The shadow of th' Almighty's cloud
Calm on this tents of Israel lay,
While drooping paused twelve banners proud,
Till He arise and lead this way.
Then to the desert breeze unrolled,
Cheerly the waving pennons fly,
Lion or eagle--each bright fold
A lodestar to a warrior's eye.
So should Thy champions, ere this strife
By holy hands o'ershadowed kneel,
So, fearless for their charmed life,
Bear, to this end, Thy Spirit's seal.
Steady and pure as stars that beam
In middle heaven, all mist above,
Seen deepest in this frozen stream:-
Such is their high courageous love.
And soft as pure, and warm as bright,
They brood upon life's peaceful hour,
As if the Dove that guides their flight
Shook from her plumes a downy shower.
Spirit of might and sweetness too!
Now leading on the wars of God,
Now to green isles of shade and dew
Turning the waste Thy people trod;
Draw, Holy Ghost, Thy seven-fold veil
Between us and the fires of youth;
Breathe, Holy Ghost, Thy freshening gale,
Our fevered brow in age to soothe.
And oft as sin and sorrow tire,
This hallowed hour do Thou renew,
When beckoned up the awful choir
By pastoral hands, toward Thee we drew;
When trembling at this sacred rail
We hid our eyes and held our breath,
Felt Thee how strong, our hearts how frail,
And longed to own Thee to the death.
For ever on our souls be traced
That blessing dear, that dove-like hand,
A sheltering rock in Memory's waste,
O'er-shadowing all the weary land.
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.
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.
Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity
Wish not, dear friends, my pain away -
Wish me a wise and thankful heart,
With GOD, in all my griefs, to stay,
Nor from His loved correction start.
The dearest offering He can crave
His portion in our souls to prove,
What is it to the gift He gave,
The only Son of His dear love?
But we, like vexed unquiet sprights,
Will still be hovering o'er the tomb,
Where buried lie our vain delights,
Nor sweetly take a sinner's doom.
In Life's long sickness evermore
Our thoughts are tossing to and fro:
We change our posture o'er and o'er,
But cannot rest, nor cheat our woe.
Were it not better to lie still,
Let Him strike home and bless the rod,
Never so safe as when our will
Yields undiscerned by all but God?
Thy precious things, whate'er they be,
That haunt and vex thee, heart and brain,
Look to the Cross and thou shalt see
How thou mayst turn them all to gain.
Lovest thou praise? the Cross is shame:
Or ease? the Cross is bitter grief:
More pangs than tongue or heart can frame
Were suffered there without relief.
We of that Altar would partake,
But cannot quit the cost--no throne
Is ours, to leave for Thy dear sake -
We cannot do as Thou hast done.
We cannot part with Heaven for Thee -
Yet guide us in Thy track of love:
Let us gaze on where light should be,
Though not a beam the clouds remove.
So wanderers ever fond and true
Look homeward through the evening sky,
Without a streak of heaven's soft blue
To aid Affection's dreaming eye.
The wanderer seeks his native bower,
And we will look and long for Thee,
And thank Thee for each trying hour,
Wishing, not struggling, to be free.
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.
First Sunday After Trinity
Where is the land with milk and honey flowing,
The promise of our God, our fancy's theme?
Here over shattered walls dank weeds are growing,
And blood and fire have run in mingled stream;
Like oaks and cedars all around
The giant corses strew the ground,
And haughty Jericho's cloud-piercing wall
Lies where it sank at Joshua's trumpet call.
These are not scenes for pastoral dance at even,
For moonlight rovings in the fragrant glades,
Soft slumbers in the open eye of Heaven,
And all the listless joy of summer shades.
We in the midst of ruins live,
Which every hour dread warning give,
Nor may our household vine or fig-tree hide
The broken arches of old Canaan's pride.
Where is the sweet repose of hearts repenting,
The deep calm sky, the sunshine of the soul,
Now Heaven and earth are to our bliss consenting,
And all the Godhead joins to make us whole.
