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QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY

I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. Genesis ix. 13.

Sweet Dove! the softest, steadiest plume,

In all the sunbright sky,

Brightening in ever-changeful bloom

As breezes change on high; —

Sweet Leaf! the pledge of peace and mirth,

“Long sought, and lately won,”

Bless’d increase of reviving Earth,

When first it felt the Sun; —

Sweet Rainbow! pride of summer days,

High set at Heaven’s command,

Though into drear and dusky haze

Thou melt on either hand; —

Dear tokens of a pardoning God,

We hail ye, one and all,

As when our fathers walk’d abroad,

Freed from their twelvemonth’s thrall.

How joyful from th’ imprisoning ark

On the green earth they spring!

Not blither, after showers, the lark

Mounts up with glistening wing.

So home-bound sailors spring to shore,

Two oceans safely past;

So happy souls, when life is o’er,

Plunge in th’ empyreal vast.

What wins their first and fondest gaze

In all the blissful field,

And keeps it through a thousand days?

Love face to face reveal’d:

Love imag’d in that cordial look

Our Lord in Eden bends

On souls that sin and earth forsook

In time to die His friends.

And what most welcome and serene

Dawns on the Patriarch’s eye,

In all the emerging hills so green,

In all the brightening sky?

What but the gentle rainbow’s gleam,

Soothing the wearied sight,

That cannot bear the solar beam,

With soft undazzling light?

Lord, if our fathers turn’d to Thee

With such adoring gaze,

Wondering frail man Thy light should see

Without Thy scorching blaze;

Where is our love, and where our hearts,

We who have seen Thy Son,

Have tried Thy Spirit’s winning arts,

And yet we are not won?

The Son of God in radiance beam’d

Too bright for us to scan,

But we may face the rays that stream’d

From the mild Son of Man.

There, parted into rainbow hues,

In sweet harmonious strife

We see celestial love diffuse

Its light o’er Jesus’ life.

God, by His bow, vouchsafes to write

This truth in Heaven above:

As every lovely hue is Light,

So every grace is Love.

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