The Dove

O gentle dove, Spring's harbinger,
How much I love to hear,
From budding larch in boisterous March;
Thy woodnote sweet and clear!

When in our fields the daffodil
Just shows her golden sheath,
And here and there a primrose rare
Comes peeping underneath,

Then as the cold morn struggling out
Lights lawn and leafless trees,
And scarce a note from woodbird's throat
Comes on the ruffling breeze.

I hear across the windy dawn
Thine oft-repeated strain,
And memories fraught with holy thought
Come surging thro' my brain.

I see in distant Palestine
The sacred Jordan flow,
And lilies that heard the Saviour's word
Along his banks in blow.

There Jesus bore man's baptism,
There God's great word was said,
And the form was thine that love Divine
Bade hover o'er His head.

I see a slow emerging world,
A slow retreating sea,
A raven dark from a stranded ark
And a lonely olive tree.

I see the dove, kind messenger,
Caught in by Noah's hand,
With the leaf in her beak of hope to speak
To that imprison'd band.

As once Thy Spirit like a dove
On Thy “Beloved” was pour'd,
So let Thy grace find resting place
In this poor heart, O Lord!

In the world's strife to Thee I flee,
Let Thy hand take me in—
Safe in Thy fold Thy wanderer hold,
And keep from shame and sin.

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