The triple crown of mercy now
Is ready for the suppliant's brow,
By the Almighty Three for ever planned,
And from behind the cloud held out by Jesus' hand.
"Now, Christians, hold your own--the land before ye
Is open--win your way, and take your rest."
So sounds our war-note; but our path of glory
By many a cloud is darkened and unblest:
And daily as we downward glide,
Life's ebbing stream on either side
Shows at each turn some mouldering hope or joy,
The Man seems following still the funeral of the Boy.
Open our eyes, Thou Sun of life and gladness,
That we may see that glorious world of Thine!
It shines for us in vain, while drooping sadness
Enfolds us here like mist: come Power benign,
Touch our chilled hearts with vernal smile,
Our wintry course do Thou beguile,
Nor by the wayside ruins let us mourn,
Who have th' eternal towers for our appointed bourne.
St. Philip And St. James
Dear is the morning gale of spring,
And dear th' autumnal eve;
But few delights can summer bring
A Poet's crown to weave.
Her bowers are mute, her fountains dry,
And ever Fancy's wing
Speed's from beneath her cloudless sky
To autumn or to spring.
Sweet is the infant's waking smile,
And sweet the old man's rest -
But middle age by no fond wile,
No soothing calm is blest.
Still in the world's hot restless gleam
She plies her weary task,
While vainly for some pleasant dream
Her wandering glances ask. -
O shame upon thee, listless heart,
So sad a sigh to heave,
As if thy SAVIOUR had no part
In thoughts, that make thee grieve.
As if along His lonesome way
He had not borne for thee
Sad languors through the summer day,
Storms on the wintry sea.
Youth's lightning flash of joy secure
Passed seldom o'er His spright, -
A well of serious thought and pure.
Too deep for earthly light.
No spring was His--no fairy gleam -
For He by trial knew
How cold and bare what mortals dream,
To worlds where all is true.
Then grudge not thou the anguish keen
Which makes thee like thy LORD,
And learn to quit with eye serene
Thy youth's ideal hoard.
Thy treasured hopes and raptures high -
Unmurmuring let them go,
Nor grieve the bliss should quickly fly
Which CHRIST disdained to know.
Thou shalt have joy in sadness soon;
The pure, calm hope be thine,
Which brightens, like the eastern moon,
As day's wild lights decline.
Thus souls, by nature pitched too high,
By sufferings plunged too low,
Meet in the Church's middle sky,
Half way 'twixt joy and woe,
To practise there the soothing lay
That sorrow best relieves;
Thankful for all God takes away,
Humbled by all He glass.
The voice that from the glory came
To tell how Moses died unseen,
And waken Joshua's spear of flame
To victory on the mountains green,
Its trumpet tones are sounding still,
When Kings or Parents pass away,
They greet us with a cheering thrill
Of power and comfort in decay.
Behind thus soft bright summer cloud
That makes such haste to melt and die,
Our wistful gaze is oft allowed
A glimpse of the unchanging sky:
Let storm and darkness do their worst;
For the lost dream the heart may ache,
The heart may ache, but may not burst;
Heaven will not leave thee nor forsake.
One rock amid the weltering floods,
One torch in a tempestuous night,
One changeless pine in fading woods:-
Such is the thought of Love and Might,
True Might and ever-present Love,
When death is busy near the throne,
Auth Sorrow her keen sting would prove
On Monarchs orphaned and alone.
In that lorn hour and desolate,
Who could endure a crown? but He,
Who singly bore the world's sad weight,
Is near, to whisper, "Lean on Me:
Thy days of toil, thy nights of care,
Sad lonely dreams in crowded hall,
Darkness within, while pageants glare
Around--the Cross supports them all."
Oh, Promise of undying Love!
While Monarchs seek thee for repose,
Far in the nameless mountain cove
Each pastoral heart thy bounty knows.
