cross,



And pure. O mark it, all

Who bear that sign ! O fear and loss,



Should ye again enthrall

To woe and wrong His creatures, sealed

For blessing, aid to earn and yield,



As ere our father's fall !







288 Holy Places and Things.



13.

DISUSE OF EXCOMMUNICATION.



" Having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience

is fulfilled."



O WONDROUS warfare of the Spouse of God,

Trampled to earth, yet wielding bolts so keen,



She dares not hurl them in her wrath abroad,

Only their ireful lustre glares half-seen.



For if she once unlock her quivered store,



Once speak the words that in her bosom dwell,



Earth could not bear the sound ; the anguish sore

Might drive her haughtiest to the scourge and cell.



For she hath power to shut the Heaven on high,

Oft as in hallowed air her dread notes thrill,



That no shower fall : and she may smite and try

Earth with all plagues, as often as she will.



Only her potent arm now for a space



Lies withered : quenched and dull her arrowy fires,

Like smouldering brands in daylight, till her race



Wake, as of old, to heaven-born high desires.







Disuse of Excommunication. 289



But would one Church Christ's awful lore obey,

Like Saints of old, one household, one true heart,



Such sacrifice might open the dread way

For the Old Signs, for Paul's or Moses' art.



Darkness and mist, at one stern word of thine,

Might even on scorners' outward eyes descend ;



Fire might break out of each insulted shrine,

Thy locusts spoil them, and thy lions rend.



Haunt us, dire thought ! where'er we walk in sin

That mighty secret Power is all our foe :



But they who bear unharm'd Heaven's seal within

May through the penal fires rejoicing go.



So when the storm is rife among the hills,

Roused on his heathery bed the mountain boy



To every flash that through the dim air thrills



Keeps time with eager hands, and screams for joy.



Note from the Life of Sir Walter Scott, i. 83. "There is a story

of his having been forgotten one day among the knolls when a thun

derstorm came on ; and his aunt, suddenly recollecting his situation, and

running out to bring him home, is said to have found him lying on his

back, clapping his hands at the lightning, and crying out, 'Bonny, bonny,'

at every flash."



U







290 Holy Places and Things.







14.



DISUSE OF INFANT COMMUNION.



" There shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water : follow him.



O LORD, behold these babes are Thine,

Thy treasured nurslings pure and sweet :



We have sought counsel at thy shrine :



" Where may they sit with Thee, and eat ?"

Thou saidst, " The Water-Bearer meet



Within the chosen City's round,



Trace Him along the hallowed street,



And where He guides, be duteous found.



" Where glorious Sion rests on high



Amid the hills that on her wait,

Him faithful following, ye shall spy



A wicket in a lowly gate :



There early knock, there linger late,

There in Christ's Name the room require,



Where the Great Lord in royal state

Shall eat the Bread of His desire.







Disuse of Infant Communion. 291



" Then to the spacious upper room



The Host will bid you onward fare,

Bound many a nook of deepest gloom,



Up many a broken wearying stair.



The handmaid Penance hath been there,

And swept and garnished all the place.



Haste, and with loyal hands prepare

For Me and Mine the Feast of Grace."



Thou spak'st, and we thine infants bore,



And bathed them in the Living Well

That gushes out beside the door,



Where Thou, O Lord, delight'st to dwell :



Then lowly on our knees we fell,

And prayed, that through the world's hot day



Dews, from that hour, a balmy spell,

Might gently freshen all their way.



Now, trembling still as they advance



Up the far shadowing awful nave,

Full oft we bid them backward glance



Where gleaming from its heavenly cave,







292 Holy Places and Things.



The Saviour's side, the healing wave

Falls in the fount of their new birth.



The ears that hear its murmuring, crave

No tinsel melodies of earth.



When to the Chancel arch they come,



" Pause here," we say, " and search with fear

If yet the pledge of your high doom



Upon the sealed brow appear.



If worn and faint, by many a tear

Renew the lines, then humbly kneel



Till He invite till sure and near

The gliding of soft wings ye feel.



" Then to the inner shrine make haste,

Fall prostrate with anointed brows,



Adore, and of the Adored taste.

Such bliss the Love untold allows."

Of old, we read, the intrusted Spouse



Her infants to the Anointing led



Straight from the Laver and the vows ;



Yea, Christ was then the children's bread.







Disuse of Infant Communion. 293



But now some mournful instinct chills

Our Mother's joy, and mars our spring :



She, as of old, to the bright hills



Her eaglets' speed at once would wing :

Now far and wide earth's vapours fling



Their tainting dews ; and she perchance

Shrinks from the fall such flight may bring,



Fears the debasing, downward glance.



Then in low place with lowly heart

Wait we, dear babe, both thou and I,



Bide we our time, and take such part

In the Bride's awful minstrelsy,

As she whose laws are sealed on high



Ordains : and if long lingering tire,

Yet may we hope, Faith's virgin sigh



The purer mounts, to meet Heaven's fire.







294 Holy Places and Things.







15.







THE OFFERTORY.



" God loveth a cheerful giver."



CHRIST before thy door is waiting ;

Rouse thee, slave of earthly gold.



Lo, He comes, thy pomp abating,

Hungry, thirsty, homeless, cold :

Hungry, by whom Saints are fecf

With the Eternal Living Bread ;

Thirsty, from whose pierced side

Healing waters spring and glide ;



Cold and bare He comes, who never

May put off His robe of light ;



Homeless, who must dwell for ever

In the Father's Bosom bright.







The Offertory. 295



In kind amfrush alway lying



He besets thy bed and path,

Fain would see thee hourly buying



Prayers against the time of wrath,



Prayers of thankful mourners here,



Prayers that in Love's might appear



With the offerings of the Blest,



At the shrine of perfect rest.

See, His undecaying treasure



Lies like dew upon the grass,

To be won and stored at pleasure :



But its hour will quickly pass.



Christ before His Altar standing,



Priest of Priests, in His own Day,

Calls on thee, some fruit demanding



Of the week's heaven -guarded way.



