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THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. St. Luke xv. 10.

O hateful spell of Sin! when friends are nigh,

To make stern Memory tell her tale unsought,

And raise accusing shades of hours gone by,

To come between us and all kindly thought!

Chill’d at her touch, the self-reproaching soul

Flies from the heart and home she dearest loves,

To where lone mountains tower, or billows roll,

Or to your endless depth, ye solemn groves.

In vain: the averted cheek in loneliest dell

Is conscious of a gaze it cannot bear,

The leaves that rustle near us seem to tell

Our heart’s sad secret to the silent air.

Nor is the dream untrue; for all around

The heavens are watching with their thousand eyes,

We cannot pass our guardian angel’s bound,

Resign’d or sullen, he will hear our sighs.

He in the mazes of the budding wood

Is near, and mourns to see our thankless glance

Dwell coldly, where the fresh green earth is strew’d

With the first flowers that lead the vernal dance.

In wasteful bounty shower’d, they smile unseen,

Unseen by man — but what if purer sprights

By moonlight o’er their dewy bosoms lean

To adore the Father of all gentle lights?

If such there be, O grief and shame to think

That sight of thee should overcloud their joy,

A new-born soul, just waiting on the brink

Of endless life, yet wrapt in earth’s annoy!

O turn, and be thou turn’d! the selfish tear,

In bitter thoughts of low-born care begun,

Let it flow on, but flow refin’d and clear,

The turbid waters brightening as they run.

Let it flow on, till all thine earthly heart

In penitential drops have ebb’d away,

Then fearless turn where Heaven hath set thy part,

Nor shudder at the Eye that saw thee stray.

O lost and found! all gentle souls below

Their dearest welcome shall prepare, and prove

Such joy o’er thee, as raptur’d seraphs know,

Who learn their lesson at the Throne of Love.

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