Epithalamium.

A poem by Hattie Howard

I.

"Whom God hath joined" - ah, this sententious phrase
A meaning deeper than the sea conveys,
And of a sweet and solemn service tells
With the rich resonance of wedding-bells;
It speaks of vows and obligations given
As if amid the harmony of heaven,
While seraph lips approving seem to say,
"Love, honor, and obey."


II.

Is Hymen then ambassador divine,
His mission, matrimonial and benign,
The heart to counsel, ardor to incite,
Convert the nun, rebuke the eremite?
As if were this his mandate from the throne:
"It is not good for them to be alone;
Behold the land! its fruitage and its flowers,
Not mine and thine, but ours."


III.

Did not great Paul aver, in lucid spell,
That they of conjugal intent "do well"?
But hinted at a better state, - 'tis one
With which two loving souls have naught to do.
For, in well-doing being quite content,
Be there another state more excellent
To which the celibate doth fain repair,
They neither know nor care.


IV.

And does the Lord of all become High Priest,
And with his presence grace the wedding-feast?
Then must the whole celestial throng draw nigh,
For nuptials there are none beyond the sky;
So is the union sanctified and blest,
For Love is host, and Love is welcome guest;
So may the joyous bridal season be
Like that of Galilee.


V.

Sweet Mary, of the blessed name so dear
To all the loving Saviour who revere,
Madonna-like be thou in every grace
That shall adorn thee in exalted place,
And thine the happy privilege to prove
The depth, the tenderness of woman's love;
So shall the heart that honors thee today
Bow down to thee alway.


VI.

O radiant June, in wealth of light and air,
With leaf and bud and blossom everywhere,
Let all bright tokens affluent combine,
And round the bridal pair in splendor shine;
Let sweethearts coy and lovers fond and true
On this glad day their tender vows renew,
And all in wedlock's bond rejoice as they
Whom God hath joined for aye.

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