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875                                                Prayers

GOD who created me
   Nimble and light of limb,
In three elements free,
   To run, to ride, to swim:
Not when the sense is dim,
   But now from the heart of joy,
I would remember Him:
   Take the thanks of a boy.
Jesu, King and Lord,
   Whose are my foes to fight,
Gird me with Thy sword
   Swift and sharp and bright.
Thee would I serve if I might;
   And conquer if I can,
From day-dawn till night,
   Take the strength of a man.
Spirit of Love and Truth,
   Breathing in grosser clay,
The light and flame of youth,
   Delight of men in the fray,
Wisdom in strength’s decay;
   From pain, strife, wrong to be free,
This best gift I pray,
   Take my spirit to Thee.

876                                 Going down Hill on a Bicycle


WITH lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.
Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:—
‘O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.
‘Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy,
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!’
Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
’Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.
Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.


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