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O Christ, whose cross began to bloom
With peaceful lilies, long ago,
Each year above thy empty tomb
More thick the Easter garlands glow;
O'er all the wounds of that sad strife
Bright wreathes the new, immortal life.


The hands that once the cross upraised
All power in heaven and earth doth fill;
Of men desired, of angels praised,
Why sits He silent, waiting still?
Alas! in many a heart of pain
The Christ is crucified again.


Low lies the world He died to save,
And feels not yet her Easter morn--
Still holds the victory of the grave
O'er all his brethren younger-born.
His soul yet travails by their side,
Its long desire unsatisfied.


Sad symbol of the deathly strain--
In resurrection-light revealed
The sign of hope that conquers pain,
Of joys that sharpest sorrows yield--
Hail, thou the first that bearest flowers!
The burden, not the grace, is ours.


And yet the cross is dropping balm;
May we not come so near at last
That all the grief shall shine with calm,
And beauty hide the ashen past?
O that our stone were rolled away!
O that our cross could bloom today!