'Neath their green and cool cathedrals,
In the garden lilies bloom,
Casting to the fresh Spring Zephyrs
Peal on peal of sweet perfume.
Often have I, pausing near them
When the sunset flushed the sky,
Seen the coral bells vibrating
With their fragrant harmony.
And, within my quiet dwelling,
I have now a Lily fair,
Whose young spirit's sweet Spring budding
Watch I with unfailing care:
God, in placing her beside me,
Made my being most complete,
And my heart keeps time for ever
With the music of her feet.
I remember not, while gazing
In her earnest eyes of blue,
That the earth has aught of sorrow
Aught less innocent and true;
And the restlessness and longing
Wakened by the cares of day,
With the burden and the tumult,
In her presence fall away.
Shield my Lily, Holy Father!
Shield her from the whirlwind's might,
But protracted sunshine temper
With a soft and starry night;
'Neath the burning suns of Summer,
Withered, scorched, the spring-flower lies,
Human hearts contract, when strangers
Long to clouds and tearful eyes.
Give her purpose strong and holy,
Faith and self-devotion high;
These Life's common by-ways brighten
Every hope intensify.
Teach her all the brave endurance
That the sons of earth require;
May she, with a patient labor,
To the great and good aspire.
Should some mighty grief oppress her,
Heavier than she can bear,
Oh! sustain her by Thy presence,
Hear and answer Thou her prayer:
And whene'er the storms of winter
Round my precious Lily reign,
To a fairer clime transplant her,
There to live and bloom again.