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Of God and chosen friends, your troth to plight
With the symbolic ring, and willing hands
Solemnly joined. Now sanctify the bands,
O Father! to the Espoused thy blessing give,
That mutually assisted they may live
Obedient, as here taught, to thy commands.
So prays the Church, to consecrate a Vow
"The which would endless matrimony make";
Union that shadows forth and doth partake
A mystery potent human love to endow

With heavenly, each more prized for the other's sake;

Weep not, meek Bride! uplift thy timid brow.

XXVII.

THANKSGIVING AFTER CHILDBIRTH.

WOMAN! the Power who left his throne on high, And deigned to wear the robe of flesh we wear, The Power that through the straits of Infancy Did pass dependent on maternal care,

His own humanity with thee will share,

Pleased with the thanks that in his People's eye Thou offerest up for safe Delivery

From Childbirth's perilous throes. And should the Heir

Of thy fond hopes hereafter walk inclined

To courses fit to make a mother rue

That ever he was born, a glance of mind

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Cast upon this observance may renew
A better will; and, in the imagined view
Of thee thus kneeling, safety he may find.

XXVIII.

VISITATION OF THE SICK.

THE Sabbath bells renew the inviting peal;
Glad music! yet there be that, worn with pain
And sickness, listen where they long have lain,
In sadness listen. With maternal zeal
Inspired, the Church sends ministers to kneel
Beside the afflicted; to sustain with prayer,
And soothe the heart confession hath laid bare,-
That pardon, from God's throne, may set its seal
On a true Penitent. When breath departs
From one disburdened so, so comforted,
His Spirit Angels greet; and ours be hope
That, if the Sufferer rise from his sick-bed,
Hence he will gain a firmer mind, to cope
With a bad world, and foil the Tempter's arts.

XXIX.

THE COMMINATION SERVICE.

SHUN not this rite, neglected, yea, abhorred,

By some of unreflecting mind, as calling Man to curse man (thought monstrous and appalling).

Go thou and hear the threatenings of the Lord;
Listening within his Temple, see his sword
Unsheathed in wrath to strike the offender's head,
Thy own, if sorrow for thy sin be dead,
Guilt unrepented, pardon unimplored.

Two aspects bears Truth needful for salvation;
Who knows not that?-yet would this delicate age
Look only on the Gospel's brighter page:
Let light and dark duly our thoughts employ;
So shall the fearful words of Commination
Yield timely fruit of peace and love and joy.

XXX.

FORMS OF PRAYER AT SEA.

To kneeling Worshippers no earthly floor
Gives holier invitation than the deck

Of a storm-shattered Vessel saved from Wreck
(When all that Man could do availed no more)
By Him who raised the Tempest and restrains :
Happy the crew who this have felt, and pour
Forth for His mercy, as the Church ordains,
Solemn thanksgiving. Nor will they implore
In vain, who, for a rightful cause, give breath,
To words the Church prescribes, aiding the lip
For the heart's sake, ere ship with hostile ship
Encounters, armed for work of pain and death.
Suppliants! the God to whom your cause ye trust
Will listen, and ye know that He is just.

XXXI.

FUNERAL SERVICE.

FROM the Baptismal hour, through weal and woe,
The Church extends her care to thought and deed;
Nor quits the Body when the Soul is freed,
The mortal weight cast off to be laid low.
Blest Rite for him who hears in faith, "I know
That my Redeemer liveth," — hears each word
That follows, striking on some kindred chord
Deep in the thankful heart;—yet tears will flow.
Man is as grass that springeth up at morn,
Grows green, and is cut down and withereth

Ere nightfall, — truth that well may claim a sigh, Its natural echo; but hope comes reborn

At Jesu's bidding. We rejoice, "O Death, Where is thy Sting?-O Grave, where is thy Victory?"

XXXII.

RURAL CEREMONY.*

CLOSING the Sacred Book which long has fed
Our meditations, give we to a day

Of annual joy one tributary lay;

This day, when, forth by rustic music led,
The village Children, while the sky is red

* See Note.

With evening lights, advance in long array Through the still churchyard, each with garland

gay,

That, carried sceptre-like, o'ertops the head

Of the proud Bearer. To the wide church-door, Charged with these offerings which their fathers bore

For decoration in the Papal time,

The innocent Procession softly moves:

The spirit of Laud is pleased in heaven's pure clime, And Hooker's voice the spectacle approves !

XXXIII.

REGRETS.

WOULD that our scrupulous Sires had dared to leave
Less scanty measures of those graceful rites
And usages, whose due return invites

A stir of mind too natural to deceive;

Giving to Memory help when she would weave
A crown for Hope! -I dread the boasted lights
That all too often are but fiery blights,
Killing the bud o'er which in vain we grieve.
Go, seek, when Christmas snows discomfort bring,
The counter Spirit found in some gay church
Green with fresh holly, every pew a perch
In which the linnet or the thrush might sing,
Merry and loud and safe from prying search,
Strains offered only to the genial Spring.

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