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Sin is with man at morning-break,

And through the live-long day

Deafens the ear that fain would wake

To Nature's simple lay.

But when eve's silent foot-fall steals

Along the eastern sky,

And one by one to earth reveals

Those purer fires on high,

When one by one each human sound

Dies on the awful ear,

Then Nature's voice no more is drown'd,

She speaks, and we must hear.

Then pours she on the Christian heart

That warning still and deep,

At which high spirits of old would start

E'en from their Pagan sleep,

Just guessing, through their murky blind,

--Few, faint, and baffling sight--

Streaks of a brighter heaven behind,

A cloudless depth of light.

Such thoughts, the wreck of Paradise,

Through many a dreary age,

Upbore whate'er of good and wise

Yet lived in bard or sage:

They mark'd what agonizing throes

Shook the great mother's womb;

But Reason's spells might not disclose

The gracious Birth to come;


Nor could th' enchantress Hope forecast

GOD's secret love and power;

The travail pangs of Earth must last

Till her appointed hour;

The hour that saw from opening heaven

Redeeming glory stream,

Beyond the summer hues of even,

Beyond the mid-day beam.

Thenceforth, to eyes of high desire,

The meanest things below,

As with a seraph's robe of fire

Invested, burn and glow:

The rod of Heaven has touch'd them all,

The word from Heaven is spoken;

'Rise, shine, and sing, thou captive thrall:

Are not thy fetters broken?

'The GOD Who hallow'd thee and blest,

Pronouncing thee all good--

Hath He not all thy wrongs redrest,

And all thy bliss renew'd?

'Why mourn'st thou still as one bereft,

Now that th' eternal Son

His blesséd home in Heaven hath left

To make thee all His own?'

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