See His Arm stretch'd out to bless :



Whoso nearest to Him press,



Open-handed, eagle-eyed,



They may best that Arm abide,

When, the last dread lightnings wielding,



He shall lift it, and decree,







296 Holy Places and Things.



" Go, ye churls of soul unyielding,

Where nor gift nor prayer shall be."



JESUS in His babes abiding



Shames our cold ungentle ways,

Silently the young heart guiding



To unconscious love and praise.



See out-reached the fingers small,



Ever, at each playful call,



Ready to dispense around



Joys and treasures newly found.

Fearless they of waste or spoiling



Nought enjoy but what they share ;

Grudging thought and care and moiling



Live not in their pure glad air.



Strange the law of Love's combining !

As with wild winds moaning round



Tones from lute or harp entwining

Make one thread of solemn sound ;

As calm eve's autumnal glow

Answers to the woods below ;







The Offertory. 297



As in landscape leaf or stone,



Cloud or flower, at random thrown,

Helps the sadness or the glory ;



So the gift of playful child

May recall thy natal story,



Church of Salem undefiled !



How the new-born Saints, assembling



Daily 'neath the shower of fire,

To their Lord in hope and trembling



Brought the choice of earth's desire.



Never incense-cloud so sweet



As before the Apostles' feet



Rose, majestic Seer, from thee,



Type of royal hearts and free,

Son of holiest consolation,



When thou turn'dst thy land to gold,

And thy gold to strong salvation,



Leaving all, by Christ to hold :



Type of Priest and Monarch, casting

All their crowns before the Throne,



And the treasure everlasting

Heaping in the world unknown.







298 Holy Places and Things.



Now in gems their relics lie,

And their names in blazonry,

And their forms from storied panes

Gleam athwart their own lov'd fanes,



Each his several radiance flinging

On the sacred Altar floor,



Whether great ones much are bringing,

Or their mite the mean and poor.



Bring thine all, thy choicest treasure,

Heap it high and hide it deep :



Thou shalt win o'erflowing measure,

Thou shalt climb where skies are steep.

For as Heaven's true only light

Quickens all those forms so bright,

So where Bounty never faints,

There the Lord is with His Saints,



Mercy's sweet contagion spreading

Far and wide from heart to heart,



From His Wounds atonement shedding

On the blessed widow's part.







Holy Places and Things. 299







16.







CHURCH BELLS.



" Let the hills hear thy voice."



" WAKE me to-night, my mother dear,



That I may hear



The Christmas Bells, so soft and clear,

To high and low glad tidings tell,

How God the Father loved us well,



How God the Eternal Son

Came to undo what we had done,



How God the Paraclete,



Who in the chaste womb framed the Babe so sweet,

In power and glory came, the birth to aid and greet.







300 Holy Places and Things.



" Wake me, that I the twelvemonth long



May bear the song



About with me in the world's throng ;

That treasured joys of Christmas tide

May with mine hour of gloom abide ;



The Christmas carol ring

Deep in my heart, when I would sing ;



Each of the twelve good days

Its earnest yield of duteous love and praise,

Ensuring happy months, and hallowing common ways.



" Wake me again, my mother dear,



That I may hear

The peal of the departing year.

O well I love, the step of Time

Should move to that familiar chime :



Fair fall the tones that steep

The Old Year in the dews of sleep,



The New guide softly in

With hopes to sweet sad memories akin !

Long may that soothing cadence ear, heart, conscience

win."







Church Bells. 301



In the dark winter, ere the snow



Had lost its glow,

.This melody we learned ; and lo !

We hear it now in every breeze

That stirs on high the summer trees.



We pause and look around

Where may the lone church-tower be found,



That speaks our tongue so well ?

The dim peal in the torrent seems to dwell,

It greets us from afar in Ocean's measured swell.



Perhaps we sit at home, and dream



On some high theme,

And forms, that in low embers gleam,

Come to our twilight Fancy's aid :

Then, wavering as that light and shade,



The breeze will sigh and wail,

And up and down its plaintive scale



Range fitfully, and bear

Meet burden to the lowly whispered air,

And ever the sweet bells, that charmed Life's morn,

are there.







302 Holy Places and Things.



The pine-logs on the hearth sometimes



Mimic the chimes,



The while on high the white wreath climbs,

Which seething waters upward fling,

In prison wont to dance and sing,



All to the same low tune.

But most it loves in bowers of June



At will to come and go,



Where like a minster roof the arched boughs show,

And court the pensive ear of loiterer far below.



Be mine at Vesper hour to stray



Full oft that way,



And when the dreamy sounds decay,

As with the sun the gale dies down,

Then far away, from tower or town,



A true peal let me hear,

In manifold melodious cheer,



Through all the lonely grove

Wafting a fair good-night from His high love,

Who strews our world with signs from His own

world above.







Church Bells. 303



So never with regretful eye



Need we descry



Dark mountains in the evening sky,

Nor on those ears with envy think,

Which nightly from the cataract shrink



In heart-ennobling fear,

And in the rushing whirlwind hear



(When from his Highland cave

He sweeps unchained over the wintry wave)

Ever the same deep chords, such as home fancies

crave.



Ever the same, yet ever new,



Changed and yet true,

Like the pure heaven's unfailing blue,

Which varies on from hour to hour,

Yet of the same high Love and Power



Tells alway : such may seem

Through life, or waking or in dream,



The echoing Bells that gave

Our childhood welcome to the healing wave :

Such the remembered Word, so mighty then to save.







304 Holy Places and Things.







17.







CONTINUAL SERVICES.



(For the Sunday before Advent.)

" Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. '



O ENDLESS round of Nature's wheel,

How doth thine untired course reveal



The universal spring

Of Power and Motion ! Not in keen

And sudden startings, far between,*



But smooth as sea-bird's wing,

Gliding unwearied, now in air



And now in Ocean,

As though Life's only call and care

Were graceful motion.







* Continue, non vero per saltum."



