Churching Of Women
Is there, in bowers of endless spring,
One known from all the seraph band
By softer voice, by smile and wing
More exquisitely bland!
Here let him speed: to-day this hallowed air
Is fragrant with a mother's first and fondest prayer.
Only let Heaven her fire impart,
No richer incense breathes on earth:
"A spouse with all a daughter's heart,"
Fresh from the perilous birth,
To the great Father lifts her pale glad eye,
Like a reviving flower when storms are hushed on high.
Oh, what a treasure of sweet thought
Is here! what hope and joy and love
All in one tender bosom brought,
For the all-gracious Dove
To brood o'er silently, and form for Heaven
Each passionate wish and dream to dear affection given.
Her fluttering heart, too keenly blest,
Would sicken, but she leans on Thee,
Sees Thee by faith on Mary's breast,
And breathes serene and free.
Slight tremblings only of her veil declare
Soft answers duly whispered to each soothing prayer.
We are too weak, when Thou dost bless,
To bear the joy--help, Virgin-born!
By Thine own mother's first caress,
That waked Thy natal morn!
Help, by the unexpressive smile, that made
A Heaven on earth around this couch where Thou wast laid.
St. Mark's Day
Oh! who shall dare in this frail scene
On holiest happiest thoughts to lean,
On Friendship, Kindred, or on Love?
Since not Apostles' hands can clasp
Each other in so firm a grasp
But they shall change and variance prove.
Yet deem not, on such parting sad
Shall dawn no welcome dear and glad:
Divided in their earthly race,
Together at the glorious goal,
Each leading many a rescued soul,
The faithful champions shall embrace.
For e'en as those mysterious Four,
Who the bright whirling wheels upbore
By Chebar in the fiery blast.
So, on their tasks of love and praise
This saints of God their several ways
Right onward speed, yet join at last.
And sometimes e'en beneath the moon
The Saviour gives a gracious boon,
When reconciled Christians meet,
And face to face, and heart to heart,
High thoughts of holy love impart
In silence meek, or converse sweet.
Companion of the Saints! 'twas thine
To taste that drop of peace divine,
When the great soldier of thy Lord
Called thee to take his last farewell,
Teaching the Church with joy to tell
The story of your love restored.
O then the glory and the bliss,
When all that pained or seemed amiss
Shall melt with earth and sin away!
When saints beneath their Saviour's eye,
Filled with each other's company,
Shall spend in love th' eternal day!
When God of old came down from Heaven,
In power and wrath He came;
Before His feet the clouds were riven,
Half darkness and half flame:
Around the trembling mountain's base
The prostrate people lay;
A day of wrath and not of grace;
A dim and dreadful day.
But when he came the second time,
He came in power and love,
Softer than gale at morning prime
Hovered His holy Dove.
The fires that rushed on Sinai down
In sudden torrents dread,
Now gently light, a glorious crown,
On every sainted head.
Like arrows went those lightnings forth
Winged with the sinner's doom,
But these, like tongues, o'er all the earth
Proclaiming life to come:
And as on Israel's awe-struck ear
The voice exceeding loud,
The trump, that angels quake to hear,
Thrilled from the deep, dark cloud;
So, when the Spirit of our God
Came down His flock to find,
A voice from Heaven was heard abroad,
A rushing, mighty wind.
Nor doth the outward ear alone
At that high warning start;
Conscience gives back th' appalling tone;
'Tis echoed in the heart.
It fills the Church of God; it fills
The sinful world around;
Only in stubborn hearts and wills
No place for it is found.
To other strains our souls are set:
A giddy whirl of sin
Fills ear and brain, and will not let
Heaven's harmonies come in.
Come Lord, Come Wisdom, Love, and Power,
Open our ears to hear;
Let us not miss th' accepted hour;
Save, Lord, by Love or Fear.
Tenth Sunday After Trinity
Why doth my Saviour weep
At sight of Sion's bowers?
Shows it not fair from yonder steep,
Her gorgeous crown of towers?
Mark well His holy pains:
'Tis not in pride or scorn,
That Israel's King with sorrow stains
His own triumphal morn.
It is not that His soul
Is wandering sadly on,
In thought how soon at death's dark goal
Their course will all be run,
Who now are shouting round
Hosanna to their chief;
No thought like this in Him is found,
This were a Conquerer's grief.
Or doth He feel the Cross
Already in His heart,
The pain, the shame, the scorn, the loss?
Feel e'en His God depart?
No: though He knew full well
The grief that then shall be -
The grief that angels cannot tell -
Our God in agony.
It is not thus He mourns;
Such might be martyr's tears,
When his last lingering look he turns
On human hopes and fears;
But hero ne'er or saint
The secret load might know,
With which His spirit waxeth faint;
His is a Saviour's woe.
"If thou had'st known, e'en thou,
At least in this thy day,
The message of thy peace! but now
'Tis passed for aye away:
Now foes shall trench thee round,
And lay thee even with earth,
And dash thy children to the ground,
Thy glory and thy mirth."
And doth the Saviour weep
Over His people's sin,
Because we will not let Him keep
The souls He died to win?
Ye hearts, that love the Lord,
If at this, sight ye burn,
See that in thought, in deed, in word,
Ye hate what made Him mourn.
Forms Of Prayer To Be Used At Sea
The shower of moonlight falls as still and clear
Upon this desert main
As where sweet flowers some pastoral garden cheer
With fragrance after rain:
The wild winds rustle in piping shrouds,
As in the quivering trees:
Like summer fields, beneath the shadowy clouds
The yielding waters darken in the breeze.
Thou too art here with thy soft inland tones,
Mother of our new birth;
The lonely ocean learns thy orisons,
And loves thy sacred mirth:
When storms are high, or when the fires of war
Come lightening round our course,
Thou breath'st a note like music from afar,
Tempering rude hearts with calm angelic force.
Far, far away, the homesick seaman's hoard,
Thy fragrant tokens live,
Like flower-leaves in a previous volume stored,
To solace and relieve
Some heart too weary of the restless world;
Or like thy Sabbath Cross,
That o'er this brightening billow streams unfurled,
Whatever gale the labouring vessel toss.
Oh, kindly soothing in high Victory's hour,
Or when a comrade dies,
In whose sweet presence Sorrow dares not lower,
Nor Expectation rise
Too high for earth; what mother's heart could spare
To the cold cheerless deep
Her flower and hope? but Thou art with him there,
Pledge of the untired arm and eye that cannot sleep:
The eye that watches o'er wild Ocean's dead,
Each in his coral cave,
Fondly as if the green turf wrapt his head
Fast by his father's grave, -
One moment, and the seeds of life shall spring
Out of the waste abyss,
And happy warriors triumph with their King
In worlds without a sea, unchanging orbs of bliss.
There is a book, who runs may read,
Which heavenly truth imparts,
And all the lore its scholars need,
Pure eyes and Christian hearts.
The works of God above, below,
Within us and around,
Are pages in that book, to show
How God Himself is found.
The glorious sky embracing all
Is like the Maker's love,
Wherewith encompassed, great and small
In peace and order move.
The Moon above, the Church below,
A wondrous race they run,
But all their radiance, all their glow,
Each borrows of its Sun.
The Savour lends the light and heat
That crowns His holy hill;
The saints, like stars, around His seat
Perform their courses still.
The saints above are stars in heaven -
What are the saints on earth?
Like tress they stand whom God has given,
Our Eden's happy birth.
Faith is their fixed unswerving root,
Hope their unfading flower,
Fair deeds of charity their fruit,
The glory of their bower.
The dew of heaven is like Thy grace,
It steals in silence down;
But where it lights, this favoured place
By richest fruits is known.
One Name above all glorious names
With its ten thousand tongues
The everlasting sea proclaims.
Echoing angelic songs.
The raging Fire, the roaring Wind,
Thy boundless power display;
But in the gentler breeze we find
Thy Spirit's viewless way.
Two worlds are ours: 'tis only Sin
Forbids us to descry
The mystic heaven and earth within,
Plain as the sea and sky.
Thou, who hast given me eyes to see
And love this sight so fair,
Give me a heart to find out Thee,
And read Thee everywhere.
Ye whose hearts are beating high
With the pulse of Poesy,
Heirs of more than royal race,
Fram’d by Heaven’s peculiar grace,
God’s own work to do on earth,
(If the word be not too bold,)
Giving virtue a new birth,
And a life that ne’er grows old—
Sovereign masters of all hearts!
Know ye, who hath set your parts?
He who gave you breath to sing,
By whose strength ye sweep the string,
He hath chosen you, to lead
His Hosannas here below;—
Mount, and claim your glorious meed;
Linger not with sin and woe.
But if ye should hold your peace,
Deem not that the song would cease—
Angels round his glory-throne,
Stars, His guiding hand that own,
Flowers, that grow beneath our feet,
Stones in earth’s dark womb that rest,
High and low in choir shall meet,
Ere His Name shall be unblest.
Lord, by every minstrel tongue
Be thy praise so duly sung,
That thine angels’ harps may ne’er
Fail to find fit echoing here:
We the while, of meaner birth,
Who in that divinest spell
Dare not hope to join on earth,
Give us grace to listen well.
