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Awake! the shining day is born!

The herald cock proclaims the morn:

And Christ, the soul's Awakener, cries,

Bidding us back to life arise.

Away the sluggard's bed! away

The slumber of the soul's decay!

Ye chaste and just and temperate,

Watch! I am standing at the gate.

After the sun hath risen red

'Tis late for men to scorn their bed,

Unless a portion of the night

They seize for labours of the light.

Mark ye, what time the dawn draws nigh,

How 'neath the eaves the swallows cry?

Know that by true similitude

Their notes our Judge's voice prelude.

When hid by shades of dark malign

On beds of softness we recline,

They call us forth with music clear

Warning us that the day is near.

When breezes bright of orient morn

With rosy hues the heavens adorn,

They cheer with hope of gladdening light

The hearts that spend in toil their might.

Though sleep be but a passing guest

'Tis type of death's perpetual rest:

Our sins are as a ghastly night,

And seal with slumbers deep our sight.

But from the wide roof of the sky

Christ's voice peals forth with urgent cry,

Calling our sleep-bound hearts to rise

And greet the dawn with wakeful eyes.

He bids us fear lest sensual ease

Unto life's end the spirit seize

And in the tomb of shame us bind,

Till we are to the true light blind.

'Tis said that baleful spirits roam

Abroad beneath the dark's vast dome;

But, when the cock crows, take their flight

Sudden dispersed in sore affright.

For the foul votaries of the night

Abhor the coming of the light,

And shamed before salvation's grace

The hosts of darkness hide their face.

They know the cock doth prophesy

Of Hope's long-promised morning sky,

When comes the Majesty Divine

Upon awakened worlds to shine.

The Lord to Peter once foretold

What meaning that shrill strain should hold,

How he before cock-crow would lie

And thrice his Master dear deny.

For 'tis a law that sin is done

Before the herald of the sun

To humankind the dawn proclaims

And with his cry the sinner shames.

Then wept he bitter tears aghast

That from his lips the words had passed,

Though guileless he his soul possessed

And faith still reigned within his breast.

Nor ever reckless word he said

Thereafter, by his tongue betrayed,

But at the cock's familiar cry

Humbled he turned from vanity.

Therefore it is we hold to-day

That, as the world in stillness lay,

What hour the cock doth greet the skies,

Christ from deep Hades did arise.

Lo! then the bands of death were burst,

Shattered the sway of hell accurst:

Then did the Day's superior might

Swiftly dispel the hosts of Night.

Now let base deeds to silence fall,

Black thoughts be stilled beyond recall:

Now let sin's opiate spell retire

To that deep sleep it doth inspire.

For all the hours that still remain

Until the dark his goal attain,

Alert for duty's stern command

Let every soul a sentry stand.

With sober prayer on Jesus call;

Let tears with our strong crying fall;

Sleep cannot on the pure soul steal

That supplicates with fervent zeal.

Too long did dull oblivion cloud

Our motions and our senses shroud:

Lulled by her numbing touch, we stray

In dreamland's ineffectual way.

Bound by the dazzling world's soft chain

'Tis false and fleeting gauds we gain,

Like those who in deep slumbers lie:--

Let us awake! the truth is nigh.

Gold, honours, pleasure, wealth and ease,

And all the joys that mortals please,

Joys with a fatal glamour fraught--

When morning comes, lo! all are nought.

But thou, O Christ, put sleep to flight

And break the iron bands of night,

Free us from burden of past sin

And shed Thy morning rays within.

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