Newton.







Continual Services. 305



Such are your changes, Space and Time,

Dying away in softest chime,



With gentlest intervals

Aye lessening on the ear, and felt

As when into each other melt



The hues where evening falls.

Thus moon to moon gives silent place,



And bright stars waning

( i rudual retire, while morn's still pace

On night is gaining.







Thus or for increase or decay



The seasons wind their viewless way,



Nor but by word of man

Or measure rude by man imposed,

Is known when day or year hath closed,



Summer or Winter's span.

And ever onward as we go,



The wide earth rounding,

The horizon moves in gentle flow,



Not in harsh bounding.







306 Holy Places and Things.



For why ? the unseen Preserver's law

Is nigh, to master and o'erawe



The creatures in their race,

Else starting each its own wild way.

So Nature, saved from disarray,



Is free to wait on Grace :

And still, as Earth and Time steal on



To their dread ending,

New fragments may of both be won

For holy spending.







Thus high may soar the instructed soul,

Watching young fingers idly roll



The mimic earth, or trace

In picture bright of blue and gold

The orbs that round the sky's deep fold



Each other circling chase.

When plainest strikes the inward ear



What Heaven hath spoken,

Then most for our own chant we fear,



So harsh and broken.







Continual Services. 307



His spheres, recede they or advance,

Before Him in mysterious dance

Keep tune and time ; nor e'er

Fails from this lower world a wreath

Of incense, such as sweet flowers breathe,



And vernal breezes bear.

Only man's frail sin-wearied heart



Bears, half in sadness,

A wavering, intermitted part



In that high gladness.







Yes : so it was ere JESUS came.

Alternate then His altar-flame



Blazed up and died away ;

And Silence took her turn with Song,

And Solitude with the fair throng



That owned the festal day.

For in earth's daily circuit then



One only border

Reflected to the Seraphs' ken

Heaven's light and order.







308 Holy Places and Things.



But now to the revolving sphere

We point, and say, No desert here,



No waste so dark and lone,

But to the hour of sacrifice

Comes daily in its turn, and lies



In light beneath the Throne.

Each point of time, from morn to eve,



From eve to morning,

The shrine doth from the Spouse receive

Praise and adorning.



t



"While on our couch we listless dream,

Or drink perforce of care's dull stream,



Yet somewhere in that hour

The holy words are uttered, Earth

Is partner made in Angels' mirth,



The unspeakable, pure shower

Of blessings to the unbloody rite



Even now is winging

Its awful way, The Infinite

To meek hearts bringing.







Continual Services. 309



Tis said, of yore some child of pride

Would vaunt him how his empire wide



The bright sun never left.

So in the Name of our dread King

Of incense and pure offering



We never are bereft.

'Tis morning here, 'tis evening there,



And prayer must vary ;

But evermore through silent air,



Nor dull nor weary,



From earth, the footstool of His feet,

Mounts to the Lord the savour sweet



Of That which once for all

He gave upon the Cross, and we

Give daily, earth's release to be



From daily woe and thrall.

Thus to Heaven's Bride, so chaste and sweet,



A voice is granted,

The notes untiring to repeat

In high Heaven chanted.







310 Holy Places and Things.



Then mourn we not with drooping heart,

Though half the globe may seem to part



Our prayers from home and friends.

Our matins meet their even song,

And the dread Offering, all day long,



All prayer, all duty blends.

The Eucharist of God's dear Son,



Like Him undying,

Is mighty, worlds and hearts in one



For ever tying.



\



Wherefore in solemn cheer we pass

(Now that the Church hath turned her glass)



From year to dawning year.

All years to Him are one : and thou,

In virtue of thy first dread vow



Signing thyself in fear,

Make haste, dear child, and onward press



To high Communion :

Thy fragments He will glean, and bless

With perfect union.







311







J^easmts an&







i.







CHRISTMAS EVE : VESPERS.



" If it bear fruit, well : if not, then after that Thou shalt cut it down.



THE duteous sun hath ceased to keep



The vigil of His wondrous birth,

Who in few hours, while sinners sleep.

Shall dawn on thankless earth.



The sun is set, the stars begin



Their stations in His watch on high,

As once around that Bethlehem inn ;

The vesper hour is nigh.







312 Holy Seasons and Days.



A little maid with eager gaze



Comes hurrying to the House of Prayer,

Shaping in heart a wild green maze

Of woodland branches there.



One look, a cloud comes o'er her dream :

No burnished leaves, so fresh and clear,

No berries with their ripe red gleam :

" There is no Christmas here."



What if that little maiden's Lord,



The awful Child on Mary's knee,

Even now take up the accusing word :

" No Christmas here I see.



" Where are the fruits I yearly seek,



As holy seasons pass away,

Eyes turned from ill, lips pure and meek,

A heart that strives to pray ?



" Where are the glad and artless smiles.



Like clustering hollies, seen afar



At eve along the o'ershaded aisles,



With the first twilight star ?"







Christmas Eve : Vespers. 313



Spare, gracious Saviour, me and mine :



Our tardy vows in mercy hear,

While on our watch the cold skies shine

Of the departing year.



Ere we again that glimmering view,



Cleansed be our hearts and lowly laid ;

The unfruitful plant do Thou renew,

And all beneath its shade.



By winter frosts and summer heats,



By prunings sharp and waterings mild,

Keen airs of Lent, and Easter sweets,

Tame Thou the sour and wild.



And dare we ask for one year more ?



Yea, there is hope : One waits on high

To tell our contrite yearnings o'er,

And each adoring sigh.



If He in Heaven repeat our vow,



We copying here His pure dread Will,

O dream of joy ! the withered bough

May blush with fruitage still.







314 Holy Seasons and Days.







2.







CHRISTMAS EVE : COMPLINE.



" Rejoice in the Lord alway."



REJOICE in God alway,



With stars in Heaven rejoice,

Ere dawn of Christ's own day



Lift up each little voice.

Look up with pure glad eye,

And count those lamps on high.

