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Blest voice of love, O word divine,
Lord, thou hast called young children thine,
“of such shall heaven's bright kingdom be.”
On children's heads thy hand was laid,
and child-like innocence was made
holy, when touched, O Lord, by thee.
“To him that loved us,” we would raise,
as sons of God, our inmost praise,
“to him that washed us from our sins.”
In heaven that song is sounding now,
there, saints and crowned martyrs bow,
already their pure joy begins.
“They rest not day and night,” but cry,
“Thrice Holy Lord, the heavens on high,
and all the earth thy glory fills.”
“They rest not,” earth's exulting hymn
is echoed by the cherubim,
beyond the everlasting hills.
Yet in that choir, what sounds more dear,
more welcome to the eternal ear,
than blameless joy of children's songs?
To thee, the glorious Lord alone,
the Father, Savior, Holy One,
creation's homage all belongs.
William Josiah Irons (1812-1883)