Ye, who in place of shepherds true
Come trembling to their awful trust,
Lo here the fountain to imbue
With strength and hope your feeble dust.
Not upon Kings or Priests alone
The power of that dear word is spent;
It chants to all in softest tone
The lowly lesson of Content:
Heaven's light is poured on high and low;
To high and low Heaven's Angel spake;
"Resign thee to thy weal or woe,
I ne'er will leave thee nor forsake."
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.
Soft cloud, that while the breeze of May
Chants her glad matins in the leafy arch,
Draw'st thy bright veil across the heavenly way
Meet pavement for an angel's glorious march:
My soul is envious of mine eye,
That it should soar and glide with thee so fast,
The while my grovelling thoughts half buried lie,
Or lawless roam around this earthly waste.
Chains of my heart, avaunt I say -
I will arise, and in the strength of love
Pursue the bright track ere it fade away,
My Saviour's pathway to His home above.
Sure, when I reach the point where earth
Melts into nothing from th' uncumbered sight,
Heaven will o'ercome th' attraction of my birth.
And I shall sink in yonder sea of light:
Till resting by th' incarnate LORD,
Once bleeding, now triumphant for my sake,
I mark Him, how by seraph hosts adored,
He to earth's lowest cares is still awake.
The sun and every vassal star,
All space, beyond the soar of angel wings,
Wait on His word: and yet He stays His car
For every sigh a contrite suppliant brings.
He listens to the silent tear
For all the anthems of the boundless sky -
And shall our dreams of music bar our ear
To His soul-piercing voice for ever nigh?
Nay, gracious Saviour--but as now
Our thoughts have traced Thee to Thy glory-throne
So help us evermore with thee to bow
Where human sorrow breathes her lowly moan.
We must not stand to gaze too long,
Though on unfolding Heaven our gaze we bend
Where lost behind the bright angelic throng
We see CHRIST'S entering triumph slow ascend.
No fear but we shall soon behold,
Faster than now it fades, that gleam revive,
When issuing from his cloud of fiery gold
Our wasted frames feel the true sun, and live.
Then shall we see Thee as Thou art,
For ever fixed in no unfruitful gaze,
But such as lifts the new-created heart,
Age after age, in worthier love and praise.
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.
Tuesday Before Easter
"Fill high the bowl, and spice it well, and pour
The dews oblivious: for the Cross is sharp,
The Cross is sharp, and He
Is tenderer than a lamb.
"He wept by Lazarus' grave--how will He bear
This bed of anguish? and His pale weak form
Is worn with many a watch
Of sorrow and unrest.
"His sweat last night was as great drops of blood,
And the sad burthen pressed Him so to earth,
The very torturers paused
To help Him on His way.
"Fill high the bowl, benumb His aching sense
With medicined sleep."--O awful in Thy woe!
The parching thirst of death
Is on Thee, and Thou triest
The slumb'rous potion bland, and wilt not drink:
Not sullen, nor in scorn, like haughty man
With suicidal hand
Putting his solace by:
But as at first Thine all-pervading look
Saw from Thy Father's bosom to the abyss
Measuring in calm presage
The infinite descent;
So to the end, though now of mortal pangs
Made heir, and emptied of Thy glory, awhile,
With unaverted eye
Thou meetest all the storm.
Thou wilt feel all, that Thou mayst pity all;
And rather wouldst Thou wreathe with strong pain,
Than overcloud Thy soul,
So clear in agony,
Or lose one glimpse of Heaven before the time
O most entire and perfect sacrifice,
Renewed in every pulse
That on the tedious Cross
Told the long hours of death, as, one by one,
The life-strings of that tender heart gave way;
E'en sinners, taught by Thee,
Look Sorrow in the face,
And bid her freely welcome, unbeguiled
By false kind solaces, and spells of earth:-
And yet not all unsoothed;
For when was Joy so dear,
As the deep calm that breathed, "Father, forgive,"
Or, "Be with Me in Paradise to-day?"