Nay, who may count them ? on our gaze

They from their deeps come out in ever widening

maze.



Each in his stand aloof



Prepares his keenest beam,

Upon that hovel roof,



In at that door, to stream,







Christmas Eve : Compline. 315



Where meekly waits her time



The whole earth's Flower and Prime :

Where in few hours the Eternal One

Will make a clear new day, rising before the sun.



Rejoice in God alway,



With each green leaf rejoice,

Of berries on each spray



The brightest be your choice.

From bower and mountain lone

The autumnal hues are gone,

Yet gay shall be our Christmas wreath,

The glistening beads above, the burnished leaves

beneath.



Such garland grave and fair



His Church to-day adorns.-

And mark it well even there*



He wears His crown of thorns.

Should aught profane draw near,

Full many a guardian spear

Is set around, of power to go

Deep in the reckless hand, and stay the grasping Foe.







316 Holy Seasons and Days.



Rejoice in God alway,



With Powers rejoice on high,

Who now with glad array



Are gathering in the sky,

His cradle to attend,

And there all lowly bend.

But half so low as He hath bowed

Did never highest Angel stoop from brightest cloud.



Rejoice in God alway,



All creatures, bird and beast,

Rejoice, again I say,



His mightiest and His least ;

From ox and ass that wait

Here on His poor estate,

To the four living Powers, decreed

A thousand ways at once His awful car to speed.



Rejoice in God alway :



With Saints in Paradise

Your midnight service say,



For vigil glad arise.







Christmas Eve : Compline. 317



Even they in their calm bowers

Too tardy find the hours

Till He reveal the wondrous Birth :

How must we look and long, chained here to sin and

earth !



Ye babes, to JESUS dear,

Rejoice in Him alway.

Ye whom He bade draw near,



O'er whom He loved to pray,

Wake and lift up the head

Each in his quiet bed.

Listen : His voice the night-wind brings :

He in your cradles lies, He in our carols sings.







318 Holy Seasons and Days.











3.







CHRISTMAS DAY.



f While waiting on an Infant at homc.j

" Behold, 1 and the children which God hath given me."



THOU, who didst choose thine awful room

Within the imdefiled womb,

The bridal chamber, where our God

For spousals high made brief abode,

High spousals, evermore to bind

The Godhead with our fallen kind :

Now while the o'erarching clouds among

Echoes the Angels' matin song,

While, heart and hand,

In every land

The Saints their sacrifice prepare



The Cradle to adore of Heaven's dread Heir,

Behold where in the silent shade



Thy slumbering little ones till matin prime are laid.







Christmas Day. 319



Soon will a thousand bells ring out,



A thousand roofs the choral shout



Prolong, where Kings with Shepherds meet



His manger with their gifts to greet.



What shall we do, mine infant dear,



Who may not those glad anthems hear ?



How shall we serve Him, thou and I,



Far from that glorious company ?

Thou smil'st in sleep :

Who knows how deep



The dream of joy that smile denotes ?

Mild as the summer lightning, see, it floats,



As if, the new-born Spirit o'er,

Came voices low from where departed babes adore.



Such is thy silent Liturgy,

But what is ours who wait on thee ?

We oiFer thee to Him, this hour,

Who in like slumber veil'd His power :

Thy cradle with its hopes and fears,

Thy May-day smiles and April tears,

Whate'er thou hast, whate'er thou art,







320 Holy Seasons and Days.



Howe'er thy mother's dreaming heart

Shapes thy bright doom

In years to come ;

All with that offering would we blend,

Which Saints on earth to Angel hands commend



To bear on high, this favoured day,

And on the sovereign Babe's unquenched altar lay.



Mysterious are these smiles of thine ;



But of that Face, the Godhead's shrine,



Those holy lips, that awful brow,



Nor Angel then nor Prophet now



Might truly deem ; none trace aright



Those hoverings of supernal light.



No more to sight, in earth or heaven,



Shall the Eternal Child be given,

But, Infant dear,

Unveiled and clear,



Thou shalt behold Him as He died,

Thine eye shall gaze upon the Crucified :



In mercy may He meet thy gaze,

And all the joy fulfil of all His bright glad days !







Holy Seasons and Days. 321







4.







THE EPIPHANY.



" They saw the young Child with Mary His Mother, and when they had

opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts."



How gaily seems the sun to rise



On christening days and days of birth,

Whether he smile in summer skies,



Or faintly warm the wintry earth !

Bright are the dreams he drives away,

And bright the promise of that day.

All charms, all gifts of Love are there,

Love breathes in all the fragrant air.



Oh haste we then to-day to greet

Him who is born our glorious King :



Of gold and myrrh and incense sweet

Your treasures to His cradle bring.

Y







322 Holy Seasons and Days.



The Virgin Mother waiting by

Your offering scans with earnest eye,

Angels and Saints with jealous heed

Watch if you bring your best indeed.



And He, the Holiest, Humblest One,

Making as though He could not see,



Yet is His Eye all hearts upon.

O may He find some good in me !



A poor, weak, wayward soul is mine,



Yet own I, Lord, Thy saving sign.



Thou seest me daily, how before



Thy gracious footsteps I adore.



Fain would I there my stores unfold,



And of the gifts Thy Love hath given

One heart restore of virgin gold,



One prayer, like incense, seeking Heaven,

One drop of penitential Love,

Fragrant and dear to God above,

Yet bitter in the mouth as gall,

Fain would I bring Thee : 'tis mine all.







The Epiphany. 323



O blessed, who with eyes so pure



Have watched Thy cradle day by day,



Thy look may in their hearts endure,

Brightening their dim and weary way !



Blest, whom sweet thoughts of Christmas tide



Through all the year may guard and guide,



As on those sages journeying smiled



In dreams the Mother and the Child.







324 Holy Seasons and Days.







5.







THE PURIFICATION.







" The time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle

is heard in our land."







WHAT buds, what fragrant flowers are here !

