[Editor: This poem by L. E. Homfray was published in The Bush Brother (Dubbo, NSW), October 1914.]
Our First Communion.
O! God, in this sweet morning hour,
Thy children come to-day,
With lowly faith we would draw near,
Oh! send us not away.
Our hearts are young, and eager now
To serve Thee in the fight,
But in our weakness we would pray
For strength to choose the right.
They tell us, foes are ever near,
To lure us from Thy side;
Oh! would that we, within Thy Heart,
Might evermore abide.
But we, as soldiers brave and true,
Must witness for Thy Name;
Must bear the cross which Thou did’st bear,
Its glory and its shame.
And so, in this sweet solemn hour,
Thy children come to Thee,
To kneel before Thine Altar Throne
In meek humility.
For though we cannot see Thee now,
We know that Thou art nigh;
That Thou, in very truth art here
And wilt not pass us by.
And then, with souls made pure and white,
Back to the world we go,
Made strong by Thy redeeming Blood,
To vanquish every foe.
L. E. HOMFRAY.
The Bush Brother (Dubbo, NSW), October 1914, p. 79
The Bush Brother was a religious publication, which described itself as “A Quarterly Paper conducted by Members of the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd.” The Brotherhood was “A Society, consisting of Clergy and Laity of the Church of England, formed for the purpose of Ministering to the Spiritual needs of the Dwellers in the Bush Districts of the Bathurst Diocese.”
art = (archaic) are
did’st = (archaic) did (second-person singular past tense of “do”); commonly used in conjunction with “thou” (e.g. “Whence didst thou come?”)
nigh = near, close, especially regarding time or place (e.g. “the time was nigh”); approaching, nearly; almost
thee = (archaic) you
thine = (archaic) yours; your (“thine”, meaning “your”, is usually placed before a word which begins with a vowel, e.g. “To thine own self be true”)
thou = (archaic) you
thy = (archaic) your
wilt = (archaic) will
[Editor: Changed “Oh would that we” to “Oh! would that we” (the spacing indicates that a character was meant to be inserted after “Oh”, presumably intended to be an exclamation mark, judging by the similar style used with “O!” and “Oh!” in the same poem).]