And, though the strife be sore,
Yet in His parting breath
Love masters Agony; the soul that seemed
Forsaken, feels her present God again,
And in her Father's arms
Contented dies away.
Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity
Sweet nurslings of the vernal skies,
Bathed in soft airs, and fed with dew,
What more than magic in you lies,
To fill the heart's fond view?
In childhood's sports, companions gay,
In sorrow, on Life's downward way,
How soothing! in our last decay
Memorials prompt and true.
Relics ye are of Eden's bowers,
As pure, as fragrant, and as fair,
As when ye crowned the sunshine hours
Of happy wanderers there.
Fall'n all beside--the world of life,
How is it stained with fear and strife!
In Reason's world what storms are rife,
What passions range and glare!
But cheerful and unchanged the while
Your first and perfect form ye show,
The same that won Eve's matron smile
In the world's opening glow.
The stars of heaven a course are taught
Too high above our human thought:
Ye may be found if ye are sought,
And as we gaze, we know.
Ye dwell beside our paths and homes,
Our paths of sin, our homes of sorrow,
And guilty man where'er he roams,
Your innocent mirth may borrow.
The birds of air before us fleet,
They cannot brook our shame to meet -
But we may taste your solace sweet
And come again to-morrow.
Ye fearless in your nests abide -
Nor may we scorn, too proudly wise,
Your silent lessons, undescried
By all but lowly eyes:
For ye could draw th' admiring gaze
Of Him who worlds and hearts surveys:
Your order wild, your fragrant maze,
He taught us how to prize.
Ye felt your Maker's smile that hour,
As when He paused and owned you good;
His blessing on earth's primal bower,
Ye felt it all renewed.
What care ye now, if winter's storm
Sweep ruthless o'er each silken form?
Christ's blessing at your heart is warm,
Ye fear no vexing mood.
Alas! of thousand bosoms kind,
That daily court you and caress,
How few the happy secret find
Of your calm loveliness!
"Live for to-day! to-morrow's light
To-morrow's cares shall bring to sight,
Go sleep like closing flowers at night,
And Heaven thy morn will bless."
Third Sunday After Easter
Well may I guess and feel
Why Autumn should be sad;
But vernal airs should sorrow heal,
Spring should be gay and glad:
Yet as along this violet bank I rove,
The languid sweetness seems to choke my breath,
I sit me down beside the hazel grove,
And sigh, and half could wish my weariness were death.
Like a bright veering cloud
Grey blossoms twinkle there,
Warbles around a busy crowd
Of larks in purest air.
Shame on the heart that dreams of blessings gone,
Or wakes the spectral forms of woe and crime,
When nature sings of joy and hope alone,
Reading her cheerful lesson in her own sweet time.
Nor let the proud heart say,
In her self-torturing hour,
The travail pangs must have their way,
The aching brow must lower.
To us long since the glorious Child is born
Our throes should be forgot, or only seem
Like a sad vision told for joy at morn,
For joy that we have waked and found it but a dream.
Mysterious to all thought
A mother's prime of bliss,
When to her eager lips is brought
Her infant's thrilling kiss.
O never shall it set, the sacred light
Which dawns that moment on her tender gaze,
In the eternal distance blending bright
Her darling's hope and hers, for love and joy and praise.
No need for her to weep
Like Thracian wives of yore,
Save when in rapture still and deep
Her thankful heart runs o'er.
They mourned to trust their treasure on the main,
Sure of the storm, unknowing of their guide:
Welcome to her the peril and the pain,
For well she knows the bonus where they may safely hide.
She joys that one is born
Into a world forgiven,
Her Father's household to adorn,
And dwell with her in Heaven.
So have I seen, in Spring's bewitching hour,
When the glad Earth is offering all her best,
Some gentle maid bend o'er a cherished flower,
And wish it worthier on a Parent's heart to rest.