But should thankless silence seal
Lips, that might half Heaven reveal,
Should bards in idol-hymns profane
The sacred soul-enthralling strain,
(As in this bad world below
Nobles things find vilest using,)
Then, thy power and mercy shew,
In vile things noble breath infusing;
Then waken into sound divine
The very pavement of thy shrine,
Till we, like Heaven’s star-sprinkled floor,
Faintly give back what we adore.
Childlike though the voices be,
And untunable the parts,
Thou wilt own the minstrelsy,
If it flow from childlike hearts.
Eight Sunday After Trinity
Prophet of God, arise and take
With thee the words of wrath divine,
The scourge of Heaven, to shake
O'er yon apostate shrine.
Where Angels down the lucid stair
Came hovering to our sainted sires
Now, in the twilight, glare
The heathen's wizard fires.
Go, with thy voice the altar rend,
Scatter the ashes, be the arm,
That idols would befriend,
Shrunk at thy withering charm.
Then turn thee, for thy time is short,
But trace not o'er the former way,
Lest idol pleasures court
Thy heedless soul astray.
Thou know'st how hard to hurry by,
Where on the lonely woodland road
Beneath the moonlight sky
The festal warblings flowed;
Where maidens to the Queen of Heaven
Wove the gay dance round oak or palm,
Or breathed their vows at even
In hymns as soft as balm.
Or thee, perchance, a darker spell
Enthralls: the smooth stones of the flood,
By mountain grot or fell,
Pollute with infant's blood;
The giant altar on the rock,
The cavern whence the timbrel's call
Affrights the wandering flock:-
Thou long'st to search them all.
Trust not the dangerous path again -
O forward step and lingering will!
O loved and warned in vain!
And wilt thou perish still?
Thy message given, thine home in sight,
To the forbidden feast return?
Yield to the false delight
Thy better soul could spurn?
Alas, my brother! round thy tomb
In sorrow kneeling, and in fear,
We read the Pastor's doom
Who speaks and will not hear.
The grey-haired saint may fail at last,
The surest guide a wanderer prove;
Death only binds us fast
To the bright shore of love.
St. Stephens Day
As rays around the source of light
Stream upward ere he glow in sight,
And watching by his future flight
Set the clear heavens on fire;
So on the King of Martyrs wait
Three chosen bands, in royal state,
And all earth owns, of good and great,
Is gather'd in that choir.
One presses on, and welcomes death:
One calmly yields his willing breath,
Nor slow, nor hurrying, but in faith
Content to die or live:
And some, the darlings of their Lord,
Play smiling with the flame and sword,
And, ere they speak, to His sure word
Unconscious witness give.
Foremost and nearest to His throne,
By perfect robes of triumph known,
And likest Him in look and tone,
The holy Stephen kneels,
With stedfast gaze, as when the sky
Flew open to his fainting eye,
Which, like a fading lamp, flash'd high,
Seeing what death conceals.
Well might you guess what vision bright
Was present to his raptured sight,
E'en as reflected streams of light
Their solar source betray -
The glory which our God surrounds,
The Son of Man, the atoning wounds -
He sees them all; and earth's dull bounds
Are melting fast away.
He sees them all--no other view
Could stamp the Saviour's likeness true,
Or with His love so deep embrue
Man's sullen heart and gross -
"Jesus, do Thou my soul receive:
Jesu, do Thou my foes forgive;"
He who would learn that prayer must live
Under the holy Cross.
He, though he seem on earth to move,
Must glide in air like gentle dove,
From yon unclouded depths above
Must draw his purer breath;
Till men behold his angel face
All radiant with celestial grace,
Martyr all o'er, and meet to trace
The lines of Jesus' death.
Twenty-First Sunday After Trinity
The morning mist is cleared away,
Yet still the face of Heaven is grey,
Nor yet this autumnal breeze has stirred the grove,
Faded yet full, a paler green
Skirts soberly the tranquil scene,
The red-breast warbles round this leafy cove.
Sweet messenger of "calm decay,"
Saluting sorrow as you may,
As one still bent to find or make the best,
In thee, and in this quiet mead,
The lesson of sweet peace I read,
Rather in all to be resigned than blest.
'Tis a low chant, according well
With the soft solitary knell,
As homeward from some grave beloved we turn,
Or by some holy death-bed dear,
Most welcome to the chastened ear
Of her whom Heaven is teaching how to mourn.
O cheerful tender strain! the heart
That duly bears with you its part,
Singing so thankful to the dreary blast,
Though gone and spent its joyous prime,
And on the world's autumnal time,
'Mid withered hues and sere, its lot be cast:
That is the heart for thoughtful seer,
Watching, in trance nor dark nor clear,
Th' appalling Future as it nearer draws:
His spirit calmed the storm to meet,
Feeling the rock beneath his feet,
And tracing through the cloud th' eternal Cause.
That is the heart for watchman true
Waiting to see what GOD will do,
As o'er the Church the gathering twilight falls
No more he strains his wistful eye,
If chance the golden hours be nigh,
By youthful Hope seen beaming round her walls.
Forced from his shadowy paradise,
His thoughts to Heaven the steadier rise:
There seek his answer when the world reproves:
Contented in his darkling round,
If only he be faithful found,
When from the east the eternal morning moves.
Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity
Ten cleansed, and only one remain!
Who would have thought our nature's stain
Was dyed so foul, so deep in grain?
E'en He who reads the heart -
Knows what He gave and what we lost,
Sin's forfeit, and redemption's cost, -
By a short pang of wonder crossed
Seems at the sight to start:
Yet 'twas not wonder, but His love
Our wavering spirits would reprove,
That heavenward seem so free to move
When earth can yield no more
Then from afar on God we cry,
But should the mist of woe roll by,
Not showers across an April sky
Drift, when the storm is o'er,
Faster than those false drops and few
Fleet from the heart, a worthless dew.
What sadder scene can angels view
Than self-deceiving tears,
Poured idly over some dark page
Of earlier life, though pride or rage,
The record of to-day engage,
A woe for future years?
Spirits, that round the sick man's bed
Watched, noting down each prayer he made,
Were your unerring roll displayed,
His pride of health to abase;
Or, when, soft showers in season fall
Answering a famished nation's call,
Should unseen fingers on the wall
Our vows forgotten trace:
How should we gaze in trance of fear!
Yet shines the light as thrilling clear
From Heaven upon that scroll severe,
"Ten cleansed and one remain!"
Nor surer would the blessing prove
Of humbled hearts, that own Thy love,
Should choral welcome from above
Visit our senses plain:
Than by Thy placid voice and brow,
With healing first, with comfort now,
Turned upon him, who hastes to bow
Before Thee, heart and knee;
"Oh! thou, who only wouldst be blest,
On thee alone My blessing rest!
Rise, go thy way in peace, possessed
For evermore of Me."
Where is it mothers learn their love? -
In every Church a fountain springs
O'er which th' Eternal Dove
Hovers out softest wings.
What sparkles in that lucid flood
Is water, by gross mortals eyed:
But seen by Faith, 'tis blood
Out of a dear Friend's side.
A few calm words of faith and prayer,
A few bright drops of holy dew,
Shall work a wonder there
Earth's charmers never knew.
O happy arms, where cradled lies,
And ready for the Lord's embrace,
That precious sacrifice,
The darling of His grace!
Blest eyes, that see the smiling gleam
Upon the slumbering features glow,
When the life-giving stream
Touches the tender brow!
Or when the holy cross is signed,
And the young soldier duly sworn,
With true and fearless mind
To serve the Virgin-born.
But happiest ye, who sealed and blest
Back to your arms your treasure take,
With Jesus' mark impressed
To nurse for Jesus' sake:
To whom--as if in hallowed air
Ye knelt before some awful shrine -
His innocent gestures wear
A meaning half divine:
By whom Love's daily touch is seen
In strengthening form and freshening hue,
In the fixed brow serene,
The deep yet eager view. -
Who taught thy pure and even breath
To come and go with such sweet grace?
Whence thy reposing Faith,
Though in our frail embrace?
O tender gem, and full of Heaven!
Not in the twilight stars on high,
Not in moist flowers at even
See we our God so nigh.
Sweet one, make haste and know Him too,
Thine own adopting Father love,
That like thine earliest dew
Thy dying sweets may prove.
Eleventh Sunday After Trinity
Is this a time to plant and build,
Add house to house, and field to field,
When round our walls the battle lowers,
When mines are hid beneath our towers,
And watchful foes are stealing round
To search and spoil the holy ground?
Is this a time for moonlight dreams
Of love and home by mazy streams,
For Fancy with her shadowy toys,
Aerial hopes and pensive joys,
While souls are wandering far and wide,
And curses swarm on every side?
No--rather steel thy melting heart
To act the martyr's sternest part,
To watch, with firm unshrinking eye,
Thy darling visions as thy die,
Till all bright hopes, and hues of day,
Have faded into twilight gray.
Yes--let them pass without a sigh,
And if the world seem dull and dry,
If long and sad thy lonely hours,
And winds have rent thy sheltering bowers,
Bethink thee what thou art and where,
A sinner in a life of care.
