Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HOLY COMMUNION, by HENRY VAUGHAN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE HOLY COMMUNION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Welcome sweet and sacred feast; welcome life
Last Line: Become both food and shepherd to thy sheep.
Alternate Author Name(s): Silurist
Subject(s): Eucharist; Communion

Welcome sweet and sacred feast; welcome life!
Dead I was, and deep in trouble;
But grace and blessings came with thee so rife,
That they have quickened even dry stubble;
Thus souls their bodies animate,
And thus, at first, when things were rude,
Dark, void, and crude,
They, by thy Word, their beauty had, and date;
All were by thee,
And still must be,
Nothing that is, or lives,
But hath his quick'nings and reprieves
As thy hand opes, or shuts;
Healings and cuts,
Darkness and daylight, life and death

Are but mere leaves turned by thy breath.
Spirits without thee die,
And blackness sits
On the divinest wits,
As on the sun eclipses lie.
But that great darkness at thy death
When the veil broke with thy last breath,
Did make us see
The way to thee;
And now by these sure, sacred ties,
After thy blood
(Our sov'reign good)
Had cleared our eyes,
And given us sight;
Thou dost unto thyself betroth
Our souls and bodies both
In everlasting light.

Was't not enough that thou hadst paid the price
And given us eyes
When we had none, but thou must also take
Us by the hand
And keep us still awake,
When we would sleep,
Or from thee creep,
Who without thee cannot stand?

Was't not enough to lose thy breath
And blood by an accursed death,
But thou must also leave
To us that did bereave
Thee of them both, these seals the means
That should both cleanse
And keep us so,
Who wrought thy woe?
O rose of Sharon! O the lily
Of the valley!
How art thou now, thy flock to keep,
Become both food and Shepherd to thy sheep.

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