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.
Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Trinity
The bright-haired morn is glowing
O'er emerald meadows gay,
With many a clear gem strewing
The early shepherd's way.
Ye gentle elves, by Fancy seen
Stealing away with night
To slumber in your leafy screen,
Tread more than airy light.
And see what joyous greeting
The sun through heaven has shed,
Though fast yon shower be fleeting,
His beams have faster sped.
For lo! above the western haze
High towers the rainbow arch
In solid span of purest rays:
How stately is its march!
Pride of the dewy morning!
The swain's experienced eye
From thee takes timely warning,
Nor trusts the gorgeous sky.
For well he knows, such dawnings gay
Bring noons of storm and shower,
And travellers linger on the way
Beside the sheltering bower.
E'en so, in hope and trembling
Should watchful shepherd view
His little lambs assembling,
With glance both kind and true;
'Tis not the eye of keenest blaze,
Nor the quick-swelling breast,
That soonest thrills at touch of praise -
These do not please him best.
But voices low and gentle,
And timid glances shy,
That seem for aid parental
To sue all wistfully,
Still pressing, longing to be right,
Yet fearing to be wrong, -
In these the Pastor dares delight,
A lamb-like, Christ-like throng.
These in Life's distant even
Shall shine serenely bright,
As in th' autumnal heaven
Mild rainbow tints at night,
When the last shower is stealing down,
And ere they sink to rest,
The sun-beams weave a parting crown
For some sweet woodland nest.
The promise of the morrow
Is glorious on that eve,
Dear as the holy sorrow
When good men cease to live.
When brightening ere it die away
Mounts up their altar flame,
Still tending with intenser ray
To Heaven whence first it came.
Say not it dies, that glory,
'Tis caught unquenched on high,
Those saintlike brows so hoary
Shall wear it in the sky.
No smile is like the smile of death,
When all good musings past
Rise wafted with the parting breath,
The sweetest thought the last.
"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?
Burial Of The Dead
I thought to meet no more, so dreary seem'd
Death's interposing veil, and thou so pure,
Thy place in Paradise
Beyond where I could soar;
Friend of this worthless heart! but happier thoughts
Spring like unbidden violets from the sod,
Where patiently thou tak'st
Thy sweet and sure repose.
The shadows fall more soothing: the soft air
Is full of cheering whispers like thine own;
While Memory, by thy grave,
Lives o'er thy funeral day;
The deep knell dying down, the mourners' pause,
Waiting their Saviour's welcome at the gate.—
Sure with the words of Heaven
Thy spirit met us there,
And sought with us along th' accustom'd way
The hallow'd porch, and entering in, beheld
The pageant of sad joy
So dear to Faith and Hope.
O! hadst thou brought a strain from Paradise
To cheer us, happy soul, thou hadst not touch'd
The sacred springs of grief
More tenderly and true,
Than those deep-warbled anthems, high and low,
Low as the grave, high as th' Eternal Throne,
Guiding through light and gloom
Our mourning fancies wild,
Till gently, like soft golden clouds at eve
Around the western twilight, all subside
Into a placid faith,
That even with beaming eye
Counts thy sad honours, coffin, bier, and pall;
So many relics of a frail love lost,
So many tokens dear
Of endless love begun.
Listen! it is no dream: th' Apostles' trump
Gives earnest of th' Archangel's;—calmly now,
Our hearts yet beating high
To that victorious lay
(Most like a warrior's, to the martial dirge
Of a true comrade), in the grave we trust
Our treasure for awhile:
And if a tear steal down,
If human anguish o'er the shaded brow
Pass shuddering, when the handful of pure earth
Touches the coffin-lid;
If at our brother's name,
Once and again the thought, 'for ever gone,'
Come o'er us like a cloud; yet, gentle spright,
Thou turnest not away,
Thou know'st us calm at heart.
