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The Christian Year
by Blessed John Keble




So he drove out the man, and placed at the east of the garden of  Eden  
Cherubims and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way 
of the tree of life.                                           Genesis iii. 24. 
  FOE of mankind! too bold thy race: 
  Thou runn’st at such a reckless pace, 
  Thine own dire work thou surely wilt confound: 
  'Twas but one little drop of sin 
  We saw this morning enter in, 
  And lo! at eventide the world is drown’d. 

  See here the fruit of wandering eyes, 
  Of worldly longings to be wise, 
  Of Passion dwelling on forbidden sweets: 
  Ye lawless glances, freely rove; 
  Ruin below and wrath above 
  Are all that now the wildering fancy meets. 

  Lord, when in some deep garden glade, 
  Of Thee and of myself afraid, 
  From thoughts like these among the bowers I hide, 
  Nearest and loudest then of all 
  I seem to hear the Judge’s call: 
  "Where art thou, fallen man? come forth, and be thou tried." 

  Trembling before Thee as I stand, 
  Where’er I gaze on either hand 
  The sentence is gone forth, the ground is curs’d: 
  Yet mingled with the penal shower 
  Some drops of balm in every bower 
  Steal down like April dews, that softest fall and first. 

  If filial and maternal love 
  Memorial of our guilt must prove, 
  If sinful babes in sorrow must be born, 
  Yet, to assuage her sharpest throes, 
  The faithful mother surely knows, 
  This was the way Thou cam’st to save the world forlorn. 

  If blessed wedlock may not bless 
  Without some tinge of bitterness 
  To dash her cup of joy, since Eden lost, 
  Chaining to earth with strong desire 
  Hearts that would highest else aspire, 
  And o’er the tenderer sex usurping ever most; 

  Yet by the light of Christian lore 
  'Tis blind Idolatry no more, 
  But a sweet help and pattern of true love, 
  Shewing how best the soul may cling 
  To her immortal Spouse and King, 
  How He should rule, and she with full desire approve. 

  If niggard Earth her treasures hide, 
  To all but labouring hands denied, 
  Lavish of thorns and worthless weeds alone, 
  The doom is half in mercy given 
  To train us in our way to Heaven, 
  And shew our lagging souls how glory must be won. 

  If on the sinner’s outward frame 
  God hath impress’d his mark of blame, 
  And even our bodies shrink at touch of light, 
  Yet mercy hath not left us bare: 
  The very weeds we daily wear 
  Are to Faith’s eye a pledge of God’s forgiving might. 

  And oh! if yet one arrow more, 
  The sharpest of th’ Almighty’s store, 
  Tremble upon the string‹a sinner’s death‹ 
  Art Thou not by to soothe and save, 
  To lay us gently in the grave, 
  To close the weary eye and hush the parting breath? 

  Therefore in sight of man bereft 
  The happy garden still was left, 
  The fiery sword that guarded shew’d it too; 
  Turning all ways, the world to teach, 
  That though as yet beyond our reach, 
  Still in its place the tree of life and glory grew.