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Ye clouds and darkness, hosts of night

That breed confusion and affright,

Begone! o'erhead the dawn shines clear,

The light breaks in and Christ is here.

Earth's gloom flees broken and dispersed,

By the sun's piercing shafts coerced:

The daystar's eyes rain influence bright

And colours glimmer back to sight.

So shall our guilty midnight fade,

The sin-stained heart's gross dusky shade:

So shall the King's All-radiant Face

Sudden unveil our deep disgrace.

No longer then may we disguise

Our dark intents from those clear eyes:

Yea, at the dayspring's advent blest

Our inmost thoughts will stand confest.

The thief his hidden traffic plies

Unmarked before the dawn doth rise:

But light, the foe of guile concealed,

Lets no ill craft lie unrevealed.

Fraud and Deceit love only night,

Their wiles they practise out of sight;

Curtained by dark, Adultery too

Doth his foul treachery pursue,

But slinks abashed and shamed away

Soon as the sun rekindles day,

For none can damning light resist

And 'neath its rays in sin persist.

Who doth not blush o'ertook by morn

And his long night's carousal scorn?

For day subdues the lustful soul,

And doth all foul desires control.

Now each to earnest life awakes,

Now each his wanton sport forsakes;

Now foolish things are put away

And gravity resumes her sway.

It is the hour for duty's deeds,

The path to which our labour leads,

Be it the forum, army, sea,

The mart or field or factory.

One seeks the plaudits of the bar,

One the stern trumpet calls to war:

Those bent on trade and husbandry

At greed's behest for lucre sigh.

Mine is no rhetorician's fame,

No petty usury I claim;

Nor am I skilled to face the foe:

'Tis Thou, O Christ, alone I know.

Yea, I have learnt to wait on Thee

With heart and lips of purity,

Humbly my knees in prayer to bend,

And tears with songs of praise to blend.

These are the gains I hold in view

And these the arts that I pursue:

These are the offices I ply

When the bright sun mounts up the sky.

Prove Thou my heart, my every thought,

Search into all that I have wrought:

Though I be stained with blots within,

Thy quickening rays shall purge my sin.

O may I ever spotless be

As when my stains were cleansed by Thee,

Who bad'st me 'neath the Jordan's wave

Of yore my soilëd spirit lave.

If e'er since then the world's gross night

Hath cast its curtain o'er my sight,

Dispel the cloud, O King of grace,

Star of the East! with thy pure face.

Since Thou canst change, O holy Light,

The blackest hue to milky white,

Ebon to clearness crystalline,

Wash my foul stains and make me clean.

'Twas 'neath the lonely star-blue night

That Jacob waged the unequal fight,

Stoutly he wrestled with the Man

In darkness, till the day began.

And when the sun rose in the sky

He halted on his shrivelled thigh:

His natural might had ebbed away,

Vanquished in that tremendous fray.

Not wounded he in nobler part

Nor smitten in life's fount, the heart:

But lust was shaken from his throne

And his foul empire overthrown.

Whereby we clearly learn aright

That man is whelmed by deadly night,

Unless he own God conqueror

And strive against His will no more.

Yet happier he whom rising morn

Shall find of nature's strength forlorn,

Whose warring flesh hath shrunk away,

Palsied by virtue's puissant sway.

And then at length let darkness flee,

Which all too long held us in fee,

'Mid wildering shadows made us stray

And led in devious tracks our way.

We pray Thee, Rising Light serene,

E'en as Thyself our hearts make clean:

Let no deceit our lips defile

Nor let our souls be vexed by guile.

O keep us, as the hours proceed,

From lying word and evil deed,

Our roving eyes from sin set free,

Our body from impurity.

For thou dost from above survey

The converse of each fleeting day:

Thou dost foresee from morning light

Our every deed, until the night.

Justice and judgment dwell with Thee,

Whatever is, Thine eye doth see:

Thou know'st what human hearts conceive

And none Thy wisdom may deceive.

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