One look, and we have seen our last of thee,
Till we too sleep and our long sleep be o'er.
O cleanse us, ere we view
That countenance pure again,
Thou, who canst change the heart, and raise the dead!
As Thou art by to soothe our parting hour,
Be ready when we meet,
With Thy dear pardoning words.
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.
First Sunday After Easter
First Father of the holy seed,
If yet, invoked in hour of need,
Thou count me for Thine own
Not quite an outcast if I prove,
(Thou joy'st in miracles of love),
Hear, from Thy mercy-throne!
Upon Thine altar's horn of gold
Help me to lay my trembling hold,
Though stained with Christian gore; -
The blood of souls by Thee redeemed,
But, while I roved or idly dreamed,
Lost to be found no more.
For oft, when summer leaves were bright,
And every flower was bathed in light,
In sunshine moments past,
My wilful heart would burst away
From where the holy shadow lay,
Where heaven my lot had cast.
I thought it scorn with Thee to dwell,
A Hermit in a silent cell,
While, gaily sweeping by,
Wild Fancy blew his bugle strain,
And marshalled all his gallant train
In the world's wondering eye.
I would have joined him--but as oft
Thy whispered warnings, kind and soft,
My better soul confessed.
"My servant, let the world alone -
Safe on the steps of Jesus' throne
Be tranquil and be blest."
"Seems it to thee a niggard hand
That nearest Heaven has bade thee stand,
The ark to touch and bear,
With incense of pure heart's desire
To heap the censer's sacred fire,
The snow-white Ephod wear?"
Why should we crave the worldling's wreath,
On whom the Savour deigned to breathe,
To whom His keys were given,
Who lead the choir where angels meet,
With angels' food our brethren greet,
And pour the drink of Heaven?
When sorrow all our heart would ask,
We need not shun our daily task,
And hide ourselves for calm;
The herbs we seek to heal our woe
Familiar by our pathway grow,
Our common air is balm.
Around each pure domestic shrine
Bright flowers of Eden bloom and twine,
Our hearths are altars all;
The prayers of hungry souls and poor,
Like armed angels at the door,
Our unseen foes appal.
Alms all around and hymns within -
What evil eye can entrance win
Where guards like these abound?
If chance some heedless heart should roam,
Sure, thought of these will lure it home
Ere lost in Folly's round.
O joys, that sweetest in decay,
Fall not, like withered leaves, away,
But with the silent breath
Of violets drooping one by one,
Soon as their fragrant task is done,
Are wafted high in death!
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.
Sunday After Ascension
The Earth that in her genial breast
Makes for the down a kindly nest,
Where wafted by the warm south-west
It floats at pleasure,
Yields, thankful, of her very best,
To nurse her treasure:
True to her trust, tree, herb, or reed,
She renders for each scattered seed,
And to her Lord with duteous heed
Gives large increase:
Thus year by year she works unfeed,
And will not cease.
Woe worth these barren hearts of ours,
Where Thou hast set celestial flowers,
And watered with more balmy showers
Than e'er distilled
In Eden, on th' ambrosial bowers -
Yet nought we yield.
Largely Thou givest, gracious Lord,
Largely Thy gifts should be restored;
Freely Thou givest, and Thy word
Is, "Freely give."
He only, who forgets to hoard,
Has learned to live.
Wisely Thou givest--all around
Thine equal rays are resting found,
Yet varying so on various ground
They pierce and strike,
That not two roseate cups are crowned
With drew alike:
E'en so, in silence, likest Thee,
Steals on soft-handed Charity,
Tempering her gifts, that seem so free,
By time and place,
Till not a woe the bleak world see,
But finds her grace:
Eyes to the blind, and to the lame
Feet, and to sinners wholesome blame,
To starving bodies food and flame,
By turns she brings;
To humbled souls, that sink for shame,
Lends heaven-ward wings:
Leads them the way our Saviour went,
And shows Love's treasure yet unspent;
As when th' unclouded heavens were rent.
