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CCCXXXVIII

C. G. Rossetti

This Advent moon shines cold and clear,

These Advent nights are long,

Our lamps have burn'd year after year

And still their flame is strong.

271

'Watchman, what of the night?' we cry

Heart-sick with hope deferr'd:

'No speaking signs are in the sky,'

Is still the watchman's word.

The Porter watches at the gate,

The servants watch within;

The watch is long betimes and late,

The prize is slow to win.

'Watchman, what of the night?' but still

His answer sounds the same:

'No daybreak tops the utmost hill,

Nor pale our lamps of flame.'

One to another hear them speak

The patient Virgins wise:

'Surely He is not far to seek'--

'All night we watch and rise.'

'The days are evil looking back,

The coming days are dim;

Yet count we not His promise slack,

But watch and wait for Him.'

One with another, soul with soul,

They kindle fire from fire:

'Friends watch us who have touch'd the goal.'

'They urge us, come up higher.'

'With them shall rest our waysore feet,

With them is built our home,

With CHRIST.'--'They sweet, but He most sweet,

Sweeter than honeycomb.'

There no more parting, no more pain,

The distant ones brought near,

The lost so long are found again,--

Long lost but longer dear:

Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard,

Nor heart conceived that rest,

With them our good things long deferr'd,

With JESUS CHRIST our Best.

We weep because the night is long,

We laugh, for day shall rise;

We sing a slow contented song,

And knock at Paradise.

Weeping we hold Him fast, Who wept

For us, we hold Him fast;

And will not let Him go except

He bless us first or last.

272

Weeping we hold Him fast to-night;

We will not let Him go

Till daybreak smite our wearied sight

And summer smite the snow:

Then figs shall bud, and dove with dove

Shall coo the livelong day;

Then He shall say, 'Arise, My love,

My fair one, come away.'

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