The fire of God is soon to fall
(Thou know'st it) on this earthly ball;
Full many a soul, the price of blood,
Marked by th' Almighty's hand for good,
To utter death that hour shall sweep -
And will the saints in Heaven dare weep?
Then in His wrath shall GOD uproot
The trees He set, for lack of fruit,
And drown in rude tempestuous blaze
The towers His hand had deigned to raise;
In silence, ere that storm begin,
Count o'er His mercies and thy sin.
Pray only that thine aching heart,
From visions vain content to part,
Strong for Love's sake its woe to hide
May cheerful wait the Cross beside,
Too happy if, that dreadful day,
Thy life be given thee for a prey.
Snatched sudden from th' avenging rod,
Safe in the bosom of thy GOD,
How wilt thou then look back, and smile
On thoughts that bitterest seemed erewhile,
And bless the pangs that made thee see
This was no world of rest for thee!
The Restoration Of The Royal Family
As when the Paschal week is o'er,
Sleeps in the silent aisles no more
The breath of sacred song,
But by the rising Saviour's light
Awakened soars in airy flight,
Or deepening rolls along;
The while round altar, niche, and shrine,
The funeral evergreens entwine,
And a dark brilliance cast,
The brighter for their hues of gloom,
Tokens of Him, who through the tomb
Into high glory passed:
Such were the lights and such the strains.
When proudly streamed o'er ocean plains
Our own returning Cross;
For with that triumph seemed to float
Far on the breeze one dirge-like note
Of orphanhood and loss.
Father and King, oh where art thou?
A greener wreath adorns thy brow,
And clearer rays surround;
O, for one hour of prayer like thine,
To plead before th' all-ruling shrine
For Britain lost and found!
And he, whose mild persuasive voice
Taught us in trials to rejoice,
Most like a faithful dove,
That by some ruined homestead builds,
And pours to the forsaken fields
His wonted lay of love:
Why comes he not to bear his part,
To lift and guide th' exulting heart? -
A hand that cannot spars
Lies heavy on his gentle breast:
We wish him health; he sighs for rest,
And Heaven accepts the prayer.
Yes, go in peace, dear placid spright,
Ill spared; but would we store aright
Thy serious sweet farewell,
We need not grudge thee to the skies,
Sure after thee in time to rise,
With thee for ever dwell.
Till then, whene'er with duteous hand,
Year after year, my native Land
Her royal offering brings,
Upon the Altar lays the Crown,
And spreads her robes of old renown
Before the King of kings.
Be some kind spirit, likest thine,
Ever at hand, with airs divine
The wandering heart to seize;
Whispering, "How long hast thou to live,
That thou should'st Hope or Fancy gave
To flowers or crowns like these?"
King Charles The Martyr
"This in thankworthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." I S.Peter ii. 19
Praise to our Pardoning God! though silent now
The thunders of the deep prophetic sky,
Though in our sight no powers of darkness bow
Before th’ Apostles’ glorious company;
The Martyrs’ noble army is still ours,
far in the North our fallen days have seen
How in her woe the tenderest spirit, towers
For Jesus’ sake in agony serene.
Praise to our God! not cottage hearths alone,
And shades imperious to the proud world’s glare,
Such witness yield: a monarch from his throne
Springs to his Cross and finds his glory there.
Yes: wheresoe’er one trace of thee is found,
As in the sacred land, the shadows fall:
With beating hearts we roam the haunted ground,
Lone battle-field, or crumbling prison hall.
And there are aching solitary breasts,
Whose widow’d walk with thought of thee is cheer’d,
Our own, our royal Saint: thy memory rests
On many a prayer, the more for thee endear’d.
True son of our dear Mother, early taught
With her to worship and for her to die,
Nurs’d in her aisles to more than kingly thought,
Oft in her solemn hours we dream thee nigh.
For thou didst love to trace her daily lore,
And where we look for comfort or for calm,
Over the self-same lines to bend, and pour
Thy heart with hers in some victorious psalm.
And well did she thy loyal love repay:
When all foresook, her Angel still was nigh,
Chain’d and bereft, and on thy funeral way,
Straight to the Cross she turn’d thy dying eye.
And yearly now, before the Martyrs’ King,
For thee she offers her maternal tears,
Calls us, like thee, to His dear feet to cling,
And bury in His wounds our earthly fears.
And Angels hear, and there is mirth in Heaven,
Fit prelude of the joy, when spirits won
Like thee to patient Faith, shall rise forgiven,
And at thy Saviour’s knees thy bright example own.
There is an awe in mortals' joy,
A deep mysterious fear
Half of the heart will still employ,
As if we drew too near
To Eden's portal, and those fires
That bicker round in wavy spires,
Forbidding, to our frail desires,
What cost us once so dear.
We cower before th' heart-searching eye
In rapture as its pain;
E'en wedded Love, till Thou be nigh,
Dares not believe her gain:
Then in the air she fearless springs,
The breath of Heaven beneath her wings,
And leaves her woodnote wild, and sings
A tuned and measured strain.
Ill fare the lay, though soft as dew
And free as air it fall,
That, with Thine altar full in view,
Thy votaries would enthrall
To a foul dream, of heathen night,
Lifting her torch in Love's despite,
And scaring with base wild-fire light
The sacred nuptial hall.
Far other strains, far other fires,
Our marriage-offering grace;
Welcome, all chaste and kind desires,
With even matron pace
Approaching down this hallowed aisle!
Where should ye seek Love's perfect smile,
But where your prayers were learned erewhile,
In her own native place?
Where, but on His benignest brow,
Who waits to bless you here?
Living, he owned no nuptial vow,
No bower to Fancy dear:
Love's very self--for Him no need
To nurse, on earth, the heavenly seed:
Yet comfort in His eye we read
For bridal joy and fear.
'Tis He who clasps the marriage band,
And fits the spousal ring,
Then leaves ye kneeling, hand in hand,
Out of His stores to bring
His Father's dearest blessing, shed
Of old on Isaac's nuptial bed,
Now on the board before ye spread
Of our all-bounteous King.
All blessings of the breast and womb,
Of Heaven and earth beneath,
Of converse high, and sacred home,
Are yours, in life and death.
Only kneel on, nor turn away
From the pure shrine, where Christ to-day
Will store each flower, ye duteous lay,
For an eternal wreath.
St. Matthias' Day
Who is God's chosen priest?
He, who on Christ stands waiting day and night,
Who traceth His holy steps, nor ever ceased,
From Jordan banks to Bethphage height:
Who hath learned lowliness
From his Lord's cradle, patience from His Cross;
Whom poor men's eyes and hearts consent to bless;
To whom, for Christ, the world is loss;
Who both in agony
Hath seen Him and in glory; and in both
Owned Him divine, and yielded, nothing loth,
Body and soul, to live and die,
In witness of his Lord,
In humble following of his Saviour dear:
This is the man to wield th' unearthly sword,
Warring unharmed with sin and fear.
But who can o'er suffice -
What mortal--for this more than angels' task,
Winning or losing souls, Thy life-blood's price?
The gift were too divine to ask.
But Thou hast made it sure
By Thy dear promise to thy Church and Bride,
That Thou, on earth, wouldst aye with her endure,
Till earth to Heaven be purified.
Thou art her only spouse,
Whose arm supports her, on Whose faithful breast
Her persecuted head she meekly bows,
Sure pledge of her eternal rest.
Thou, her unerring guide,
Stayest her fainting steps along the wild;
Thy merit is on the bowers of lust and pride,
That she may pass them undefiled.
Who then, uncalled by Thee,
Dare touch Thy spouse, Thy very self below?
Or who dare count him summoned worthily,
Except Thine hand and seal he show?
Where can Thy seal be found,
But on thou chosen seed, from age to age
By thine anointed heralds duly crowned,
As kings and priests Thy war to wage?
Then fearless walk we forth,
Yet full of trembling, Messengers of God:
Our warrant sure, but doubting of our worth,
By our own shame alike and glory awed.
Dread Searcher of the hearts,
Thou who didst seal by Thy descending Dove
Thy servant's choice, O help us in our parts,
Else helpless found, to learn and teach Thy love.
St. Simon And St. Jude
Seest thou, how tearful and alone,
And drooping like a wounded dove,
The Cross in sight, but Jesus gone,
The widowed Church is fain to rove?
Who is at hand that loves the Lord?
Make haste, and take her home, and bring
Thine household choir, in true accord
Their soothing hymns for her to sing.
Soft on her fluttering heart shall breathe
The fragrance of that genial isle,
There she may weave her funeral wreath,
And to her own sad music smile.
The Spirit of the dying Son
Is there, and fills the holy place
With records sweet of duties done,
Of pardoned foes, and cherished grace.
And as of old by two and two
His herald saints the Saviour sent
To soften hearts like morning dew,
Where he to shine in mercy meant;
So evermore He deems His name
Best honoured and his way prepared,
When watching by his altar-flame
He sees His servants duly paired.
He loves when age and youth are met,
Fervent old age and youth serene,
Their high and low in concord set
For sacred song, Joy's golden mean.
