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In Praise of Virginity
by Ephrem of Edessa

Blessed are you, virgin, with whom 
the comely name of virginity grows old. 
In your branches chastity built a nest; 
may your womb be a nest for her dwelling place. 
May the power of mercy preserve your temple.

Blessed are you, heavenly sparrow 
whose nest was on the cross of light. 
You did not want to build a nest on earth 
lest the serpent enter and destroy your offspring.

Blessed are your wings that were able to fly. 
May you come with the holy eagles 
that took flight and soared from the earth below 
to the bridal couch of delights.

Blessed are you, O shoot that Truth cultivated; 
He engrafted your medicine into the Tree of Life. 
Your fruit exults and rejoices at all times 
to drink the drink of the Book of Life. 
Blessed are your branches.

Blessed are you, O bride, espoused to the Living One, 
you who do not long for a mortal man. 
Foolish is the bride who is proud 
of the ephemeral crown that will be gone tomorrow.

Blessed is your heart, captivated by love 
of a beauty portrayed in your mind. 
You have exchanged the transitory bridal couch 
for the bridal couch whose blessings are unceasing.

Blessed are you, free woman, who sold yourself 
to the Lord who became a servant for your sake! 

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