Opening His road,
Nor yet His Holy Spirit sent
To our abode.
Ten days th' eternal doors displayed
Were wondering (so th' Almighty bade)
Whom Love enthroned would send, in aid
Of souls that mourn,
Left orphans in Earth's dreary shade
As noon as born.
Open they stand, that prayers in throngs
May rise on high, and holy songs,
Such incense as of right belongs
To the true shrine,
Where stands the Healer of all wrongs
In light divine;
The golden censer in His hand,
He offers hearts from every land,
Tied to His own by gentlest band
Of silent Love:
About Him winged blessings stand
In act to move.
A little while, and they shall fleet
From Heaven to Earth, attendants meet
On the life-giving Paraclete
Speeding His flight,
With all that sacred is and sweet,
On saints to light.
Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, all
Shall feel the shower of Mercy fall,
And startling at th' Almighty's call,
Give what He gave,
Till their high deeds the world appal,
And sinners save.
Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity
Why should we faint and fear to live alone,
Since all alone, so Heaven has willed, we die,
Nor e'en the tenderest heart, and next our own,
Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh?
Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe
Our hermit spirits dwell, and range apart,
Our eyes see all around in gloom or glow -
Hues of their own, fresh borrowed from the heart.
And well it is for us our GOD should feel
Alone our secret throbbings: so our prayer
May readier spring to Heaven, nor spend its zeal
On cloud-born idols of this lower air.
For if one heart in perfect sympathy
Beat with another, answering love for love,
Weak mortals, all entranced, on earth would lie,
Nor listen for those purer strains above.
Or what if Heaven for once its searching light
Lent to some partial eye, disclosing all
The rude bad thoughts, that in our bosom's night
Wander at large, nor heed Love's gentle thrall?
Who would not shun the dreary uncouth place?
As if, fond leaning where her infant slept,
A mother's arm a serpent should embrace:
So might we friendless live, and die unwept.
Then keep the softening veil in mercy drawn,
Thou who canst love us, thro' Thou read us true;
As on the bosom of th' aerial lawn
Melts in dim haze each coarse ungentle hue.
So too may soothing Hope Thy heave enjoy
Sweet visions of long-severed hearts to frame:
Though absence may impair, or cares annoy,
Some constant mind may draw us still the same.
We in dark dreams are tossing to and fro,
Pine with regret, or sicken with despair,
The while she bathes us in her own chaste glow,
And with our memory wings her own fond prayer.
O bliss of child-like innocence, and love
Tried to old age! creative power to win,
And raise new worlds, where happy fancies rove,
Forgetting quite this grosser world of sin.
Bright are their dreams, because their thoughts are clear,
Their memory cheering: but th' earth-stained spright,
Whose wakeful musings are of guilt and fear,
Must hover nearer earth, and less in light.
Farewell, for her, th' ideal scenes so fair -
Yet not farewell her hope, since thou hast deigned,
Creator of all hearts! to own and share
The woe of what Thou mad'st, and we have stained.
Thou knowst our bitterness--our joys are Thine -
No stranger Thou to all our wanderings wild:
Nor could we bear to think, how every line
Of us, Thy darkened likeness and defiled,
Stands in full sunshine of Thy piercing eye,
But that Thou call'st us Brethren: sweet repose
Is in that word--the LORD who dwells on high
Knows all, yet loves us better than He knows.
Foe of mankind! too bold thy race:
Thou runn'st at such a reckless pace,
Thine own dire work thou surely wilt confound:
'Twas but one little drop of sin
We saw this morning enter in,
And lo! at eventide the world is drowned.
See here the fruit of wandering eyes,
Of worldly longings to be wise,
Of Passion dwelling on forbidden sweets:
Ye lawless glances, freely rove;
Ruin below and wrath above
Are all that now the wildering fancy meets.
