STAR of the East, how sweet art Thou,
Seen in Life's early morning sky,
Ere yet a cloud has dimm'd the brow,
While yet we gaze with childish eye.
When father, mother, nursing friend,
Most dearly lov'd, 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 overleap'd, but none obscure?
'Tis ours to mark them or forget.
What matter? if in calm old age
Our childhood's star again arise,
Crowning our lonely pilgrimage
With all that cheers a wanderer's eyes?
Ne'er may we lose it from our sight,
Till all our hopes and thoughts are led
To where it stays its lucid flight
Over our Saviour's lowly bed.
There, swath'd in humblest poverty,
On Chastity's meek lap enshrin'd,
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
Even 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 favour'd day?
With gold and myrrh she sought thy face,
Nor didst Thou turn thy face away.
She too, in earlier, purer days,
Had watch'd thee gleaming faint and far--
But wandering in self-chosen ways
She lost thee quite, thou lovely star.
Yet had her Father's finger turn'd
To Thee her first enquiring glance:
The deeper shame within her burn'd,
When waken'd from her wilful trance.
Behold, her wisest throng thy gate,
Their richest, sweetest, purest store,
(Yet own'd too worthless and too late)
They lavish on the cottage floor.
They give their best--O tenfold shame
On us their fallen progeny,
Who sacrifice the blind and lame--
Who will not watch and pray with Thee!