This is the text of this hymn as it appeared in the Second Edition of William Chatterton Dix’s “Altar Songs.” He gives it the heading “Festivals of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Pure Offering.”
Within the Temple’s hallowed courts
Saint Mary stands,
Behold, the Mother of Fair Love
Fulfils the law’s commands.
Too poor the costly lamb to bring,
She yet brings Thee,
The spotless Lamb of God — the Heir
O mystery, that woman’s love
Should bring the Lord
Into His temple and fulfil
The promise of His word.
Yet so it was. That little Child
The Mother maid
Pressed to her loving heart, was e’en
The God to Whom she prayed.
The offering of the poor was hers;
Yet wondrous thought,
Unto’ the Altar of her God
The Lamb of God she brought.
Now the expectant ones behold
The Light of Light;
And in their daily hour of prayer,
Their faith is lost in sight.
God does not dwell ’mid feverish heats,
Or fancies wild;
’Tis in the quiet of His house
We find the Holy Child.
We look for something great the while
His blessed Will
Is working silently Its course,
Like lonely mountain-rill.
The earthquake, fire and storm
We make our choice;
Forgetful that the Lord, of old,
Came in the still, small voice.
Forgetful, that by those who kept
In duteous round
Their holy course of prayer and fast,
The Infant-Christ was found.
O Father, we have nought to bring
But Mary’s gift:
The Sacrifice of Thy dear Son
Anew by faith we lift.
We, like the Mother-maid, are poor,
But Thou dost deign
To give us Thy dear Son, that we
May give to Thee again!
Words: William Chatterton Dix, 1867.
Tune: Unknown – no tune seems to exist in this meter