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Edmund Spenser

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Behold, whiles she before the altar stands,
Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes,
And blesseth her with his two happy hands.
--
Epithalamion, line 223; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

 
Edmund Spenser

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The priest looked at him. Do I know you? he said.
Suttree placed one hand on the pew in front of him. An old woman was going along the altar rail with a dusting rag. He struggled to his feet. No, he said. You dont know me.
The priest stepped back, inspecting is clothes, his fishstained shoes.
I just fell asleep a minute. I was resting.
The priest gave a little smile, lightly touched with censure, remonstrance gentled. God's house is not exactly the place to take a nap, he said.
It's not God's house.
I beg your pardon?
It's not God's house.
Oh?
Suttree waved his hand vaguely and stepped past the priest and went down the aisle. The priest watched him. He smiled sadly, but a smile for that.

 
Cormac McCarthy
 

Since once again, O Lord, in the steppes of Asia, I have no bread, no wine, no altar, I will raise myself above those symbols to the pure majesty of reality, and I will offer to you, I, your priest, upon the altar of the entire earth, the labor and the suffering of the world.
Receive, O Lord, in its totality the Host which creation, drawn by your magnetism, presents to you at the dawn of a new day. This bread, our effort, is in itself, I know, nothing but an immense disintegration. This wine, our anguish, as yet, alas! is only an evaporating beverage. But in the depths of this inchoate Mass you have placed I am certain, for I feel it an irresistible and holy desire that moves us all, the impious as well as the faithful to cry out: "O Lord, make us one!"

 
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
 

But last year, while I was yet in Montana, while I was passing before the catholic church, the priest, the Revd. Father Frederick Ebeville, curate of the church of the Immaculate Conception at Benton, said to me "I am glad to see you, is your family here?" I said yes ; he said "Go and bring them to the altar, I want to bless you before you go away " and with Gabriel Dumont and my family we all went on our kness at the altar, the priest put on his surplice and he took holy water and was going to bless us. I said will you allow me to pronounce a prayer while you bless me; he said yes, I want to know what it is. I told him the prayer, it is speaking to God "My father bless me, according to the views of thy Providence which are beautiful and without measure." He said to me : "You can say that prayer while I bless you " Well he blessed me. I pronounced that prayer for myself, for my children and for Gabriel Dumont. When the glorious general Middleton fired on us during three days and on our families and when shells went and bullets went as thick as mosquitoes in the hot day of summer, when I saw my children, my wife, myself and Gabriel Dumont were escaping, I said that nothing but the blessing without measure of Father Frederick Ebeville could save me, and that can save me to-day from these charges.

 
Louis Riel
 

Could man be drunk for ever
With liquor, love, or fights,
Lief should I rouse at mornings
And lief lie down of nights.
But men at whiles are sober
And think by fits and starts,
And if they think, they fasten
Their hands upon their hearts.

 
A. E. Housman
 

Most people measure their happiness in terms of physical pleasure and material possession. Could they win some visible goal which they have set on the horizon, how happy they could be! Lacking this gift or that circumstance, they would be miserable. If happiness is to be so measured, I who cannot hear or see have every reason to sit in a corner with folded hands and weep. If I am happy in spite of my deprivations, if my happiness is so deep that it is a faith, so thoughtful that it becomes a philosophy of life, if, in short, I am an optimist, my testimony to the creed of optimism is worth hearing.

 
Helen Keller
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