O Christ, of all Thy servants Guide,

Mild is the yoke Thou mak'st us bear,

Leading us gently by Thy side

With gracious care.

Thy love took up our life's hard load

And spent in grievous toils its might:

Thy bond-slaves tread the easier road

Led by Thy light.

Nine hours have run their course away,

The sun sped three parts of its race:

And what remains of the short day

Fadeth apace.

The holy fast hath reached its end;

Our table now Thou loadest, Lord:

With all Thy gifts true gladness send

To grace our board.

Such is our Master's gentle sway,

So kind the teaching in His school,

That all find rest who will obey

His easy rule.

Thou would'st not have us scorn the grace

Of cleanliness and vesture fair:

Thou lovest not a soilèd face

And unkempt hair.

Let him that fasts, Thou saidst, be clean,

Nor lose health's fair and ruddy glow:

Let no wan sallowness be seen

Upon his brow.

'Tis better in glad modesty

Of our good works to shun display:

God sees what 'scapes our neighbour's eye

And will repay.

That Shepherd keen seeks one lost sheep

Sickly and weak, strayed from the fold,

Fleece torn with briers of thickets deep,

Foolishly bold.

He drives the wolves far from the track:

And found He brings on shoulders borne

To sunlit pen the wanderer back,

No more forlorn:

Yea, to the meads and grassy fields

The lamb restores, where no thorn balks,

No rough burrs tear, no thistle yields

Its bristling stalks:

But leaves of green herbs brightly glance

And in the grove the palm-trees dream,

And laurels shade the eddying dance

Of crystal stream.

For all these gifts, O Shepherd dear,

What service can I render Thee?

No grateful vows my debt shall clear

For love so free.

Though by self-chosen fasts severe

Our strength of limb we waste away:

Though, spurning food, we Thee revere

By night and day:

Yet our works never can o'ertake

Thy love or with Thy gifts compare:

Our toils this earthen vessel break,

The more we dare.

Therefore lest failing powers consume

Our fragile life and shrivelled veins

Pale 'neath the tyranny of rheum

And weakening pains:

Thou dost not rule perpetual Lent

For man, nor modest fare deny:

Fearless may each unto his bent

His wants supply.

Enough that all our acts by prayer

Be sanctified unto Thy will,

Whether we fast, or with due care

Our needs fulfil.

Then shall God bless us for our good

And lead us to our soul's true wealth;

For, if but consecrated, food

Shall bring us health.

O Lord, grant that our feast may spread

Marrow and strength throughout our flesh:

And may all Christly souls be fed

With vigour fresh.

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