Soft and holy Vesper Hour -
Precursor of the night -
How I love thy soothing power,
The hush, the fading light;
Raising those vain thoughts of ours
To higher, holier things -
Mingling gleams from Eden's bowers
With earth's imaginings!
How thrilling in some grand old fane
To hear the Vesper prayer
Rise, with the organ's solemn strain,
On incense-laden air;
While the last dying smiles of day
Athwart the stained glass pour -
Flooding with red and golden ray
The shrine and chancel floor.
Who, at such moment, has not felt
Those yearnings, vague, yet sweet,
For Heaven's joys at last to melt,
Into fruition meet;
And wished, as with rapt soul he viewed
That glorious Home above,
That earth's vain thoughts would ne'er intrude
On visions of God's love?
To this calm hour belongs a sway
The bright day cannot wield -
Sweet as the evening star's first ray,
Transforming wood and field;
Soft'ing gay flowers else too bright
And silvering hill and dell;
And clothing earth in that mild light
The sad heart loves so well.