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“Behold, the Bridegroom draweth nigh!”
Hear ye the oft-repeated cry?
Go forth into the midnight dim;
for blest are they whom he shall find
with ready heart and watchful mind;
go forth, my soul, to him.
“Behold, the Bridegroom cometh by!”
The call is echoed from the sky:
go forth, ye servants, watch and wait;
the slothful cannot join his train;
no careless one may entrance gain:
awake, my soul, 'tis late.
The wise will plead with one accord,
“O holy, holy, holy Lord,
on us thy quickening grace bestow,
that none may reach the door too late,
when thou shalt enter at the gate
and to thy kingdom go.”
“Behold, the Bridegroom draweth near!”
The warning falls on every ear:
that night of dread shall come to all:
behold, my soul, thy lamp so dim,
rise, rise the smoking flax to trim;
soon shalt thou hear his call.
Greek, ca. eighth century; trans. Robert Maude Moorsom (1831-1911)88 86