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“And unto her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white."
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.
“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 pild,
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.
“ 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.
“ Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon."
PURE 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.