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O happy arms, where cradled lies,
And ready for the Lord's embrace,
That precious sacrifice,

The darling of his grace!

Blest eyes, that see the smiling gleam
Upon the slumbering features glow,
When the life-giving stream

Touches the tender brow !

Or when the holy cross is sign'd,
And the young soldier duly sworn
With true and fearless mind

To serve the Virgin-born.

But happiest ye, who seal'd and blest Back to your arms your treasure take, With Jesus' mark impress'd

To nurse for Jesus' sake :

To whom-as if in hallow'd air
Ye knelt before some awful shrine-
His innocent gestures wear

A meaning half divine :

By whom Love's daily touch is seen
In strengthening form and freshening hue,
In the fix'd brow serene,

The deep yet eager view.

Who taught thy pure and even breath
To come and go with such sweet grace?
Whence thy reposing Faith,

Though in our frail embrace ?

O tender gem, and full of Heaven !
Not in the twilight stars on high,
Not in moist flowers at even

See we our God so nigh.

Sweet one, make haste and know Him too, Thine own adopting Father love,

That like thine earliest dew

Thy dying sweets may prove.

XCVII.

CATECHISM.

OH say not, dream not, heavenly notes

To childish ears are vain, That the young mind at random floats,

And cannot reach the strain.

Dim or unheard, the words may fall,

And yet the heaven-taught mind May learn the sacred air, and all

The harmony unwind.

Was not our Lord a little child,

Taught by degrees to pray, By father dear and mother mild

Instructed day by day?

And lov’d He not of Heaven to talk

With children in His sight, To meet them in His daily walk,

And to His arms invite?

What though around His throne of fire

The everlasting chant
Be wafted from the seraph choir

In glory jubilant?

Yet stoops He, ever pleas’d to mark

Our rude essays of love,
Faint as the pipe of wakening lark,

Heard by some twilight grove :

Yet is He near us, to survey

These bright and order'd files, Like spring-flowers in their best array,

All silence and all smiles,

Save that each little voice in turn

Some glorious truth proclaims, What sages would have died to learn,

Now taught by cottage dames.

And if some tones be false or low,

What are all prayers beneath But cries of babes, that cannot know

Half the deep thought they breathe ?

In His own words we Christ adore,

But angels, as we speak, Higher above our meaning soar

Than we o'er children weak:

And yet His words mean more than they,

And yet He owns their praise : Why should we think, He turns away

From infants' simple lays ?

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