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THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT

When a strong man armed keepeth his place, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. St. Luke xi. 21, 22.

See Lucifer like lightning fall,

Dash’d from his throne of pride;

While, answering Thy victorious call,

The Saints his spoils divide;

This world of Thine, by him usurp’d too long,

Now opening all her stores to heal Thy servants’ wrong.

So when the first-born of Thy foes

Dead in the darkness lay,

When Thy redeem’d at midnight rose

And cast their bonds away,

The orphan’d realm threw wide her gates, and told

Into freed Israel’s lap her jewels and her gold.

And when their wondrous march was o’er,

And they had won their homes,

Where Abraham fed his flock of yore,

Among their fathers’ tombs; —

A land that drinks the rain of Heaven at will,

Whose waters kiss the feet of many a vine-clad hill; —

Oft as they watch’d, at thoughtful eve,

A gale from bowers of balm

Sweep o’er the billowy corn, and heave

The tresses of the palm,

Just as the lingering Sun had touch’d with gold,

Far o’er the cedar shade, some tower of giants old;

It was a fearful joy, I ween,

To trace the Heathen’s toil,

The limpid wells, the orchards green,

Left ready for the spoil,

The household stores untouch’d, the roses bright

Wreath’d o’er the cottage walls in garlands of delight.

And now another Canaan yields

To Thine all-conquering ark: —

Fly from the “old poetic” fields,4646Where each old poetic mountain Inspiration breathed around. Gray.

Ye Paynim shadows dark!

Immortal Greece, dear land of glorious lays,

Lo! here the “unknown God” of thy unconscious praise.

The olive-wreath, the ivied wand,

“The sword in myrtles drest,.”

Each legend of the shadowy strand

Now wakes a vision blest;

As little children lisp, and tell of Heaven,

So thoughts beyond their thought to those high Bards were given.

And these are ours: Thy partial grace

The tempting treasure lends:

These relies of a guilty race

Are forfeit to Thy friends;

What seem’d an idol hymn, now breathes of Thee,

Tun’d by Faith’s ear to some celestial melody.

There’s not a strain to Memory dear,

Nor flower in classic grove,

There’s not a sweet note warbled here,

But minds us of Thy Love.

O Lord, our Lord, and spoiler of our foes,

There is no light but Thine: with Thee all beauty glows.


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