He loves when some clear soaring mind
Is drawn by mutual piety
To simple souls and unrefined,
Who in life's shadiest covert lie.
Or if perchance a saddened heart
That once was gay and felt the spring,
Cons slowly o'er its altered part,
In sorrow and remorse to sing,
Thy gracious care will send that way
Some spirit full of glee, yet taught
To bear the sight of dull decay,
And nurse it with all-pitying thought;
Cheerful as soaring lark, and mild
As evening blackbird's full-toned lay,
When the relenting sun has smiled
Bright through a whole December day.
These are the tones to brace and cheer
The lonely watcher of the fold,
When nights are dark, and foeman near,
When visions fade and hearts grow cold.
How timely then a comrade's song
Comes floating on the mountain air,
And bids thee yet be bold and strong -
Fancy may die, but Faith is there.
Fifth Sunday After Trinity
"The livelong night we've toiled in vain,
But at Thy gracious word
I will let down the net again:-
Do Thou Thy will, O Lord!"
So spake the weary fisher, spent
With bootless darkling toil,
Yet on his Master's bidding bent
For love and not for spoil.
So day by day and week by week,
In sad and weary thought,
They muse, whom God hath set to seek
The souls His Christ hath bought.
For not upon a tranquil lake
Our pleasant task we ply,
Where all along our glistening wake
The softest moonbeams lie;
Where rippling wave and dashing oar
Our midnight chant attend,
Or whispering palm-leaves from the shore
With midnight silence blend.
Sweet thoughts of peace, ye may not last:
Too soon some ruder sound
Calls us from where ye soar so fast
Back to our earthly round.
For wildest storms our ocean sweep:-
No anchor but the Cross
Might hold: and oft the thankless deep
Turns all our toil to loss.
Full many a dreary anxious hour
We watch our nets alone
In drenching spray, and driving shower,
And hear the night-bird's moan:
At morn we look, and nought is there;
Sad dawn of cheerless day!
Who then from pining and despair
The sickening heart can stay?
There is a stay--and we are strong;
Our Master is at hand,
To cheer our solitary song,
And guide us to the strand.
In His own time; but yet a while
Our bark at sea must ride;
Cast after cast, by force or guile
All waters must be tried:
By blameless guile or gentle force,
As when He deigned to teach
(The lode-star of our Christian course)
Upon this sacred beach.
Should e'er thy wonder-working grace
Triumph by our weak arm,
Let not our sinful fancy trace
Aught human in the charm:
To our own nets ne'er bow we down,
Lest on the eternal shore
The angels, while oar draught they own,
Reject us evermore:
Or, if for our unworthiness
Toil, prayer, and watching fail,
In disappointment Thou canst bless,
So love at heart prevail.
Monday In Easter Week
Go up and watch the new-born rill
Just trickling from its mossy bed,
Streaking the heath-clad hill
With a bright emerald thread.
Canst thou her bold career foretell,
What rocks she shall o'erleap or rend,
How far in Ocean's swell
Her freshening billows send?
Perchance that little brook shall flow
The bulwark of some mighty realm,
Bear navies to and fro
With monarchs at their helm.
Or canst thou guess, how far away
Some sister nymph, beside her urn
Reclining night and day,
'Mid reeds and mountain fern,
Nurses her store, with thine to blend
When many a moor and glen are past,
Then in the wide sea end
Their spotless lives at last?
E'en so, the course of prayer who knows?
It springs in silence where it will,
Springs out of sight, and flows
At first a lonely rill:
But streams shall meet it by and by
From thousand sympathetic hearts,
Together swelling high
Their chant of many parts.
Unheard by all but angel ears
The good Cornelius knelt alone,
Nor dreamed his prayers and tears
Would help a world undone.
The while upon his terraced roof
The loved Apostle to his Lord
In silent thought aloof
For heavenly vision soared.
Far o'er the glowing western main
His wistful brow was upward raised,
Where, like an angel's train,
The burnished water blazed.
The saint beside the ocean prayed,
This soldier in his chosen bower,
Where all his eye surveyed
Seemed sacred in that hour.
To each unknown his brother's prayer,
Yet brethren true in dearest love
Were they--and now they share
Fraternal joys above.
There daily through Christ's open gate
They see the Gentile spirits press,
Brightening their high estate
With dearer happiness.
What civic wreath for comrades saved
Shone ever with such deathless gleam,
Or when did perils braved
So sweet to veterans seem?
The Annunciation Of The Blessed Virgin
Oh! Thou who deign'st to sympathise
With all our frail and fleshly ties,
Maker yet Brother dear,
Forgive the too presumptuous thought,
If, calming wayward grief, I sought
To gaze on Thee too near.
Yet sure 'twas not presumption, Lord,
'Twas Thine own comfortable word
That made the lesson known:
Of all the dearest bonds we prove,
Thou countest sons and mothers' love
Most sacred, most Thine own.
When wandering here a little span,
Thou took'st on Thee to rescue man,
Thou had'st no earthly sire:
That wedded love we prize so dear,
As if our heaven and home were here,
It lit in Thee no fire.
On no sweet sister's faithful breast
Wouldst Thou Thine aching forehead rest,
On no kind brother lean:
But who, O perfect filial heart,
E'er did like Thee a true son's part,
Endearing, firm, serene?
Thou wept'st, meek maiden, mother mild,
Thou wept'st upon thy sinless Child,
Thy very heart was riven:
And yet, what mourning matron here
Would deem thy sorrows bought too dear
By all on this side Heaven?
A Son that never did amiss,
That never shamed His Mother's kiss,
Nor crossed her fondest prayer:
E'en from the tree He deigned to bow,
For her His agonised brow,
Her, His sole earthly care.
Ave Maria! blessed Maid!
Lily of Eden's fragrant shade,
Who can express the love
That nurtured thee so pure and sweet,
Making thy heart a shelter meet
For Jesus' holy dove?
Ave Maria! Mother blest,
To whom, caressing and caressed,
Clings the eternal Child;
Favoured beyond Archangels' dream,
When first on Thee with tenderest gleam
Thy new-born Saviour smiled:-
Ave Maria! thou whose name
All but adoring love may claim,
Yet may we reach thy shrine;
For He, thy Son and Saviour, vows
To crown all lowly lofty brows
With love and joy like thine.
Blessed is the womb that bare Him--blessed
The bosom where His lips were pressed,
But rather blessed are they
Who hear His word and keep it well,
The living homes where Christ shall dwell,
And never pass away.
Second Sunday In Advent
Not till the freezing blast is still,
Till freely leaps the sparkling rill,
And gales sweep soft from summer skies,
As o'er a sleeping infant's eyes
A mother's kiss; ere calls like these,
No sunny gleam awakes the trees,
Nor dare the tender flowerets show
Their bosoms to th' uncertain glow.
Why then, in sad and wintry time,
Her heavens all dark with doubt and crime,
Why lifts the Church her drooping head,
As though her evil hour were fled?
Is she less wise than leaves of spring,
Or birds that cower with folded wing?
What sees she in this lowering sky
To tempt her meditative eye?
She has a charm, a word of fire,
A pledge of love that cannot tire;
By tempests, earthquakes, and by wars,
By rushing waves and falling stars,
By every sign her Lord foretold,
She sees the world is waxing old,
And through that last and direst storm
Descries by faith her Saviour's form.
Not surer does each tender gem,
Set in the fig-tree's polish'd stem,
Foreshow the summer season bland,
Than these dread signs Thy mighty hand:
But, oh, frail hearts, and spirits dark!
The season's flight unwarn'd we mark,
But miss the Judge behind the door,
For all the light of sacred lore:
Yet is He there; beneath our eaves
Each sound His wakeful ear receives:
Hush, idle words, and thoughts of ill,
Your Lord is listening: peace, be still.
Christ watches by a Christian's hearth,
Be silent, "vain deluding mirth,"
Till in thine alter'd voice be known
Somewhat of Resignation's tone.
But chiefly ye should lift your gaze
Above the world's uncertain haze,
And look with calm unwavering eye
On the bright fields beyond the sky,
Ye, who your Lord's commission bear
His way of mercy to prepare:
Angels He calls ye: be your strife
To lead on earth an Angel's life.
Think not of rest; though dreams be sweet,
Start up, and ply your heavenward feet.
Is not God's oath upon your head,
Ne'er to sink back on slothful bed,
Never again your loans untie,
Nor let your torches waste and die,
Till, when the shadows thickest fall,
Ye hear your Master's midnight call?
Nineteenth Sunday After Trinity
When Persecution's torrent blaze
Wraps the unshrinking Martyr's head;
When fade all earthly flowers and bays,
When summer friends are gone and fled,
Is he alone in that dark hour
Who owns the Lord of love and power?
Or waves there not around his brow
A wand no human arm may wield,
Fraught with a spell no angels know,
His steps to guide, his soul to shield?
Thou, Saviour, art his Charmed Bower,
His Magic Ring, his Rock, his Tower.
And when the wicked ones behold
Thy favourites walking in Thy light,
Just as, in fancy triumph bold,
They deemed them lost in deadly night,
Amazed they cry, "What spell is this,
Which turns their sufferings all to bliss?