Not yet are Christmas garlands sere,

The stern bleak months that lead the year



Are frowning still,

Yet forth they come, no stay, no fear,



And bloom at will.



Each nodding violet spray beneath

What troops of tender nurslings breathe,

Close set as gems in bridal wreath !



April's last day

No richer gift did e'er bequeath



To brightening May.







The Purification. 325







The snowdrops round the cottage door

Are twinkling gay by tens and more,

The merry children on the floor



As gay within :

The birds tell out their vernal lore



With joyous din.







As they prevent the matin prime,



So, might it seem, sweet nature's chime



Rings out, to greet the holy time.



Heaven's softest airs

Wait on the Maid who now shall climb



The Temple stairs.



Pure from her undefiled throes,

Her virgin matron arms inclose

The only Gift the wide earth knows



Not all unmeet

For the dread place where now she goes,



His mercy- seat.







326 Holy Seasons and Days.



See the Redeemer on His way

Himself to be redeemed to-day :

In humblest meekness see her lay



Before the shrine

Such offerings as poor matrons pay,



Want's lowly sign.







But soon the untimely vernal gleam

Must fade away like morning dream,

And ill winds blow, and cold mists stream



On flower and leaf :

So with the glad prophetic dream



Come tones of grief.







" The sword shall pierce thy very soul.'

As on some gay glad hour might toll

The funeral knell, or thunders roll



O'er summer night,

So did that word thy joy controul,



Thou Virgin bright !







The Purification. 327



Then, poor and orphan'd though I prove,

Yet would I praise Thee, Lord, and love,

And learn of Mary's spotless Dove,



With meanings meek,

And soft wing gliding high above,



Thy Face to seek.







328 Holy Seasons and Days.







C.







LENT.



" Sanctify a fast.. gather the children, and those that suck the breasts."



'Tis said, the immortal Powers on high

Might envy Saints on earth, for they can die ;



They for their Lord may suffer loss ;

Those but adore, these taste, the healing Cross.

So while in all beside, dear babe, we pine



For hope as pure as thine,

One gift we have, one token more than thou,

With choice of heart beneath the Saviour's yoke to bow.



No deep of joy to thee is lost

From Christmas, Easter, or bright Pentecost :



No memory-cloud in air, to dim

The unfolding heavens, or mar the Seraphs' hymn.







Lent. 329



The gladsome days are thine : to us are sent



The wan soft gleams of Lent,

The kindly waters from the heavens above,

From earth to be exhal'd in dews of tearful love.



Our portion in Christ's awful year,

Not thine, is Lent : and yet He calls thee near.



Come, spotless one, He seems to say,

Come with thy pure white robe, and kneel to-day

Beside the fallen and defil'd, and learn



How keen the fires must burn

Of the dread Spirit, purging contrite hearts

With penitential pains, Truth in the inward parts.



Oft have we mark'd thy wistful eye

Fix'd upon ours when evil news came nigh,



As who should say, " My dreams are bright,

" Why should the cloud of woe on thee alight ?"

Then sweeter grew thy smile, thy soft caress



Would closer seem to press,

And for the woe, to thee yet unreveal'd,

Pure balm of kindly hope thou didst unknowing yield.







330 Holy Seasons and Days.



So be it now : the secret dark

Of wasting sin here in God's awful ark



In mercy may He keep from thee,

Yet be thou near, our penance-hour to see,

Our penance-hour to see, and deeply thrill



At sense of unknown ill.



Thou look'st an Angel : be thy presence found

Like a bright Angel's here, guarding the holy ground.



Oh much we need a loving spell,

To scare away the Powers unclean and fell,



Whom we too oft have tempted nigh,

To bind our burden, dim our upward eye.

Thou from the Font art fresh and undefiled.



O surely, happy child,

More than angelic power is where thou art,

More than angelic love, to melt the cold dry heart.







Holy Seasons and Days. 331







7.







EASTER EVE.







" It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salva

tion of the Lord."







THE Primroses with kindly gleam



Are looking out from bower and brake :



As bright and quiet all things seem

As if no heart on earth could ache.



Yet He, the Sun who yester even

Set in that wild tempestuous gloom,



When graves flew wide, and rocks were riven,

Still lingers in the dreary tomb.



Nor blame our peace : for He will rise,

His veil for evermore withdrawn.



O never yet shone vernal skies

So pure, as shall to-morrow dawn.







332 Holy Seasons and Days.



Tis in that faith the flowers of Earth

Their very best make speed to wear,



And e'en the funeral mound gives birth

To wild thyme fresh and violets fair.



Stoop, little child, nor fear to kiss

The green buds on this bed of death.



Thou hast thy first baptismal bliss,



Like new-born babe's, thy fragrant breath.



Thy fragrant breath with this sweet air

From briar and turf may duly blend :



But keep it pure with Fast and Prayer,

Come early near, and lowly bend.







Holy Seasons and Days. 333







8.







EASTER-DAY.



" I found Him whom my soul loveth : I held Him, and would not let

Him go."



'TwAS at the matin hour, early before the dawn,



The prison-doors flew open, the bolts of death were



drawn.

'Twas at the matin hour, when prayers of Saints are



strong,

Where, two short days ago, He bore the spitting,



wounds, and wrong,

From realms unseen, an unseen way th' Almighty



Saviour came,

And following on His silent steps an Angel arm'd in



flame.



The stone is roll'd away, the keepers fainting fall ;

Satan's and Pilate's watchmen the Day has scar'd



them all.







334 Holy Seasons and Days.



The Angel came full early, but Christ had gone before,

The Breath of Life, the Living Soul, had breath'd



itself once more



Into the sacred Body that slumber'd in the tomb,

As still and lowly, as erewhile in th' undefiled womb.

And surely not in folds so bright the spotless winding



sheet

Inwrapt Him, nor such fragrance pour'd the myrrh



and aloes sweet,



As when in that chaste Bosom, His awful bed, He lay,

And Mary's prayer around Him rose, like incense.



night and day.



