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BIRD CAGE OF THE INFANT JESUS.

For us, poor exiles from our birth,

God made the pretty little birds;

Among the hills and dales of earth

They sing His praises without words;

But sometimes playful childish hands,

Choosing the ones they like the best,

Keep them in cages, where the bands

Are gilded bars for these oppressed.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *   *  *  *  *  

O Jesus, little Brother dear!

For us from Heaven didst Thou flee;

Thou knowest well Thy bird-cage here

Is Carmel, and Thy birds are we.

Our cage is gilded not at all,

Yet oh! how precious ‘tis to me!

To hill or plain from its high wail

Not one of us would wish to flee.

Let not the outer world intrude!

No joy to us it now could bring.

Child Jesus! in our solitude

For Thee, for Thee alone, we sing.

Thy tiny hand has us beguiled;

Thy infant-charms no words can tell;

Thy smile, most sweet and Holy Child!

Has won Thy birds to love Thee well.

Here finds the simple, candid soul

The only object of its love;

Here is the vulture’s fierce control

No longer dreaded by the dove.

Upon the wings of burning prayer

Theardent heart ascends on high,

As swift the lark doth cleave the air,

With sweet, enraptured, joyful cry.

Here, in Thy praises to engage,

The nightingale and veery came.

O Little Jesus! in Thy cage

Thy birds are carolling Thy Name.

The little bird it always sings,

Nor fear for its small meal doth know;

A grain of wheat contentment brings;

It sows not, spins not, here below.

Within this cage where we have fled,

Is all provided through Thy care;

The one thing needful, Thou hast said,

Is just to love Thee, Child most fair!

So, through the hours, we sing Thy praise,

With glad, pure spirits ever blest.

We know the angels, all the days,

Love Carmel’s birds within their nest.

Jesu! Thy bitter tears to dry,

That sinful men have wrung from Thee,

Thy birds to win back souls will try,

By their sweet songs of ecstasy.

One day, when earth and time are o’er,

And Thy clear call to us is given,

Then angel-hands shall ope the door;

Thy birds shall take their flight to Heaven;

And there, with charming, songful hosts

Of little cherubs glad and gay,

Thy happy birds from Carmel’s coasts

Shall praise Thy Holy Name alway.

December 25, 1896.

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