A Last Prayer
FATHER, I scarcely dare to pray,
So clear I see, now it is done,
That I have wasted half my day,
And left my work but just begun;
So clear I see that things I thought
Were right or harmless were a sin;
So clear I see that I have sought,
Unconscious, selfish aims to win;
So clear I see that I have hurt
The souls I might have helped to save;
That I have slothful been, inert,
Deaf to the calls thy leaders gave.
In outskirts of thy kingdoms vast,
Father, the humblest spot give me;
Set me the lowliest task thou hast;
Let me repentant work for thee!
I cannot think but God must know
About the thing I long for so;
I know He is so good, so kind,
I cannot think but He will find
Some way to help, some way to show
Me to the thing I long for so.
I stretch my hand-it lies so near:
It looks so sweet, it looks so dear.
'Dear Lord,' I pray, 'Oh, let me know
If it is wrong to want it so?'
He only smiles-He does not speak:
My heart grows weaker and more weak,
With looking at the thing so dear,
Which lies so far, and yet so near.
Now, Lord, I leave at thy loved feet
This thing which looks so near, so sweet;
I will not seek, I will not long-
almost fear I have been wrong.
I'll go, and work the harder, Lord,
And wait till by some loud, clear word
Thou callest me to thy loved feet,
To take this thing so dear, so sweet.
1 When night falls on the earth, the sea
2 From east to west lies twinkling bright
3 With shining beams from beacons high
4 Which flash afar a friendly light.
5 The sailor's eyes, like eyes in prayer,
6 Turn unto them for guiding ray:
7 If storms obscure their radiance,
8 The great ships helpless grope their way.
9 When night falls on the earth, the sky
10 Looks like a wide, a boundless main.
11 Who knows what voyagers sail there?
12 Who names the ports they seek and gain?
13 Are not the stars like beacons set
14 To guide the argosies that go
15 From universe to universe,
16 Our little world above, below?--
17 On their great errands solemn bent,
18 In their vast journeys unaware
19 Of our small planet's name or place
20 Revolving in the lower air.
21 O thought too vast! O thought too glad!
22 An awe most rapturous it stirs.
23 From world to world God's beacons shine:
24 God means to save his mariners!
I dreamed that I ws dead and crossed the heavens,--
Heavens after heavens with burning feet and swift,--
And cried: "O God, where art Thou?" I left one
On earth, whose burden I would pray Thee lift."
I was so dead I wondered at no thing,--
Not even that the angels slowly turned
Their faces, speechless, as I hurried by
(Beneath my feet the golden pavements burned);
Nor, at the first, that I could not find God,
Because the heavens stretched endlessly like space.
At last a terror siezed my very soul;
I seemed alone in all the crowded place.
Then, sudden, one compassionate cried out,
Though like the rest his face from me he turned,
As I were one no angel might regard
(Beneath my feet the golden pavements burned):
"No moew in heaven than earth will he find God
Who does not know his loving mercy swift
But waits the moment consummate and ripe,
Each burden, from each human soul to lift."
Though I was dead, I died again for shame;
Lonely, to flee from heaven again I turned;
The ranks of angels looked away from me
(Beneath my feet the golden pavements burned).
New Year's Morning
Only a night from old to new!
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year's heart all weary grew,
But said: The New Year rest has brought."
The Old Year's hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but trusting, said:
"The blossoms of the New Year's crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead."
The Old Year's heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: "I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year's generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all y failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet pace where I leave strife."
Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.
Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year's morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old coem true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.