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FOR thou wert born of woman! thou didst come,
O Holiest to this world of sin and gloom,

Not in thy dread omnipotent array;

And not by thunders strewed was thy tempestuous road; Nor indignation burnt before thee on thy way.

But thee, a soft and naked child,

Thy mother undefiled,

In the rude manger laid to rest
From off her virgin breast.

The heavens were not commanded to prepare

A gorgeous canopy of golden air:

Nor stooped their lamps th'enthroned fires on high:

A single silent star came wandering from afar,

Gliding unchecked and calm along the liquid sky;

The eastern sages leading on

As at a kingly throne,

To lay their gold and odours sweet

Before Thy infant feet.

The earth and ocean were not hushed to hear
Bright harmony from every starry sphere;

Nor at thy presence brake the voice of song
From all the cherub-choirs, and seraphs' burning lyres
Poured thro' the host of heaven the charmed clouds along.
One angel troop the strain began,

Of all the race of man

By simple shepherds heard alone,

That soft Hosanna's tone.

And when thou didst depart, no car of flame

To bear thee hence in lambent radiance came; Nor visible angels mourned with drooping plumes: Nor didst thou mount on high from fatal Calvary With all thine own redeemed outbursting from their tombs. For Thou didst bear away from earth

But one of human birth,

The dying felon by Thy side, to be

In Paradise with Thee.

Nor o'er Thy cross the clouds of vengeance brake ;

A little while the conscious earth did shake

At that foul deed by her fierce children done;

A few dim hours of day the world in darkness lay;

Then basked in bright repose beneath the cloudless sun.

While Thou didst sleep beneath the tomb,

Consenting to Thy doom:

Ere yet the white-robed angel shone

Upon the sealed stone.

And when Thou didst arise, Thou didst not stand With devastation in Thy red right hand,

Plaguing the guilty city's murtherous crew;

But Thou didst haste to meet thy mother's coming feet,
And bear the words of peace unto the faithful few.
Then calmly, slowly didst Thou rise

Into thy native skies,

Thy human form dissolved on high

In its own radiancy.



FOR Thou didst die for me, O Son of God!
By Thee the throbbing flesh of man was worn;
Thy naked feet the thorns of sorrow trod,
And tempests beat Thy houseless head forlorn:
Thou, that wert wont to stand
Alone, on God's right hand,

Before the ages were, the Eternal, eldest born.

Thy birthright in the world was pain and grief,
Thy love's return, ingratitude and hate;

The limbs thou healest brought Thee no relief,
The eyes Thou openedst calmly viewed Thy fate :
Thou, that wert wont to dwell

In peace, tongue cannot tell,

Nor heart conceive the bliss of Thy celestial state.

They dragged Thee to the Roman's solemn hall,
Where the proud judge in purple splendour sate;
Thou stoodst a meek and patient criminal,

Thy doom of death from human lips to wait;
Whose throne shall be the world

In final ruin hurled,

With all mankind to hear their everlasting fate.

Thou wert alone in that fierce multitude,

When "Crucify him!" yelled the general shout;
No hand to guard Thee mid those insults rude,
Nor lip to bless in all that frantic rout;
Whose lightest whispered word

The Seraphim had heard,

And adamantine arms from all the heavens broke out.

They bound Thy temples with the twisted thorn,
Thy bruised feet went languid on with pain;
The blood, from all Thy flesh with scourges torn,
Deepened Thy robe of mockery's crimson grain;
Whose native vesture bright

Was the unapproached light,

The sandal of whose foot the rapid hurricane.

They smote Thy cheek with many a ruthless palm;

With the cold spear Thy shuddering side they pierced;

The draught of bitterest gall was all the balm.

They gave, t'enhance Thy unslaked, burning thirst: Thou, at whose words of peace

Did pain and anguish cease,

And the long-buried dead their bonds of slumber burst.

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