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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

John Keble 1792–1866

Holy Matrimony


THE VOICE that breath’d o’er Eden,

That earliest wedding-day,

The primal marriage blessing,

It hath not pass’d away.

Still in the pure espousal

Of Christian man and maid,

The holy Three are with us,

The threefold grace is said.

For dower of blessed children,

For love and faith’s sweet sake,

For high mysterious union,

Which nought on earth may break.

Be present, awful Father,

To give away this bride,

As Eve thou gav’st to Adam

Out of his own pierced side:

Be present, Son of Mary,

To join their loving hands,

As thou didst bind two natures

In thine eternal bands:

Be present, Holiest Spirit,

To bless them as they kneel,

As thou for Christ, the Bridegroom,

The heavenly Spouse dost seal.

Oh, spread thy pure wing o’er them,

Let no ill power find place,

When onward to thine altar

The hallow’d path they trace,

To cast their crowns before thee

In perfect sacrifice,

Till to the home of gladness

With Christ’s own Bride they rise. AMEN.