And even as when her hour was come, He left His



Mother mild



A royal Virgin evermore, heavenly and undefiTd,

So left the glorious Body the rock it slumber'd on,

And spirit-like in silence past, nor touch'd the sealed



stone.



The Angel came full early, but Christ had gone before.

Not for Himself, but for His Saints, is burst the prisor



door,







Easter-Day. 335



That penitents who bring Him tears and perfume of



good deeds

May for His glory school their eyes, watching His



funeral weeds.



They who have sinn'd, though much they love, they



who have thrice denied,

'Tis meet that they awhile beneath the garb of glory



hide

A shred of JESUS' grave-clothes, such robes as hermits



weave ;



But Virgin Love needs only to behold, rejoice, believe.

Dearest, be thine such portion : yet even so, in still

And humble guise draw nigh : such is thy Saviour's



will.

Stoop lowly o'er His traces dim, and of His Angels



learn

Where face to face He will be met, and for that



greeting yearn.



Thou know'st He died not for Himself, nor for Himself



arose,

Millions of souls were in His Heart, and thee for one



He chose.







336 Holy Seasons and Days.



Upon the palms of His pierc'd Hands engraven was



thy name,

He for thy cleansing had prepar'd His water and His



flame.

Sure thou with Him art risen : and now with Him



thou must go forth,

And He will lend thy sick soul health, thy strivings,



might and worth.

Early with Him tfiou forth must fare, and ready make



the way

For the descending Paraclete, the third hour of the day.



He veil'd His awful footsteps, our all-subduing Lord,

Until the Blessed Magdalene beheld Him and ador'd.

But through the veil the Spouse may see, for her heart



is as His own,

That to His Mother or by sight or touch He made



Him known.

And even as from His manger bed He gave her His



first smile,

So now, while Seraphs wait, He talks apart with her



awhile ;







Easter-Day. 337



That thou of all the forms, which to thee His image



wear,

Might'st own thy parents first, with thy prime of loving



care.



And when that first spring-flower of love is gather'd,



be thou seen



Full soon with mourning Peter, and bereaved Mag

dalene,

And meet with looks of soothing cheer the women on



their way

To find the Lord, nor from beside His musing comrades



stray.

To Emmaus see thou lose not the narrow path ; for



there



With open face He tarries, to give thee Angels' fare.

Where all His Saints assemble, make haste ere twilight



cease,

His Easter blessing to receive, and so lie down in



peace.







338 Holy Seasons and Days.







9.







WHITSUN EVE.







O my Dove, that art in the clefts of the Rock, let me hear thy voice.







WELL fare the Sage, whose dreams of old

Would every cradle fain enfold

In evening clouds of softest sound,

Slow settling ear and heart around,

Then with the breeze at morning prime

Would mingle some heart-thrilling chime,

Some Dorian movement, bold or grave,

Such as in inmost soul they crave,

Who, when the battles of the Lord are fought,

Shrink from their own frail hearts, else fearing

nought.







TTJiitsun Eve. 339



Such strains have I desired erewhile,



When haply, with half-pitying smile,



One of the attendant Spirits kind,



Who float unseen on wave or wind,



Might to another say, " Behold



The dimly eyed and narrow-souled !



He longs for music in the morn,



Nor heeds the lark's unwearied horn.

He finds at eve no soothing lullaby,

Though west winds stir, and whispering pines are

nigh."



O heavenly Wisdom, strong' and sweet,



How dost thou tune thy lyre, to meet



The wakening or half-dreaming cares



Of souls whom Love for Joy prepares !



How do wild Nature's chords, by thee



Combined in varying melody,



Make tunes for holy times ! e'en now,



From underneath the fragrant bough

In notes of hopeful warning the fair Dove

Gives token of the approaching morn of love.







340 Holy Seasons and Days.



Soft are her tones ; for He draws nigh.

Who moveth all things quietly :

Yet grave and deep ; for to His sight

Heaven's secrets are undazzling light :

Content ; for He on healing wings

The promise of the Father brings :

And Comfort is His name ; yet so

That in His promptings here below

A wistful uncomplaining sadness still

Must deeply blend with Joy's adoring thrill.







As yet we but our vigil hold,

Not yet the Whitsun flowers unfold

Their full bright splendours. In the sky

The third hour's sun must ride full high,

Ere to the holy glorious room

The fires of New- Creation come,

Ere on weak hearts, though willing, fall

The rushing mighty wind, in all

The power of its dread harmony, and win,

Ne'er to die down, true echoes from within.







WUtsun Eve. 341



O loving Spirit, gently lay



Thine arm on ours when we would stray !



Prepare us with Thy warnings sweet,



Us and our little ones, to greet



Thy visitations dread and dear !



Grant us, when holy times are near,



In twilight or of morn or eve,



Thy dove-like whisperings to receive,

And own them kindlier for the plaintive mood,

That breathes of contrite Love, mild Hope, and Joy

subdued.







342 Holy Seasons and Days.







10.







WHITSUNDAY.



" The Promise is unto you and to your children."



ONE the descending Flame,

But many were the tongues of fire ;



From one bright Heaven they came,

But here and there in many a spire,

In many a living line they sped

To rest on each anointed head.

There, as yon stars in clearest deep of night,

The glory-crowns shone out in many-coloured light.



One the dread rushing Wind,

But many were the tones of praise,



Love guiding each to find

His way in Music's awful maze.







Whitsunday. 343



Many the tongues, the theme was one,



The glory of th' Incarnate Son,

How He was born, how died, how reigns in Heaven,

And how His Spirit now to His new-born is given.



Joined in that choral cry

Were all estates, all tribes of earth :



Only sweet Infancy

Seemed silent in the adoring mirth.

Mothers and maidens there behold

The Maiden Mother : young and old

On Apostolic thrones with joy discern

Both fresh and faded forms, skill'd for all hearts to

yearn.



Widows from Galilee,

Levites are there, and elders sage



Of high and low degree,

But nought we read of that sweet age

Which in His strong embrace He took,

And sealed it safe, by word and look,

From Earth's foul dews, and withering airs of Hell :

The Pentecostal chant no infant warblings swell.







