So friend of mine 'tis thy birthday morn,
And friends with fair gifts around thee come,
Outside the circle I stand forlorn,
My hands are empty my lips are dumb.
O Thou who seest in secret still,
Who reads the heart when no word is said,
The wishes that rise in prayer fulfil
In royal blessings to crown his head.
Entering the portals of manhood now,
The boy we loved from our knowledge slips,
With fresh consecration seal his brow,
With thy altar fire retouch his lips.
He girds himself for the strife anew,
And love foresees what the dangers are;
But thou, O Captain, art tried and true,
'Tis at thy charge he goes forth to war!
My empty hands to thy throne I lift,
While parting sorrow my spirit swells,
Lord, thou wilt give him a birthday gift
Out of the place where Thy fulness dwells.
He's called and chosen to dare and do,
To uphold Thy banner on battle field;
Be Thou to him strength and wisdom too,
In the day of strife, his sword and shield.
More than I ask Thou wilt give, O King!
What is my friendship or care to Thine!
To the banquet house Thy hand will bring
And refresh his lips with the kingdom's wine.