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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Right Use of Prayer

Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)

THEREFORE when thou wouldst pray, or dost thine alms

Blow not a trump before thee: hypocrites

Do thus, vaingloriously; the common streets

Boast of their largess, echoing their psalms.

On such the laud of men, like unctuous balms,

Falls with sweet savour. Impious Counterfeits!

Prating of heaven, for earth their bosom beats!

Grasping at weeds, they lose immortal palms!

God needs not iteration nor vain cries:

That man communion with his God might share

Below, Christ gave the ordinance of prayer:

Vague ambages, and witless ecstasies,

Avail not: ere a voice to prayer be given

The heart should rise on wings of love to heaven.