"How are they free whom we had bound?
Upright, whom in the gulf we cast?
What wondrous helper have they found
To screen them from the scorching blast?
Three were they--who hath made them four?
And sure a form divine he wore,
"E'en like the Son of God." So cried
The Tyrant, when in one fierce flame
The Martyrs lived, the murderers died:
Yet knew he not what angel came
To make the rushing fire-flood seem
Like summer breeze by woodland stream.
He knew not, but there are who know:
The Matron, who alone hath stood,
When not a prop seemed left below,
The first lorn hour of widowhood,
Yet cheered and cheering all, the while,
With sad but unaffected smile; -
The Father, who his vigil keeps
By the sad couch whence hope hath flown,
Watching the eye where reason sleeps,
Yet in his heart can mercy own,
Still sweetly yielding to the rod,
Still loving man, still thanking GOD; -
The Christian Pastor, bowed to earth
With thankless toil, and vile esteemed,
Still travailing in second birth
Of souls that will not be redeemed:
Yet stedfast set to do his part,
And fearing most his own vain heart; -
These know: on these look long and well,
Cleansing thy sight by prayer and faith,
And thou shalt know what secret spell
Preserves them in their living death:
Through sevenfold flames thine eye shall see
The Saviour walking with His faithful Three.
"Yes--deep within and deeper yet
The rankling shaft of conscience hide,
Quick let the swelling eye forget
The tears that in the heart abide.
Calm be the voice, the aspect bold,
No shuddering pass o'er lip or brow,
For why should Innocence be told
The pangs that guilty spirits bow?
"The loving eye that watches thine
Close as the air that wraps thee round -
Why in thy sorrow should it pine,
Since never of thy sin it found?
And wherefore should the heathen see
What chains of darkness thee enslave,
And mocking say, 'Lo, this is he
Who owned a God that could not save'?"
Thus oft the mourner's wayward heart
Tempts him to hide his grief and die,
Too feeble for Confession's smart,
Too proud to bear a pitying eye;
How sweet, in that dark hour, to fall
On bosoms waiting to receive
Our sighs, and gently whisper all!
They love us--will not God forgive?
Else let us keep our fast within,
Till Heaven and we are quite alone,
Then let the grief, the shame, the sin,
Before the mercy-seat be thrown.
Between the porch and altar weep,
Unworthy of the holiest place,
Yet hoping near the shrine to keep
One lowly cell in sight of grace.
Nor fear lest sympathy should fail -
Hast thou not seen, in night hours drear,
When racking thoughts the heart assail,
The glimmering stars by turns appear,
And from the eternal house above
With silent news of mercy steal?
So Angels pause on tasks of love,
To look where sorrowing sinners kneel.
Or if no Angel pass that way,
He who in secret sees, perchance
May bid His own heart-warming ray
Toward thee stream with kindlier glance,
As when upon His drooping head
His Father's light was poured from Heaven,
What time, unsheltered and unfed,
Far in the wild His steps were driven.
High thoughts were with Him in that hour,
Untold, unspeakable on earth -
And who can stay the soaring power
Of spirits weaned from worldly mirth,
While far beyond the sound of praise
With upward eye they float serene,
And learn to bear their Saviour's blaze
When Judgment shall undraw the screen?
Star of the East, how sweet art Thou,
Seen in life's early morning sky,
Ere yet a cloud has dimmed the brow,
While yet we gaze with childish eye;
When father, mother, nursing friend,
Most dearly loved, and loving best,
First bid us from their arms ascend,
Pointing to Thee, in Thy sure rest.
Too soon the glare of earthly day
Buries, to us, Thy brightness keen,
And we are left to find our way
By faith and hope in Thee unseen.
What matter? if the waymarks sure
On every side are round us set,
Soon overleaped, but not obscure?
'Tis ours to mark them or forget.
What matter? if in calm old age
Our childhood's star again arise,
Crowning our lonely pilgrimage
With all that cheers a wanderer's eyes?
Ne'er may we lose it from our sight,
Till all our hopes and thoughts are led
To where it stays its lucid flight
Over our Saviour's lowly bed.
There, swathed in humblest poverty,
On Chastity's meek lap enshrined,
With breathless Reverence waiting by,
When we our Sovereign Master find,
Will not the long-forgotten glow
Of mingled joy and awe return,
When stars above or flowers below
First made our infant spirits burn?
Look on us, Lord, and take our parts
E'en on Thy throne of purity!
From these our proud yet grovelling hearts
Hide not Thy mild forgiving eye.
Did not the Gentile Church find grace,
Our mother dear, this favoured day?
With gold and myrrh she sought Thy face;
Nor didst Thou turn Thy face away.
She too, in earlier, purer days,
Had watched thee gleaming faint and far -
But wandering in self-chosen ways
She lost Thee quite, Thou lovely star.
Yet had her Father's finger turned
To Thee her first inquiring glance:
The deeper shame within her burned,
When wakened from her wilful trance.
Behold, her wisest throng Thy gate,
Their richest, sweetest, purest store,
(Yet owned too worthless and too late,)
They lavish on Thy cottage-floor.
They give their best--O tenfold shame
On us their fallen progeny,
Who sacrifice the blind and lame -
Who will not wake or fast with Thee!
Visitation And Communion Of The Sick
O Youth and Joy, your airy tread
Too lightly springs by Sorrow's bed,
Your keen eye-glances are too bright,
Too restless for a sick man's sight.
Farewell; for one short life we part:
I rather woo the soothing art,
Which only souls in sufferings tried
Bear to their suffering brethren's side.
Where may we learn that gentle spell?
Mother of Martyrs, thou canst tell!
Thou, who didst watch thy dying Spouse
With pierced hands and bleeding brows,
Whose tears from age to age are shed
O'er sainted sons untimely dead,
If e'er we charm a soul in pain,
Thine is the key-note of our strain.
How sweet with thee to lift the latch,
Where Faith has kept her midnight watch,
Smiling on woe: with thee to kneel,
Where fixed, as if one prayer could heal,
She listens, till her pale eye glow
With joy, wild health can never know,
And each calm feature, ere we read,
Speaks, silently, thy glorious Creed.
Such have I seen: and while they poured
Their hearts in every contrite word,
How have I rather longed to kneel
And ask of them sweet pardon's seal;
How blessed the heavenly music brought
By thee to aid my faltering thought!
"Peace" ere we kneel, and when we cease
To pray, the farewell word is, "Peace."
I came again: the place was bright
"With something of celestial light" -
A simple Altar by the bed
For high Communion meetly spread,
Chalice, and plate, and snowy vest. -
We ate and drank: then calmly blest,
All mourners, one with dying breath,
We sate and talked of Jesus' death.
Once more I came: the silent room
Was veiled in sadly-soothing gloom,
And ready for her last abode
The pale form like a lily showed,
By Virgin fingers duly spread,
And prized for love of summer fled.
The light from those soft-smiling eyes
Had fleeted to its parent skies.
O soothe us, haunt us, night and day,
Ye gentle Spirits far away,
With whom we shared the cup of grace,
Then parted; ye to Christ's embrace,
We to this lonesome world again,
Yet mindful of th' unearthly strain
Practised with you at Eden's door,
To be sung on, where Angels soar,
With blended voices evermore.
Second Sunday After Christmas
And wilt thou hear the fevered heart
To Thee in silence cry?
And as th' inconstant wildfires dart
Out of the restless eye,
Wilt thou forgive the wayward though
By kindly woes yet half untaught
A Saviours right, so dearly bought,
That Hope should never die?
Thou wilt: for many a languid prayer
Has reached Thee from the wild,
Since the lorn mother, wandering there,
Cast down her fainting child,
Then stole apart to weep and die,
Nor knew an angel form was nigh,
To show soft waters gushing by,
And dewy shadows mild.
Thou wilt--for Thou art Israel's God,
And Thine unwearied arm
Is ready yet with Moses' rod,
The hidden rill to charm
Out of the dry unfathomed deep
Of sands, that lie in lifeless sleep,
Save when the scorching whirlwinds heap
Their waves in rude alarm.
These moments of wild wrath are Thine -
Thine, too, the drearier hour
When o'er th' horizon's silent line
Fond hopeless fancies cower,
And on the traveller's listless way
Rises and sets th' unchanging day,
No cloud in heaven to slake its ray,
On earth no sheltering bower.
Thou wilt be there, and not forsake,
To turn the bitter pool
Into a bright and breezy lake,
This throbbing brow to cool:
Till loft awhile with Thee alone
The wilful heart be fain to own
That He, by whom our bright hours shone,
Our darkness best may rule.
The scent of water far away
Upon the breeze is flung;
The desert pelican to-day
Securely leaves her young,
Reproving thankless man, who fears
To journey on a few lone years,
Where on the sand Thy step appears,
Thy crown in sight is hung.
Thou, who did sit on Jacob's well
The weary hour of noon,
The languid pulses Thou canst tell,
The nerveless spirit tune.
Thou from Whose cross in anguish burst
The cry that owned Thy dying thirst,
To Thee we turn, our Last and First,
Our Sun and soothing Moon.
