Poet John Keble



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The Purification

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. St.
Matthew v. 8.

Bless'd are the pure in heart,
For they shall see our God,
The secret of the Lord is theirs,
Their soul is Christ's abode.

Might mortal thought presume
To guess an angel's lay,
Such are the notes that echo through
The courts of Heaven to-day.

Such the triumphal hymns
On Sion's Prince that wait,
In high procession passing on
Towards His temple-gate.

Give ear, ye kings-bow down,
Ye rulers of the earth-
This, this is He: your Priest by grace,
Your God and King by birth.

No pomp of earthly guards
Attends with sword and spear,
And all-defying, dauntless look,
Their monarch's way to clear;

Yet are there more with Him
Than all that are with you-
The armies of the highest Heaven,
All righteous, good, and true.

Spotless their robes and pure,
Dipped in the sea of light,
That hides the unapproached shrine
From men's and angels' sight.

His throne, thy bosom blest,
O mother undefiled-
That throne, if aught beneath the skies,
Beseems the sinless child.

Lost in high thoughts, “whose son
The wondrous Babe might prove,”
Her guileless husband walks beside,
Bearing the hallowed dove;

Meet emblem of His vow,
Who, on this happy day,
His dove-like soul-best sacrifice-
Did on God's altar lay.

But who is he, by years
Bowed, but erect in heart,
Whose prayers are struggling with his tears?
“Lord, let me now depart.

“Now hath Thy servant seen
Thy saving health, O Lord;
'Tis time that I depart in peace,
According to Thy word.”

Yet swells this pomp: one more
Comes forth to bless her God;
Full fourscore years, meek widow, she
Her heaven-ward way hath troth.

She who to earthly joys
So long had given farewell,
Now sees, unlooked for, Heaven on earth,
Christ in His Israel.

Wide open from that hour
The temple-gates are set,
And still the saints rejoicing there
The holy Child have met.

Now count His train to-day,
Auth who may meet Him, learn:
Him child-like sires, meek maidens find,
Where pride can nought discern.

Still to the lowly soul
He doth Himself impart,
And for His cradle and His throne
Chooseth the pure in heart.



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