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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.

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,
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.

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.”

66 Who

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,

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 burden, pledging thee to vows thou never canst

unsay ? What if the martyrs' fire some day thy dainty limbs

devour ? What if beneath the scourge they writhe, or in dull What if thou bear the cross within, all aching and

famine cower ?

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.

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