From darkness, here, and dreariness
We ask not full repose,
Only be Thou at hand, to bless
Our trial hour of woes.
Is not the pilgrim's toil o'erpaid
By the clear rill and palmy shade?
And see we not, up Earth's dark glade,
The gate of Heaven unclose?
Beneath the burning eastern sky
The Cross was raised at morn:
The widowed Church to weep stood by,
The world, to hate and scorn.
Now, journeying westward, evermore
We know the lonely Spouse
By the dear mark her Saviour bore
Traced on her patient brows.
At Rome she wears it, as of old
Upon th' accursed hill:
By monarchs clad in gems and gold,
She goes a mourner still.
She mourns that tender hearts should bend
Before a meaner shrine,
And upon Saint or Angel spend
The love that should be thine.
By day and night her sorrows fall
Where miscreant hands and rude
Have stained her pure ethereal pall
With many a martyr's blood.
And yearns not her parental heart,
To hear THEIR secret sighs,
Upon whose doubting way apart
Bewildering shadows rise?
Who to her side in peace would cling,
But fear to wake, and find
What they had deemed her genial wing
Was Error's soothing blind.
She treasures up each throbbing prayer:
Come, trembler, come and pour
Into her bosom all thy care,
For she has balm in store.
Her gentle teaching sweetly blends
With this clear light of Truth
The aerial gleam that Fancy lends
To solemn thoughts in youth. -
If thou hast loved, in hours of gloom,
To dream the dead are near,
And people all the lonely room
With guardian spirits dear,
Dream on the soothing dream at will:
The lurid mist is o'er,
That showed the righteous suffering still
Upon th' eternal shore.
If with thy heart the strains accord,
That on His altar-throne
Highest exalt thy glorious Lord,
Yet leave Him most thine own;
Oh, come to our Communion Feast:
There present, in the heart
As in the hands, th' eternal Priest
Will His true self impart. -
Thus, should thy soul misgiving turn
Back to the enchanted air,
Solace and warning thou mayst learn
From all that tempts thee there.
And, oh! by all the pangs and fears
Fraternal spirits know,
When for an elder's shame the tears
Of wakeful anguish flow,
Speak gently of our sister's fall:
Who knows but gentle love
May win her at our patient call
The surer way to prove?
The Circumcision Of Christ
The year begins with Thee,
And Thou beginn'st with woe,
To let the world of sinners see
That blood for sin must flow.
Thine infant cries, O Lord,
Thy tears upon the breast,
Are not enough--the legal sword
Must do its stern behest.
Like sacrificial wine
Poured on a victim's head
Are those few precious drops of Thine,
Now first to offering led.
They are the pledge and seal
Of Christ's unswerving faith
Given to His Sire, our souls to heal,
Although it cost His death.
They to His Church of old,
To each true Jewish heart,
In Gospel graces manifold
Communion blest impart.
Now of Thy love we deem
As of an ocean vast,
Mounting in tides against the stream
Of ages gone and past.
Both theirs and ours Thou art,
As we and they are Thine;
Kings, Prophets, Patriarchs--all have part
Along the sacred line.
By blood and water too
God's mark is set on Thee,
That in Thee every faithful view
Both covenants might see.
O bond of union, dear
And strong as is Thy grace!
Saints, parted by a thousand year,
May thus in heart embrace.
Is there a mourner true,
Who fallen on faithless days,
Sighs for the heart-consoling view
Of those Heaven deigned to praise?
In spirit may'st thou meet
With faithful Abraham here,
Whom soon in Eden thou shalt greet
A nursing Father dear.
Would'st thou a poet be?
And would thy dull heart fain
Borrow of Israel's minstrelsy
One high enraptured strain?
Come here thy soul to tune,
Here set thy feeble chant,
Here, if at all beneath the moon,
Is holy David's haunt.
Art thou a child of tears,
Cradled in care and woe?
And seems it hard, thy vernal years
Few vernal joys can show?
And fall the sounds of mirth
Sad on thy lonely heart,
From all the hopes and charms of earth
Untimely called to part?
Look here, and hold thy peace:
The Giver of all good
E'en from the womb takes no release
From suffering, tears, and blood.
If thou would'st reap in love,
First sow in holy fear:
So life a winter's morn may prove
To a bright endless year.
Second Sunday After Easter
O for a sculptor's hand,
That thou might'st take thy stand,
Thy wild hair floating on the eastern breeze,
Thy tranced yet open gaze
Fixed on the desert haze,
As one who deep in heaven some airy pageant sees.
In outline dim and vast
Their fearful shadows cast
This giant forms of empires on their way
To ruin: one by one
They tower and they are gone,
Yet in the Prophet's soul the dreams of avarice stay.
No sun or star so bright
In all the world of light
That they should draw to Heaven his downward eye:
He hears th' Almighty's word,
He sees the angel's sword,
Yet low upon the earth his heart and treasure lie.
Lo! from you argent field,
To him and us revealed,
One gentle Star glides down, on earth to dwell.
Chained as they are below
Our eyes may see it glow,
And as it mounts again, may track its brightness well.
To him it glared afar,
A token of wild war,
The banner of his Lord's victorious wrath:
But close to us it gleams,
Its soothing lustre streams
Around our home's green walls, and on our church-way path.
We in the tents abide
Which he at distance eyed
Like goodly cedars by the waters spread,
While seven red altar-fires
Rose up in wavy spires,
Where on the mount he watched his sorceries dark and dread.
He watched till morning's ray
On lake and meadow lay,
And willow-shaded streams that silent sweep
Around the bannered lines,
Where by their several signs
The desert-wearied tribes in sight of Canaan sleep.
He watched till knowledge came
Upon his soul like flame,
Not of those magic fires at random caught:
But true Prophetic light
Flashed o'er him, high and bright,
Flashed once, and died away, and left his darkened thought.
And can he choose but fear,
Who feels his GOD so near,
That when he fain would curse, his powerless tongue
In blessing only moves? -
Alas! the world he loves
Too close around his heart her tangling veil hath flung.
Sceptre and Star divine,
Who in Thine inmost shrine
Hash made us worshippers, O claim Thine own;
More than Thy seers we know -
O teach our love to grow
Up to Thy heavenly light, and reap what Thou hast sown.
Sixth Sunday After Trinity
When bitter thoughts, of conscience born,
With sinners wake at morn,
When from our restless couch we start,
With fevered lips and withered heart,
Where is the spell to charm those mists away,
And make new morning in that darksome day?
One draught of spring's delicious air,
One steadfast thought, that GOD is there.
These are Thy wonders, hourly wrought,
Thou Lord of time and thought,
Lifting and lowering souls at will,
Crowding a world of good or ill
Into a moment's vision; e'en as light
Mounts o'er a cloudy ridge, and all is bright,
From west to east one thrilling ray
Turning a wintry world to May.
Would'st thou the pangs of guilt assuage?
Lo! here an open page,
Where heavenly mercy shines as free
Written in balm, sad heart, for thee.
Never so fast, in silent April shower,
Flushed into green the dry and leafless bower,
As Israel's crowned mourner felt
The dull hard stone within him melt.
The absolver saw the mighty grief,
And hastened with relief; -
"The Lord forgives; thou shalt not die:"
'Twas gently spoke, yet heard on high,
And all the band of angels, used to sing
In heaven, accordant to his raptured string,
Who many a month had turned away
With veiled eyes, nor owned his lay,
Now spread their wings, and throng around
To the glad mournful sound,
And welcome, with bright open face,
The broken heart to love's embrace.
The rock is smitten, and to future years
Springs ever fresh the tide of holy tears
And holy music, whispering peace
Till time and sin together cease.
There drink: and when ye are at rest,
With that free Spirit blest,
Who to the contrite can dispense,
The princely heart of innocence,
If ever, floating from faint earthly lyre,
Was wafted to your soul one high desire,
By all the trembling hope ye feel,
Think on the minstrel as ye kneel:
Think on the shame, that dreadful hour
When tears shall have no power,
Should his own lay th' accuser prove,
Cold while he kindled others' love:
And let your prayer for charity arise,
That his own heart may hear his melodies,
And a true voice to him may cry,
"Thy GOD forgives--thou shalt not die."
Thursday Before Easter
"O holy mountain of my God,
"How do thy towers in ruin lie,
"How art thou riven and strewn abroad,
"Under the rude and wasteful sky!"
‘Twas thus upon his fasting-day
The "Man of Loves" was fain to pray,
His lattice open toward the western breeze,
Mourning the home that still his yearning fancy sees.
Oh for a love like Daniel’s now,
To wing to Heaven but one strong prayer
For GOD’S new Israel, sunk as low,
Yet flourishing to sight as fair,
As Sion in her height of pride,
With queens for handmaids at her side,
With kings her nursing-fathers, throned high,
And compass’d with the world’s too tempting blazonry.
‘Tis true, nor winter stays thy growth,
Nor torrid summer’s sickly smile;
The flashing billows of the south
Break not upon so lone an isle,
But thou, rich vine, art grafted there,
The fruit of death or life to bear,
Yielding a surer witness every day,
To thine Almighty Author and his stedfast way.
