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THE prayers are o'er: why slumberest thou so
Up to the altar's northern side ?—
The widow'd spouse of Christ : with ashes crown'd,
Her Christmas robes unbound,
Keeping her penance drear.-
Or coldly proud, ye turn away?
Each awful curse, that on Mount Ebal rang,
Peals with a direr clang
Forgiveness only told.
Who sporting on some giddy height
But surer than all words the silent spell
(So Grecian legends tell)
She bares her tender breast.
There to glide home, there safely cling.
Wayward and spoild she knows ye: the keen blast
That brac'd her youth, is past :
She bears them in your name:
+ Alluding to a beautiful anecdote in the Greek Anthology, tom. ii. 180. ed. Jacobs. See Pleasures of Memory, p. 133,
Only return and love. But ye perchance
Are deeper plung’d in sorrow's trance : Your God forgives, but ye no comfort take Till ye have scourg'd the sinsthat in your conscience ache.
O heavy laden soul! kneel down and hear
Thy penance in calm fear:
Then, by the judge within
For ever with thy sullen heart,