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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XX

BAPTISM

DEAR be the Church, that, watching o'er the needs
Of Infancy, provides a timely shower
Whose virtue changes to a christian Flower
A Growth from sinful Nature's bed of weeds!--
Fitliest beneath the sacred roof proceeds
The ministration; while parental Love
Looks on, and Grace descendeth from above
As the high service pledges now, now pleads.
There, should vain thoughts outspread their wings and fly
To meet the coming hours of festal mirth,
The tombs--which hear and answer that brief cry,
The Infant's notice of his second birth--
Recall the wandering Soul to sympathy
With what man hopes from Heaven, yet fears from Earth.