Oh grief to think, that grapes of gall
Should cluster round thine healthiest shoot
God’s herald prove a heartless thrall,
Who, if he dar’d, would fain be mute!
Even such is this bad world we see,
Which, self-condemn’d in owning Thee,
Yet dares not open farewell of Thee take,
For very pride, and her high-boasted Reason’s sake.
What do we the? if far and wide
Men kneel to CHRIST, the pure and meek,
Yet rage with passion, swell with pride,
Have we not sill our faith to seek?
Nay—but in stedfast humbleness
Kneel on to Him, who loves to bless
The prayer that waits for Him; and trembling strive
To keep the lingering flame in thine own breast alive
Dark frown’d the future even on him,
The loving and beloved Seer,
What time he saw, through shadows dim,
The boundary of th’ eternal year;
He only of the sons of men
Nam’d to be heir of glory then.
Else had it bruis’d too sore his tender heart
To see GOD’S ransom’d world in wrath and flame depart.
Then look no more: or closer watch
Thy course in Earth’s bewildering ways,
For every glimpse thine eye can catch
Of what shall be in those dread days:
So when th’Archangel’s word is spoken,
And Death’s deep trance for ever broken,
In mercy thou may’st feel the heavenly hand,
And in thy lot unharm’d before thy Saviour stand.
Hues of the rich unfolding morn,
That, ere the glorious sun be born,
By some soft touch invisible
Around his path are taught to swell; -
Thou rustling breeze so fresh and gay,
That dancest forth at opening day,
And brushing by with joyous wing,
Wakenest each little leaf to sing; -
Ye fragrant clouds of dewy steam,
By which deep grove and tangled stream
Pay, for soft rains in season given,
Their tribute to the genial heaven; -
Why waste your treasures of delight
Upon our thankless, joyless sight;
Who day by day to sin awake,
Seldom of Heaven and you partake?
Oh, timely happy, timely wise,
Hearts that with rising morn arise!
Eyes that the beam celestial view,
Which evermore makes all things new!
New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life, and power, and thought.
New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of Heaven.
If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.
Old friends, old scenes will lovelier be,
As more of Heaven in each we see:
Some softening gleam of love and prayer
Shall dawn on every cross and care.
As for some dear familiar strain
Untired we ask, and ask again,
Ever, in its melodious store,
Finding a spell unheard before;
Such is the bliss of souls serene,
When they have sworn, and stedfast mean,
Counting the cost, in all t' espy
Their God, in all themselves deny.
Oh, could we learn that sacrifice,
What lights would all around us rise!
How would our hearts with wisdom talk
Along Life's dullest, dreariest walk!
We need not bid, for cloistered cell,
Our neighbour and our work farewell,
Nor strive to wind ourselves too high
For sinful man beneath the sky:
The trivial round, the common task,
Would furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves; a road
To bring us daily nearer God.
Seek we no more; content with these,
Let present Rapture, Comfort, Ease,
As Heaven shall bid them, come and go:-
The secret this of Rest below.
Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love
Fit us for perfect Rest above;
And help us, this and every day,
To live more nearly as we pray.
Third Sunday In Advent
What went ye out to see
O'er the rude sandy lea,
Where stately Jordan flows by many a palm,
Or where Gennesaret's wave
Delights the flowers to lave,
That o'er her western slope breathe airs of balm.
All through the summer night,
Those blossoms red and bright
Spread their soft breasts, unheeding, to the breeze,
Like hermits watching still
Around the sacred hill,
Where erst our Saviour watched upon His knees.
The Paschal moon above
Seems like a saint to rove,
Left shining in the world with Christ alone;
Below, the lake's still face
Sleeps sweetly in th' embrace
Of mountains terrac'd high with mossy stone.
Here may we sit, and dream
Over the heavenly theme,
Till to our soul the former days return;
Till on the grassy bed,
Where thousands once He fed,
The world's incarnate Maker we discern.
O cross no more the main,
Wandering so will and vain,
To count the reeds that tremble in the wind,
On listless dalliance bound,
Like children gazing round,
Who on God's works no seal of Godhead find.
Bask not in courtly bower,
Or sun-bright hall of power,
Pass Babel quick, and seek the holy land -
From robes of Tyrian dye
Turn with undazzled eye
To Bethlehem's glade, or Carmel's haunted strand.
Or choose thee out a cell
In Kedron's storied dell,
Beside the springs of Love, that never die;
Among the olives kneel
The chill night-blast to feel,
And watch the Moon that saw thy Master's agony.
Then rise at dawn of day,
And wind thy thoughtful way,
Where rested once the Temple's stately shade,
With due feet tracing round
The city's northern bound,
To th' other holy garden, where the Lord was laid.
Who thus alternate see
His death and victory,
Rising and falling as on angel wings,
They, while they seem to roam,
Draw daily nearer home,
Their heart untravell'd still adores the King of kings.
Or, if at home they stay,
Yet are they, day by day,
In spirit journeying through the glorious land,
Not for light Fancy's reed,
Nor Honour's purple meed,
Nor gifted Prophet's lore, nor Science' wondrous wand.
But more than Prophet, more
Than Angels can adore
With face unveiled, is He they go to seek:
Blessed be God, Whose grace
Shows Him in every place
To homeliest hearts of pilgrims pure and meek.
St. John Baptist's Day
Twice in her season of decay
The fallen Church hath felt Elijah's eye
Dart from the wild its piercing ray:
Not keener burns, in the chill morning sky,
The herald star,
Whose torch afar
Shadows and boding night-birds fly.
Methinks we need him once again,
That favoured seer--but where shall he be found?
By Cherith's side we seek in vain,
In vain on Carmel's green and lonely mound:
Angels no more
From Sinai soar,
On his celestial errands bound.
But wafted to her glorious place
By harmless fire, among the ethereal thrones,
His spirit with a dear embrace
Thee the loved harbinger of Jesus owns,
Well-pleased to view
Her likeness true,
And trace, in thine, her own deep tones.
Deathless himself, he joys with thee
To commune how a faithful martyr dies,
And in the blest could envy be,
He would behold thy wounds with envious eyes,
Star of our morn,
Who yet unborn
Didst guide our hope, where Christ should rise.
Now resting from your jealous care
For sinners, such as Eden cannot know,
Ye pour for us your mingled prayer,
No anxious fear to damp Affection's glow,
Love draws a cloud
From you to shroud
Rebellion's mystery here below.
And since we see, and not afar,
The twilight of the great and dreadful day,
Why linger, till Elijah's car
Stoop from the clouds? Why sheep ye? Rise and pray,
Ye heralds sealed
In camp or field
Your Saviour's banner to display.
Where is the lore the Baptist taught,
The soul unswerving and the fearless tongue?
The much-enduring wisdom, sought
By lonely prayer the haunted rocks among?
Who counts it gain
His light should wane,
So the whole world to Jesus throng?
Thou Spirit, who the Church didst lend
Her eagle wings, to shelter in the wild,
We pray Thee, ere the Judge descend,
With flames like these, all bright and undefiled,
Her watch-fires light,
To guide aright
Our weary souls by earth beguiled.
So glorious let thy Pastors shine,
That by their speaking lives the world may learn
First filial duty, then divine,
That sons to parents, all to Thee may turn;
And ready prove
In fires of love,
At sight of Thee, for aye to burn.
Creator, Saviour, strengthening Guide,
Now on Thy mercy's ocean wide
Far out of sight we seem to glide.
Help us, each hour, with steadier eye
To search the deepening mystery,
The wonders of Thy sea and sky.
The blessed Angels look and long
To praise Thee with a worthier song,
And yet our silence does Thee wrong. -
Along the Church's central space
The sacred weeks, with unfelt pace,
Hath borne us on from grace to grace.
As travellers on some woodland height,
When wintry suns are gleaming bright,
Lose in arched glades their tangled sight; -
By glimpses such as dreamers love
Through her grey veil the leafless grove
Shows where the distant shadows rove; -
Such trembling joy the soul o'er-awes
As nearer to Thy shrine she draws:-
And now before the choir we pause.
The door is closed--but soft and deep
Around the awful arches sweep,
Such airs as soothe a hermit's sleep.
From each carved nook and fretted bend
Cornice and gallery seem to send
Tones that with seraphs hymns might blend.
Three solemn parts together twine
In harmony's mysterious line;
Three solemn aisles approach the shrine:
Yet all are One--together all,
In thoughts that awe but not appal,
Teach the adoring heart to fall.
Within these walls each fluttering guest
Is gently lured to one safe nest -
Without, 'tis moaning and unrest.
The busy world a thousand ways
Is hurrying by, nor ever stays
To catch a note of Thy dear praise.
Why tarries not her chariot wheel,
That o'er her with no vain appeal
One gust of heavenly song might steal?
Alas! for her Thy opening flowers
Unheeded breathe to summer showers,
Unheard the music of Thy bowers.
What echoes from the sacred dome
The selfish spirit may o'ercome
That will not hear of love or home!
The heart that scorned a father's care,
How can it rise in filial prayer?
How an all-seeing Guardian bear?
Or how shall envious brethren own
A Brother on the eternal throne,
Their Father's joy, their hops alone?
