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'Tis said, of yore some child of pride
The bright sun never left.
We never are bereft.
And prayer must vary ; But evermore through silent air,
Nor dull nor weary,
From earth, the footstool of His feet,
Of that which once for all
From daily woe and thrall.
A voice is granted,
In high Heaven chanted.
Then mourn we not with drooping heart,
Our prayers from home and friends.
All prayer, all duty blends.
Like Him undying,
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,
To high Communion :-
With perfect union.
“ 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.
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 ?"
Spare, gracious Saviour, me and mine :
Our tardy vows in mercy hear,
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.