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them on her head and neck, praying that she might be thought worthy "to
be enrolled into the society of the hundred and forty-four thousand
virgins, who preserved their chastity and did not mix with the society
of impure women."
Last of all, he placed the ring on the middle finger of her right hand,
and solemnly said, "So I marry you to Jesus Christ, who will henceforth
be your protector. Receive this ring, the pledge of your faith, that you
may be called the spouse of God." She fell on her knees, and sung, "I am
married to him whom angels serve, whose beauty the sun and moon admire;"
then rising, and showing with exultation her right hand, she said,
emphatically, as if to impress it on the attention of the congregation,
"My Lord has wedded me with this ring, and decorated me with a crown as
his spouse. I here renounce and despise all earthly ornaments for his
sake, whom alone I see, whom alone I love, in whom alone I trust, and to
whom alone I give all my affections. My heart hath uttered a good word:
I speak of the deed I have done for my King." The bishop then pronounced
a general benediction, and retired up to the altar; while the nun
professed was borne off between her friends, with lighted tapers, and
WEDDED LOVE IS INFINITELY PREFERABLE TO VARIETY.
Hail, wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety,
In Paradise of all things common else!
By thee adult'rous lust was driven from men,
Among the bestial herds to range; by thee,
Founded in reason, loyal, just and pure,
Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
Thou art the fountain of domestic sweets,
Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced.
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd,
Casual fruition; nor in court amours,
Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
Or serenade, which the starved lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
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