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Proclaiming love, in things divine,
Still to be male and feminine ;
Foretelling, in the Song of Songs,
Which time makes clear as it prolongs,
Christ's nuptials with the Church, (far more,
My children, than a metaphor !)
And still, by names of Bride and Wife,
Husband and Bridegroom, heav'n's own life
Picturing, so proving their's to be
The Earth's unearthliest sanctity.

But, dear my children, heights are heights
And hardly scaled. The best delights
Of even this homeliest passion are
In the most perfect souls so rare,
That they who feel them are as men
Sailing the Southern Ocean, when,
At midnight, they look up and eye
The starry Cross and a strange sky
Of brighter stars, and sad thoughts come
To each how far he is from home.

God's Truth, when most it thwarts our wills In show, then most in fact fulfils. Love's nuptial highest, wherefore, see In the doctrine of virginity! For what's the virgin's special crown But that which Love in faith lays down, Transmuted, without shade of loss, By the mere contact of the Cross, To what love nuptial oft makes vow With sighs to be, but knows not how ! Could lovers, at their dear wish, blend, "Twould kill the bliss which they intend; For joy is love's obedience Against the law of natural sense ; And those perpetual yearnings sweet Of lives which fancy they can meet Are given that lovers never may Be without costly gifts to lay On the high altar of true love In hours of vestal joy. Men move, Frantic, like comets, to their bliss, Forgetting that they always miss; And this perpetual, fond mistake, Which love will ne'er learn not to make, On earth, to seek and fly the sun By turns, around which love should run, Perverts the ineffable delight Of service guerdon'd with full sight, And pathos of a hopeless want, To an unreal victory's vaunt And plaint of an unreal defeat, Languor and passion.

Misconceit May also be of vestal life.

.

And bridal promises are still
The goal that glads the virgin will,
Whose nature doth indeed subsist
There where the outward forms are miss'd,
In all who learn and keep the sense
Divine of “due benevolence,"
Seeking for aye, without alloy
Of selfishness, another's joy,
And finding, in degrees unknown,
That which in act they shunned, their own;
For all delights of earthly love
Are shadows of the heavens, and move
As other shadows do : they flee
From him that follows them, and he
Who flies, for ever finds his feet
Embraced by their pursuings sweet.

But each must learn that Christ's Cross is
Safety, ere he can find it bliss.
The powers that nature's powers can stem
Must come to us, not we to them.
The heavenward soul no measure keeps,
But, lark-like, soars by wayward leaps ;
And highest achievements here befall,
As elsewhere, expectations small.
Then, even in love humane, do I
Not counsel aspirations high,
So much as sweet and regular
Use of the good in which we are.
As when a man along the ways
Walks, and a sudden music plays,
His step unchanged, he steps in time,
So let your grace with Nature chime,
Her primal forces burst like straws
The bonds of uncongenial laws,
And those who conquer her are they
Who comprehend her and obey;
Which let your one ambition be ;
For pride of soaring sanctity
Revolts to hell; and that which needs
The world's high places, and succeeds,
Suffers as if a level shock'd
The upstepping foot. Be ye not mock'd:
Right life is glad as well as just,
And, rooted strong in “This I must,”
It bears aloft the blossom gay
And zephyr-toss'd, of “This I may;"
Whereby the complex heavens rejoice
In fruits of uncommanded choice.

This still observe : seeking delight,
Esteem success the test of right;
For 'gainst God's will much may be done
But nought enjoy'd, and pleasures none
Exist, but, like to springs of steel,

Active no longer than they feel

The checks that make them serve the soul,
They get their vigour from control.

Wherefore, dear children, keep but well
The Church's indispensable
First precepts, and she then allows,
Nay, bids a man leave, for his spouse,
Even his heavenly Father's awe,
At times, and her, his Mother's, law,
Construed in its extremer sense.
Jehovah's mild magnipotence
Smiles to behold His children play
In their own free and childish way,
And can His fullest praise descry
In their exuberant liberty.

Happy who in their lives are seen
At all times in the golden mean,
Who, having learn'd and understood
The glory of the central good,
And how' souls ne'er may match or merge
But as they thitherward converge,
Nor loves outlast the thorn's brief flame,
Unless God burns within the same,
Can yet, with no proud disesteem
Of mortal love's prophetic dream,
Take, in its innocent pleasures, part,
With infantine, untroubled heart,
And faith that oft t'ward heav'n's far Spring,
Sleeps, like the swallow, on the wing.

