Christian Chivalry

The Vigil.


" Silence , unworthy! how should tones like thine
Blend with the warnings of the good and true?
God hath no need of waverers round His shrine:
What hath th' unclean with Heaven's high cause to do? "
Thus in the deep of many a shrinking heart
The murmurings swell and heave of sad remorse,
And dull the soul, that else would keenly dart
Fearless along her heaven-illumin'd course.
But, wayward doubter, lift one glance on high;
What banner streams along thy destin'd way?
The pardoning Cross, — His Cross who deign'd to die
To cleanse th' impure for His own bright array.
Wash thee in His dear blood, and trembling wear
His holy Sign, and take thy station there.


Wash thee, and watch thine armour; as of old
The champions vow'd of Truth and Purity,
Ere the bright mantle might their limbs enfold,
Or spear of theirs in knightly combat vie,
Three summer nights outwatch'd the stars on high,
And found the time too short for busy dreams,
Pageants of airy prowess dawning nigh,
And fame far hovering with immortal beams.
And more than prowess theirs, and more than fame;
No dream, but an abiding consciousness
Of an approving God, a righteous aim,
An arm outstretch'd to guide them and to bless:
Firm as steel bows for Angels' warfare bent
They went abroad, not knowing where they went.


For why? the sacred Pentecostal eve
Had bathed them with its own inspiring dew,
And gleams more bright than summer sunsets leave
Lingering well-nigh to meet the morn's fresh hue,
Dwelt on each heart; as erst in memory true,
The Spirit's chosen heralds o'er all lands
Bore the bright tongues of fire. Thus, firm and few,
Now, in our fallen time, might faithful bands
Move on th' eternal way, the goal in sight,
Nor to the left hand swerve for gale or shower,
Nor pleasure win them, wavering to the right:
Alone with Heaven they were that awful hour,
When their oath seal'd them to the war of Faith;
Alone they will be in the hour of death.
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