344 Holy Seasons and Days.



Nay, but she worships here,

Whom still the Church in memory sees



(O thought to mothers dear)

Before her Babe on bended knees,

Or rapt, with fond adoring eye,

In her sweet nursing ministry.

How in Christ's Anthem fails the children's part,

While Mary bears Him throned in her maternal heart ?



Hear too that Shepherd's voice,

Whom o'er His lambs the Saviour set



By words of awful choice,

When on the shore His Saints He met.

Blest Peter shows the key of Heaven,

And speaks the grace to infants given :

" Yours is the Promise, and your babes', and all,

Whom from all lands afar the Lord our God shall

call."







Holy Seasons and Days. 345







11.



OCTAVES OF FESTIVALS.



" Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound."



EVEN as the close of some grave melody,

Hovering and lingering in the moon's still ray,

Breathes o'er and o'er, reviving ere they die,

The notes that are the soul of the sweet lay,

And hearts that own the music, loitering near,

Drink the loved cadence with enchanted ear ;



So the bright holy days, as one by one

They pass, a glorious week behind them draw.

Nor will their echo cease till they outrun

Their Octave : such is heavenly Music's law.

Nor will Faith's ear grow weary of the strain,

But long for the glad note to sound again.







346 Holy Seasons and Days.



Whether the tones were pastoral, warbled low

On Christmas Eve, but ere the bright sun rise,

From thousand Seraphs in harmonious flow

O'erspreading earth new-born and gladdened skies

Or in high triumph from beside the tomb

The sudden anthem pierced the Paschal gloom :



Or cloudlike soared the long-drawn melody,

Still upward gliding where the Lord had gone :

Or in all tongues the Pentecostal cry

Rose from all lands in perfect unison :

For each and all, seven happy nights and days,

The Church untiring holds her note of praise.



For each and all, the eighth mysterious morn

Doth of the first tell o'er the perfect tale.

Lo, from Heaven's deep again the lays are borne

That seem'd for ever past behind the veil.

(For Thy dread Hours, thou awful Trinity,

Are but the Whitsun airs, new set on high.)



'Tis only our dull hearts that tire so soon



Of Christ's repeated call ; while they in Heaven,



Unwearied basking in the eternal noon,



Still sound the note, by the first Seraph given,







Octaves of Festivals. 347



What time the Morning Stars around their King

Began for evermore to shine and sing.



And you, ye gentle babes, true image here

Of such as walk in white before the Throne,

Ye weary not of Love, how oft soe'er

Her yearnings she repeat in unchanged tone.

To tale familiar, to remembered strain,

To frolic ten times tried, ye cry, Again.



How have I seen you, when the unpleasing time



Came for some kindly guest to pass away,



Cling round his skirts ! how marked the playful chime



Of earnest voices, pledged to make him stay !



O deeply sink, and with a tearful spell,



The memories of such welcome and farewell.



Nor wants in elder love the like soft charm.

The Mother tires not of one little voice,

Even as she fain all day with patient arm

Would bear one burthen. O frail heart, rejoice !

Love trains thee now by repetition sweet

The unwasting and unvarying bliss to greet.







[The following lines are subjoined, as falling in with the

plan of the work, though composed too late for insertion in

their proper place. For the leading idea in them, the

author is indebted to a friend, the writer of the stanzas in

p. 19, entitled " The First Smile."]







Children's Troubles. 349







V. 13.



LANGUOR.



" There is joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over

ninety and nine just persons, that need no repentance."



COME, and with us by summer seas

The revel hold of Mirth and Ease.

Together now, and now apart,

Three happy sprites, we glide and dart

O'er rock and sand, as free and bright

As waves that leap in morning light ;

Or mark in playful pensiveness

How fast the evening clouds undress

O'er gleaming waters far away,

And by the tir'd Sun gently lay

Their robes of glory, to be worn

More gorgeous with returning morn.

There, and where'er our fancies roam,

Our trusting hearts are still at home,







350 Children's Troubles.



For at our side we feel

Our father's smile, our mother's glance.

Say, can this earth a loving trance



Of deeper bliss reveal ?



Yes : from the shore with us return,

And thou a deeper bliss shalt learn.

Just as the mounting sun hath drawn

Warm fragrance from the thymy lawn,

Come to our cottage home, and see

If aught of sprightly, fresh, and free,

With the calm sweetness may compare

Of the pale form half slumbering there,

Our little sister, late as gay

As sea-lark drench'd in ocean spray,

Now from her couch of languor freed

One hour upon soft air to feed.

O gently tread, and mildly gaze,

HI may she brook our bolder ways ;



The babe who cannot speak

Tempers, to her, his strong caress ;

Lightly the small soft fingers press



The wan and wearied cheek.







Languor. 351



And if in festive hour, beside



The laughing waves and tuneful tide,



Parental eyes for joy grow dim,



What notes may trace the heart's deep hymn,



In silence mingling with the breath



Of child by prayer recall'd from death,



Or with the pulse's healthier chime



In praise melodious keeping time ?



O, when its flower seems fain to die,



The full heart grudges smile or sigh



To aught beside, though fair and dear.



Like a bruis'd leaf, at touch of Fear



Its hidden fragrance Love gives out.



Therefore, this one dear couch about



We linger hour by hour.

The love that each to each we bear,

All treasures of endearing care,



Into her lap we pour.



Type of that holiest Family,

When smitten souls, at point to die,

Come darkling home, prepar'd to wait

In doubt and dimness by the gate.







352 Children's Troubles.



Then far along the mournful way



Paternal Love speeds out, to say



The words of welcome ; Angels bear



The robe, sweet pledge of pardoning care ;



And as he daily seeks aright



His lowly station in their sight,



They watch th' all-ruling Eye, for leave



Some flower of P-aradise to give,



Bid amaranth odours round him float,



Or breathe into his ear one note



Of that high loving strain,

Which rings from all the harps of Heaven,

When from the Shrine the word is given,



" The dead soul lives again."