Of wedlock's perils all the worst
By ignorance are bred and nurst.
Lovers, once married, deem their bond
Then perfect, scanning nought beyond
For love to do but to sustain
The spousal hour's completed gain.
But time and a right life alone
Fulfil what is that hour foreshewn.
The Bridegroom and the Bride withal
Are but unwrought material
Of marriage ; nay, so far is love,
Thus crown'd, from being thereto enough,
Without the long, compulsive awe
Of duty, that the bond of law
Does oftener marriage-love evoke,
Than love, which does not wear the yoke
Of legal vows, submits to be
Self-rein'd from ruinous liberty.
Lovely is love ; but age well knows
'Twas law which kept the lover's vows
Inviolate through the year or years
Of worship pieced with panic fears,
When she who lay within his breast
Seem'd of all women perhaps the best,
But not the whole, of womankind,

Had ghastly doubts its precious life
Was pledged for aye to the wrong wife.
' Could it be else? A youth pursues
A maid, whom chance, not he, did choose,
Till to his strange arms hurries she
In a despair of modesty.
Then simply, and without pretence
Of insight or experience,
They plight their vows. The parents say,
“We cannot speak them yea or nay;
“The thing proceedeth from the Lord !”
And wisdom still approves their word;
For God created so these two
They match as well as others do
That take more pains, and trust Him less
Who rarely fails, if ask'd, to bless
His children's hopeless ignorance,
And blind election of life's chance,

Verily, choice not matters much,
(If but the woman's truly such,
| And the young man has led the life
Without which how shall e'er the wife
Be the one woman in the world ?
Love's sensitive tendrils sicken, curl'd
Round Folly's former stay; for 'tis
The doom of an unsanction'd bliss
To mock some good that, gain'd, keeps still
The taint of the rejected ill. .

How beit, tho' both be true, that she
Of whom the maid was prophecy
As yet lives not, and Love rebels
Against the law of any else;
And as a steed takes blind alarm,
Disowns the rein, and hunts his harm,
So, misdespairing word and act
May now perturb the happiest pact.
The more, indeed, is love, the more
Peril to love is now in store,
Against it, nothing can be done
But only this : leave ill alone!
Who tries to mend his wife succeeds
, As he who knows not what he needs.
! He much affronts a worth as high
| As his, and that equality

Of spirits in which abide the grace
And joy of her subjected place;
And does the still growth check and blur
Of contraries, confusing her
Who better knows what he desires
Than he, and to that mark aspires
With perfect zeal, and a deep wit
Which nothing helps but faith in it.

So, handsomely ignoring all
In which love's promise short may fall

The checks that make them serve the soul,
They get their vigour from control.

Wherefore, dear children, keep but well
The Church's indispensable
First precepts, and she then allows,
Nay, bids a man leave, for his spouse,
Even his heavenly Father's awe,
At times, and her, his Mother's, law,
Construed in its extremer sense.
Jehovah's mild magnipotence
Smiles to behold His children play
In their own free and childish way,
And can His fullest praise descry
In their exuberant liberty.

Happy who in their lives are seen
At all times in the golden mean,
Who, having learn'd and understood
The glory of the central good,
And how souls ne'er may match or merge
But as they thitherward converge,
Nor loves outlast the thorn's brief flame,
Unless God burns within the same,
Can yet, with no proud disesteem
Of mortal love's prophetic dream,
Take, in its innocent pleasures, part,
With infantine, untroubled heart,
And faith that oft t'ward heav'n's far Spring,
Sleeps, like the swallow, on the wing.

Of wedlock's perils all the worst
By ignorance are bred and nurst.
Lovers, once married, deem their bond
Then perfect, scanning nought beyond
For love to do but to sustain
The spousal hour's completed gain.
But time and a right life alone
Fulfil what is that hour foreshewn.
The Bridegroom and the Bride withal,
Are but unwrought material
Of marriage; nay, so far is love,
Thus crown'd, from being thereto enough,
Without the long, compulsive awe
Of duty, that the bond of law
Does oftener marriage-love evoke,
Than love, which does not wear the yoke
Of legal vows, submits to be
Self-rein'd from ruinous liberty.
Lovely is love ; but age well knows
'Twas law which kept the lover's vows
Inviolate through the year or years
Of worship pieced with panic fears,
When she who lay within his breast
Seem'd of all women perhaps the best,
But not the whole, of womankind,

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