How shall Thy Spirit's gracious wile
The sullen brow of gloom beguile,
That frowns on sweet Affection's smile?
Eternal One, Almighty Trine!
(Since Thou art ours, and we are Thine,)
By all Thy love did once resign,
By all the grace Thy heavens still hide,
We pray Thee, keep us at Thy side,
Creator, Saviour, strengthening Guide!
First Sunday In Lent
"Angel of wrath! why linger in mid-air,
While the devoted city's cry
Louder and louder swells? and canst thou spare,
Thy full-charged vial standing by?"
Thus, with stern voice, unsparing Justice pleads:
He hears her not--with softened gaze
His eye is following where sweet Mercy leads,
And till she give the sign, his fury stays.
Guided by her, along the mountain road,
Far through the twilight of the morn,
With hurried footsteps from the accursed abode
He sees the holy household borne;
Angels, or more, on either hand are nigh,
To speed them o'er the tempting plain,
Lingering in heart, and with frail sidelong eye
Seeking how near they may unharmed remain.
"Ah! wherefore gleam those upland slopes so fair?
And why, through every woodland arch,
Swells yon bright vale, as Eden rich and rare,
Where Jordan winds his stately march;
If all must be forsaken, ruined all,
If God have planted but to burn? -
Surely not yet the avenging shower will fall,
Though to my home for one last look I turn."
Thus while they waver, surely long ago
They had provoked the withering blast,
But that the merciful Avengers know
Their frailty well, and hold them fast.
"Haste, for thy life escape, nor look behind" -
Ever in thrilling sounds like these
They check the wandering eye, severely kind,
Nor let the sinner lose his soul at ease.
And when, o'erwearied with the steep ascent,
We for a nearer refuge crave,
One little spot of ground in mercy lent,
One hour of home before the grave,
Oft in His pity o'er His children weak,
His hand withdraws the penal fire,
And where we fondly cling, forbears to wreak
Full vengeance, till our hearts are weaned entire.
Thus, by the merits of one righteous man,
The Church, our Zoar, shall abide,
Till she abuse, so sore, her lengthened span,
E'en Mercy's self her face must hide.
Then, onward yet a step, thou hard-won soul;
Though in the Church thou know thy place,
The mountain farther lies--there seek thy goal,
There breathe at large, o'erpast thy dangerous race.
Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look
When hearts are of each other sure;
Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,
The haunt of all affections pure;
Yet in the world e'en these abide, and we
Above the world our calling boast;
Once gain the mountain-top, and thou art free:
Till then, who rest, presume; who turn to look, are lost.
Second Sunday After Epiphany
The heart of childhood is all mirth:
We frolic to and fro
As free and blithe, as if on earth
Were no such thing as woe.
But if indeed with reckless faith
We trust the flattering voice,
Which whispers, "Take thy fill ere death,
Indulge thee and rejoice;"
Too surely, every setting day,
Some lost delight we mourn;
The flowers all die along our way
Till we, too, die forlorn.
Such is the world's gay garish feast,
In her first charming bowl
Infusing all that fires the breast,
And cheats the unstable soul.
And still, as loud the revel swells,
The fevered pulse beats higher,
Till the seared taste from foulest wells
Is fain to slake its fire.
Unlike the feast of heavenly love
Spread at the Saviour's word
For souls that hear His call, and prove
Meet for His bridal board.
Why should we fear, youth's draught of joy
If pure would sparkle less?
Why should the cup the sooner cloy,
Which God hath deigned to bless?
For, is it Hope, that thrills so keen
Along each bounding vein,
Still whispering glorious things unseen? -
Faith makes the vision plain.
The world would kill her soon: but Faith
Her daring dreams will cherish,
Speeding her gaze o'er time and death
To realms where nought can perish.
Or is it Love, the dear delight
Of hearts that know no guile,
That all around see all things bright
With their own magic smile?
The silent joy that sinks so deep,
Of confidence and rest,
Lulled in a father's arms to sleep,
Clasped to a mother's breast?
Who, but a Christian, through all life
That blessing may prolong?
Who, through the world's sad day of strife,
Still chant his morning song?
Fathers may hate us or forsake,
God's foundlings then are we:
Mother on child no pity take,
But we shall still have Thee.
We may look home, and seek in vain
A fond fraternal heart,
But Christ hath given His promise plain
To do a Brother's part.
Nor shall dull age, as worldlings say,
The heavenward flame annoy:
The Saviour cannot pass away,
And with Him lives our joy.
Ever the richest, tenderest glow
Sets round the autumnal sun -
But there sight fails: no heart may know
The bliss when life is done.
Such is Thy banquet, dearest Lord;
O give us grace, to cast
Our lot with Thine, to trust Thy word,
And keep our best till last.
The Holy Innocents
Say, ye celestial guards, who wait
In Bethlehem, round the Saviour's palace gate,
Say, who are these on golden wings,
That hover o'er the new-born King of kings,
Their palms and garlands telling plain
That they are of the glorious martyr-train,
Next to yourselves ordained to praise
His Name, and brighten as on Him they gaze?
But where their spoils and trophies? where
The glorious dint a martyr's shield should bear?
How chance no cheek among them wears
The deep-worn trace of penitential tears,
But all is bright and smiling love,
As if, fresh-borne from Eden's happy grove,
They had flown here, their King to see,
Nor ever had been heirs of dark mortality?
Ask, and some angel will reply,
"These, like yourselves, were born to sin and die,
But ere the poison root was grown,
God set His seal, and marked them for His own.
Baptised its blood for Jesus' sake,
Now underneath the Cross their bed they make,
Not to be scared from that sure rest
By frightened mother's shriek, or warrior's waving crest."
Mindful of these, the firstfruits sweet
Borne by this suffering Church her Lord to greet;
Blessed Jesus ever loved to trace
The "innocent brightness" of an infant's face.
He raised them in His holy arms,
He blessed them from the world and all its harms:
Heirs though they were of sin and shame,
He blessed them in his own and in his Father's Name.
Then, as each fond unconscious child
On the everlasting Parent sweetly smiled
(Like infants sporting on the shore,
That tremble not at Ocean's boundless roar),
Were they not present to Thy thought,
All souls, that in their cradles Thou hast bought?
But chiefly these, who died for Thee,
That Thou might'st live for them a sadder death to see.
And next to these, Thy gracious word
Was as a pledge of benediction stored
For Christian mothers, while they moan
Their treasured hopes, just born, baptised, and gone.
Oh, joy for Rachel's broken heart!
She and her babes shall meet no more to part;
So dear to Christ her pious haste
To trust them in His arms for ever safe embraced.
She dares not grudge to leave them there,
Where to behold them was her heart's first prayer;
She dares not grieve--but she must weep,
As her pale placid martyr sinks to sleep,
Teaching so well and silently
How at the shepherd's call the lamb should die:
How happier far than life the end
Of souls that infant-like beneath their burthen bend.
First Sunday After Christmas
'Tis true, of old the unchanging sun
His daily course refused to run,
The pale moon hurrying to the west
Paused at a mortal's call, to aid
The avenging storm of war, that laid
Seven guilty realms at once on earth's defiled breast.
But can it be, one suppliant tear
Should stay the ever-moving sphere?
A sick man's lowly-breathed sigh,
When from the world he turns away,
And hides his weary eyes to pray,
Should change your mystic dance, ye wanderers of the sky?
We too, O Lord, would fain command,
As then, Thy wonder-working hand,
And backward force the waves of Time,
That now so swift and silent bear
Our restless bark from year to year;
Help us to pause and mourn to Thee our tale of crime.
Bright hopes, that erst the bosom warmed,
And vows, too pure to be performed,
And prayers blown wide by gales of care; -
These, and such faint half-waking dreams,
Like stormy lights on mountain streams,
Wavering and broken all, athwart the conscience glare.
How shall we 'scape the o'erwhelming Past?
Can spirits broken, joys o'ercast,
And eyes that never more may smile: -
Can these th' avenging bolt delay,
Or win us back one little day
The bitterness of death to soften and beguile?
Father and Lover of our souls!
Though darkly round Thine anger rolls,
Thy sunshine smiles beneath the gloom,
Thou seek'st to warn us, not confound,
Thy showers would pierce the hardened ground
And win it to give out its brightness and perfume.
Thou smil'st on us in wrath, and we,
E'en in remorse, would smile on Thee,
The tears that bathe our offered hearts,
We would not have them stained and dim,
But dropped from wings of seraphim,
All glowing with the light accepted love imparts.
Time's waters will not ebb, nor stay;
Power cannot change them, but Love may;
What cannot be, Love counts it done.
Deep in the heart, her searching view
Can read where Faith is fixed and true,
Through shades of setting life can see Heaven's work begun.
O Thou, who keep'st the Key of Love,
Open Thy fount, eternal Dove,
And overflow this heart of mine,
Enlarging as it fills with Thee,
Till in one blaze of charity
Care and remorse are lost, like motes in light divine;
Till as each moment wafts us higher,
By every gush of pure desire,
And high-breathed hope of joys above,
By every secret sigh we heave,
Whole years of folly we outlive,
In His unerring sight, who measures Life by Love.