O, if the Powers and Thrones above

Hover with crowns of joy and love,

Ungrudg'd, unsparing, over brows

That mourn in dust their broken vows,

Eather than where the Saints are seen

Each reigning in his place serene :

If in Love's earthly home and bower

The mournful or the dangerous hour







Languor. 353



Unblam'd each prayer and longing guides

To the one couch where Pain abides :

He who is Love, and owns Love's Name,

Is in His ocean springs the same

As in each little murmuring rill

That cheers soft mead or pastoral hill :



Brighter the joy, be sure,

Before Him, where one sinner weeps,

Than where, in Heaven's unchanging deeps,



A thousand orbs endure.







A a







INDEX OF FIRST LINES.



Page



A CHRISTIAN child in pain . . . .62



A fragment of a rainbow bright . . .64



A holy home, young Saint, is thine . . .122



Alas ! that e'er the pangs of birth . . . 66



All gorgeous hues are in the pure white beam . 276



Alone, apart from Mother dear . .136



Behold, athwart our woodland nest . . . 252



Behold me, Lord, a worthless Gibeonite . . 228



Behold the treasure of the nest . . .192



But what if chrisom robes be sin-defiled . . 282



Christ before thy door is waiting . . 294



Christian Child, whoe'er thou be ... 230



Come and with us by summer seas . . 348



Come hear with duteous mind .... 259



Come take a woodland walk with me . . 205

Come, ye little revellers gay . . . .169



Comrades, haste ; the tents' tall shading . 222







INDEX OF FIRST LINES.



Page



Didst thou not hear how soft the day -wind sighed 87

Down, slothful heart : how darest thou say . 92

Dread was the mystery on Moriah's hill



Even as the close of some grave melody

Five loving souls, each one as mine



Greatest art thou in least, O Lord

Great is the joy when leave is won



Had I an infant, Lord, to rear



How fast these autumn leaves decay .



How gaily seems the sun to rise



I marked when vernal meads were bright



Live ever in my heart, sweet awful hour

Lo, cast at random on the wild sea sand

Look westward, pensive little one



Many the banners bright and fair

More and more stars, and ever as I gaze

Mother of Christ's children dear

My child, the counsels high attend







INDEX OF FIRST LINES.



Page



Not often bends the face of Heaven and Earth . 124

Not undelightful prove . . . . .178

Now the holy hour is nigh ..... 254



endless round of Nature's wheel . . . 304

Oft have I heard mine elders say . ' . .264

Oft have I hid mine eyes ..... 145

Oft have I read of sunny realms ... 55

Oft have I watched thy trances light . . .152

grief for Angels to behold . . . .113

O happy new-born babe, where art thou lying . 12

O holy Cross, on thee to hang . . . 249



O Lord, behold these babes are Thine . . 290



O Lord, give gracious humbleness of heart . 283

Once more unto thine Altar, Lord, once more . 281

Once in His Name Who made thee . . 1



One the descending flame .... 342



O wondrous warfare of the Spouse of God . 288



Pure is the glory of the chrisom vest . . 284

Rejoice in God alway 314



Seest thou yon woodland child . . . 166



She did but touch with finger weak . . . 147



So keep thou by calm prayer and searching



thought . .277







INDEX OF FIRST LINES.



Speed on, ye happy Sunday hours, O speed

Sweet maiden, for so calm a life



Tear not away the veil, dear friend



Tears are of Nature's best, they say



Tears from the birth the doom must be



Tell me now thy morning dream



The cares, the loves of parents fond .



The Church is one wide harvest-field



The duteous sun hath ceased to keep .



The glorious sun at morn ....



The Lord, the all gracious, hides not all His ire



The Lord who lends His creatures all



The May winds gently lift the willow leaves



The Powers of ill have mysteries of their own



The primroses with kindly gleam



There is no grief that ever wasted man .



The scourge in hand of God or man .



The shepherd boy lies on the hill



The twelve holy men .....



The wedding guests are met



The western sky is glowing yet



They talk of wells in caverns deep



This is the portal of the dead



Thou makest me jealous, infant dear







INDEX OF FIRST LINES.



Page



Thou who didst choose thine awful room . .318



Thou who with eye too sad and wan . . 162



'Tis said, th' immortal Powers on high . . 328



'Twas at the matin hour .... 333



Wake me to-night, my mother dear . . 299



Weary soul, and burthened sore . . .89



Well fare the sage, whose dream of old . . 338



Well may I brook the lash of scorn or woe . .128



What buds, what fragrant flowers are here . 324



What is the Church, and what am I ? . .209



What is the joy the young lambs know ? . 190



What is this sudden thrill 285



What is this cloud upon thy brow . . . 106



What purer brighter sight on earth, than when . 18



What time the Saviour spread His feast . . 243



What wouldst Thou have me do, O Lord . . 84



Whence is the mighty grace .... 42



When heart and head are both o'erflowing . . 143

When Heaven in mercy gives thy prayers return 237



When holy books, when loving friends . .108



When mortals praise thee, hide thine eyes . 104



When travail hours are spent and o'er . .23



Where are the homes of Paschal mirth . . 82



Where is the brow to bear in mortal sight . .69







INDEX OF FIRST LINES.



Page



Where is the mark to JESUS known . . 15



While snows even from the mild south-west . 31



Who for the like of me will care . . . 235



Who may the wondrous birth declare . . 4



Why of all the woodland treasures . . . 207



Why deck the high cathedral roof . . . 262



Why should we grudge the hour and home of



prayer . . 260



Why so stately, maiden fair .... 45



Within a reverend minster have I stood . . 280



With joy the guardian Angel sees ... 80



Ye children that on Jesus wait . . .172

Ye who wait in wistful gaze . . . .36







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THE BAPTISTERY, or The Way of Eternal Life.



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SOME MEDITATIONS AND PRAYERS SELECTED FROM



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