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CCLXXXII

THE PURIFICATION

Bless'd are the pure in heart,

For they shall see our GOD;

The secret of the LORD is theirs,

Their soul is CHRIST's abode.

--Might mortal thought presume

To guess an angel's lay,

Such are the notes that echo through

The courts of Heaven to-day.

Such the triumphal hymns

On Sion's Prince that wait,

In high procession passing on

Towards His temple-gate.

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Give ear, ye kings--bow down

Ye rulers of the earth--

This, this is He; your Priest by grace,

Your GOD and King by birth.

No pomp of earthly guards

Attends with sword and spear,

And all-defying, dauntless look,

Their monarch's way to clear;

Yet are there more with Him

Than all that are with you--

The armies of the highest Heaven,

All righteous, good and true.

Spotless their robes and pure,

Dipp'd in the sea of light,

That hides the unapproachéd shrine

From men's and angels' sight.

His throne, thy bosom blest,

O Mother undefiled--

That throne, if aught beneath the skies,

Beseems the sinless child.

Lost in high thoughts, 'whose son

The wondrous Babe might prove,'

Her guileless husband walks beside,

Bearing the hallow'd dove;

Meet emblem of His vow,

Who, on this happy day,

His dove-like soul--best Sacrifice--

Did on God's altar lay.

But who is he, by years

Bow'd, but erect in heart,

Whose prayers are struggling with his tears?

'LORD, let me now depart.

'Now hath Thy servant seen

Thy saving health, O LORD;

'Tis time that I depart in peace,

According to Thy word.'

Yet swells the pomp: one more

Comes forth to bless her GOD:

Full fourscore years, meek widow, she

Her heaven-ward way hath trod.

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She who to earthly joys

So long had given farewell,

Now sees, unlook'd for, Heaven on earth,

CHRIST in His Israel.

Wide open from that hour

The temple-gates are set,

And still the saints rejoicing there

The holy Child have met.

--Now count His train to-day,

And who may meet Him, learn:

Him child-like sires, meek maidens find,

Where pride can nought discern.

Still to the lowly soul

He doth Himself impart,

And for His cradle and His throne

Chooseth the pure in heart.

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