Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
The Right Use of Prayer
By 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        5
  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        10
  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.

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