Hannah's Offering

To Shiloh from the mountains,
Where Ephraim's grapes are trod,
The mother brought her offering
Unto the house of God.
The merchantmen from Edom
Give spices rich for gold,
But she doth bear a gift more rare
Unto that sacred hold.

There are lambs in Ephraim's pastures,
Pure as the drifted snows,
That lie on the brow of Lebanon,
For ever, like a rose.
There are heifers in her valleys,
And costly gifts they are—
But she doth bring a living thing,
That is more precious far.

The little face that nestled
Into her heart at night,
The lips that lisping “mother,”
First thrill'd her with delight.
He that in all home music
Was her one golden chord;
She brings him now to shrive her vow,
And leaves him with the Lord.

The brow of the child Nazarite
Was open as the morn,
Whereon like gold-fringed cloudlets
Lay the bright locks unshorn—
The baby hand that rested
In hers was pure from stain,
As she brought him nigh to the old priest's eye,
Nor brought him forth again.

O mothers, by the cradles
Of your baptizèd sons,
Weaving a web of happy years,
For those belovèd ones,
As in each passive feature
Some glorious hope ye trace,
And a long bright shade by the future made,
Lies on the sleeping face;

Give them a fate more noble,
In your unspoken thought,
Than earth, with her dreamy greatness
And fame, hath ever brought.
Bring them a free heart-offering,
Back to the God Who gave,
By the vows that were said on the infant head,
Over the hallow'd wave.

O Christian, when thou bringest
An offering to God's shrine,
Take of the thing that is closest twined
Around that hearTof thine—
The hope, or the pride, or the dearest love
That ever thy soul has known,
Lay them down there, in Christ's own care,
And He will bless the loan.
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