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In Israel was many a refuge city,

Whereto the blameless homicide might flee,

And claim protection, sustenance, and pity,

Safe from the blood-avenger's enmity, Until the law's acquittal sent him thence,

Free from offence.

Round old cathedral, abbey-church, and palace,

Did we ourselves a sanctuary draw,

Where no stern creditor could glut his malice,

And even criminals might brave the law;

For judge nor justice in that charter'd verge

Their rights could urge.

These times are gone; felons and knavish debtors

May mourn the change, but who bewails their case?

For why should God and King be made abettors

Of guilt and fraud, the champions of the base ?

Never may such a desecration stain

Our land again!

But all are not divested of their charter;

One refuge still is left for human woes. Victim of care! or persecution's martyr!

Who seek’st a sure asylum from thy foes, Learn that the holiest, safest, purest, best,

Is man's own breast !

There is a solemn sanctuary founded

By God himself; not for transgressors meant; But that the man opprest, the spirit-wounded,

And all beneath the world's injustice bent,

Might turn from outward wrong, turmoil, and din,

To peace within.

Each bosom is a temple; when its altar,

The living heart, is unprofaned and pure,

Its verge is hallow'd; none need fear or falter

Who thither fly; it is an ark secure,

Winning, above a world o'erwhelm'd with wrath,

Its peaceful path.

O Bower of Bliss! O Sanctuary holy!

Terrestrial antepast of heavenly joy!

Never! oh, never may misdeed or folly

My claim to thy beatitudes destroy! Still may I keep this Paradise unlost,

Where'er I'm tost.

E'en in the flesh, the spirit disembodied,

Uncheck’d by time and space, may soar elate,

In silent awe to commune with the Godhead,

Or the millennium reign anticipate,

When earth shall be all sanctity and love,

Like heaven above.

How sweet to turn from anguish, guilt, and madness,

From scenes where strife and tumult never cease,

To that Elysian world of bosom'd gladness,

Where all is silence, charity, and peace;

And shelter'd from the storm the soul may rest

On its own nest!

When, spleenful as the sensitive Mimosa,

We shrink from winter's touch and Nature's gloom,

There may we conjure up a Vallombrosa,

Where groves and bowers in summer beauty bloom,

And the heart dances in the sunny glade

Fancy has made.

But, would we dedicate to nobler uses,

This bosom sanctuary, let us there

Hallow our hearts from all the world's abuses;

While high and charitable thoughts and pray'r,

May teach us gratitude to God, combined

With love of kind.

Reader! this is no lay unfelt and hollow,

But prompted by the happy, grateful heart

Of one who, having humbly tried to follow

The path he counsels, would to thee impart

The love and holy quiet which have blest

His own calm breast.

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