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CHAPTER XIV.

How he began the month of May.

IT was his custom on May-day Eve to set up a spiritual May-bough, and to do it honour every day for a long space of time. Among all the beautiful branches that ever grew he could find none more like to a lovely May-bough than the delightful bough of the Holy Cross, which is more blooming with graces, virtues, and ornaments of every kind than any May-bough that ever was. Under this May-bough he made six prostrations (venias), and at each prostration he desired in his contemplation to adorn the spiritual May-bough with some one of the love liest things which the summer might bring forth; and he sang before it interiorly the hymn, “Salve crux sancta,” &c., in this wise; Hail, heavenly May-bough of the Eternal Wisdom, 49on which has grown the fruit of everlasting bliss! First, I offer thee to-day as an eternal adornment, in place of all red roses, a heartfelt love; secondly, for every little violet, a lowly inclination; thirdly, for all tender lilies, a pure embrace; fourthly, instead of all the beautifully-coloured and brilliant flowers, which heath or down, forest or plain, tree or meadow has brought forth this lovely May, or which have ever been or will be brought forth, my heart offers thee a spiritual kiss; fifthly, for the songs of all the blithesome little birds which ever sang merrily on any a May-day flight, my soul offers thee praises without end; sixthly, for every ornament with which a May-bough has ever been adorned my heart magnifies thee to-day with a spiritual song; and I pray thee, blessed May-bough, to help me so to praise thee in this short time of life that I may feed upon thy living fruit throughout eternity. Thus it was that he began the month of May.

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