(John Keble)

The Epiphany

And lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  St. Matthew ii. 9, 10.

Star of the East, how sweet art Thou,
   Seen in lifes early morning sky,
Ere yet a cloud has dimmed the brow,
   While yet we gaze with childish eye;

When father, mother, nursing friend,
   Most dearly loved, and loving best,
First bid us from their arms ascend,
   Pointing to Thee, in Thy sure rest.

Too soon the glare of earthly day
   Buries, to us, Thy brightness keen,
And we are left to find our way
   By faith and hope in Thee unseen.

What matter? if the waymarks sure
   On every side are round us set,
Soon overleaped, but not obscure?
   Tis ours to mark them or forget.

What matter? if in calm old age
   Our childhoods star again arise,
Crowning our lonely pilgrimage
   With all that cheers a wanderers eyes?

Neer may we lose it from our sight,
   Till all our hopes and thoughts are led
To where it stays its lucid flight
   Over our Saviours lowly bed.

There, swathed in humblest poverty,
   On Chastitys meek lap enshrined,
With breathless Reverence waiting by,
   When we our Sovereign Master find,

Will not the long-forgotten glow
   Of mingled joy and awe return,
When stars above or flowers below
   First made our infant spirits burn?

Look on us, Lord, and take our parts
   Een on Thy throne of purity!
From these our proud yet grovelling hearts
   Hide not Thy mild forgiving eye.

Did not the Gentile Church find grace,
   Our mother dear, this favoured day?
With gold and myrrh she sought Thy face;
   Nor didst Thou turn Thy face away.

She too, in earlier, purer days,
   Had watched thee gleaming faint and far
But wandering in self-chosen ways
   She lost Thee quite, Thou lovely star.

Yet had her Fathers finger turned
   To Thee her first inquiring glance:
The deeper shame within her burned,
   When wakened from her wilful trance.

Behold, her wisest throng Thy gate,
   Their richest, sweetest, purest store,
(Yet owned too worthless and too late,)
   They lavish on Thy cottage-floor.

They give their bestO tenfold shame
   On us their fallen progeny,
Who sacrifice the blind and lame
   Who will not wake or fast with Thee!

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