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The Christian Year
by Blessed John Keble 


Behold, the stay, 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. Matt. ii. 9, 10. 
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!