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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.
“ 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 :
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.
O balm to lonely hearts,
Who childless or bereft, Yet round the cradle find their parts,
Their place and portion left
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.
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.