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CONFIRMATION

The shadow of th’ Almighty’s cloud

Calm on this tents of Israel lay,

While drooping paus’d twelve banners proud,

Till He arise and lead this way.

Then to the desert breeze unroll’d,

Cheerly the waving pennons fly,

Lion or eagle — each bright fold

A lodestar to a warrior’s eye.

So should Thy champions, ere this strife

By holy hands o’ershadowed kneel,

So, fearless for their charmed life,

Bear, to this end, Thy Spirit’s seal.

Steady and pure as stars that beam

In middle heaven, all mist above,

Seen deepest in this frozen stream: —

Such is their high courageous love.

And soft as pure, and warm as bright,

They brood upon life’s peaceful hour,

As if the Dove that guides their flight

Shook from her plumes a downy shower.

Spirit of might and sweetness too!

Now leading on the wars of God,

Now to green isles of shade and dew

Turning the waste Thy people trod;

Draw, Holy Ghost, Thy seven-fold veil

Between us and the fires of youth;

Breathe, Holy Ghost, Thy freshening gale,

Our fever’d brow in age to soothe.

And oft as sin and sorrow tire,

This hallow’d hour do Thou renew,

When beckon’d up the awful choir

By pastoral hands, toward Thee we drew;

When trembling at this sacred rail

We hid our eyes and held our breath,

Felt Thee how strong, our hearts how frail,

And long’d to own Thee to the death.

For ever on our souls be trac’d

That blessing dear, that dove-like hand,

A sheltering rock in Memory’s waste,

O’er-shadowing all the weary land.

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