Lord, when in some deep garden glade,
Of Thee and of myself afraid.
From thoughts like these among the bowers I hide,
Nearest and loudest then of all
I seem to hear the Judge's call:-
"Where art thou, fallen man? come forth, and be thou tried."
Trembling before Thee as I stand,
Where'er I gaze on either hand
The sentence is gone forth, the ground is cursed:
Yet mingled with the penal shower
Some drops of balm in every bower
Steal down like April dews, that softest fall and first.
If filial and maternal love
Memorial of our guilt must prove,
If sinful babes in sorrow must be born,
Yet, to assuage her sharpest throes,
The faithful mother surely knows,
This was the way Thou cam'st to save the world forlorn.
If blessed wedlock may not bless
Without some tinge of bitterness
To dash her cup of joy, since Eden lost,
Chaining to earth with strong desire
Hearts that would highest else aspire,
And o'er the tenderer sex usurping ever most;
Yet by the light of Christian lore
'Tis blind Idolatry no more,
But a sweet help and pattern of true love,
Showing how best the soul may cling
To her immortal Spouse and King,
How He should rule, and she with full desire approve.
If niggard Earth her treasures hide,
To all but labouring hands denied,
Lavish of thorns and worthless weeds alone,
The doom is half in mercy given,
To train us in our way to Heaven,
And show our lagging souls how glory must be won.
If on the sinner's outward frame
God hath impressed His mark of blame,
And e'en our bodies shrink at touch of light,
Yet mercy hath not left us bare:
The very weeds we daily wear
Are to Faith's eye a pledge of God's forgiving might.
And oh! if yet one arrow more,
The sharpest of the Almighty's store,
Tremble upon the string--a sinner's death -
Art Thou not by to soothe and save,
To lay us gently in the grave,
To close the weary eye and hush the parting breath?
Therefore in sight of man bereft
The happy garden still was left;
The fiery sword that guarded, showed it too;
Turning all ways, the world to teach,
That though as yet beyond our reach,
Still in its place the tree of life and glory grew.
At length the worst is o'er, and Thou art laid
Deep in Thy darksome bed;
All still and cold beneath yon dreary stone
Thy sacred form is gone;
Around those lips where power and mercy hung,
The dews of deaths have clung;
The dull earth o'er Thee, and Thy foes around,
Thou sleep'st a silent corse, in funeral fetters wound.
Sleep'st Thou indeed? or is Thy spirit fled,
At large among the dead?
Whether in Eden bowers Thy welcome voice
Wake Abraham to rejoice,
Or in some drearier scene Thine eye controls
The thronging band of souls;
That, as Thy blood won earth, Thine agony
Might set the shadowy realm from sin and sorrow free.
Where'er Thou roam'st, one happy soul, we know,
Seen at Thy side in woe,
Waits on Thy triumphs--even as all the blest
With him and Thee shall rest.
Each on his cross; by Thee we hang a while,
Watching Thy patient smile,
Till we have learned to say, "'Tis justly done,
Only in glory, LORD, Thy sinful servant own."
Soon wilt Thou take us to Thy tranquil bower
To rest one little hour,
Till Thine elect are numbered, and the grave
Call Thee to come and save:
Then on Thy bosom borne shall we descend
Again with earth to blend,
Earth all refined with bright supernal fires,
Tinctured with holy blood, and winged with pure desires.
Meanwhile with every son and saint of Thine
Along the glorious line,
Sitting by turns beneath Thy sacred feet
We'll hold communion sweet,
Know them by look and voice, and thank them all
For helping us in thrall,
For words of hope, and bright examples given
To show through moonless skies that there is light in Heaven.
O come that day, when in this restless heart
Earth shall resign her part,
When in the grave with Thee my limbs shall rest,
My soul with Thee be blest!
But stay, presumptuous--CHRIST with Thee abides
In the rock's dreary sides:
He from this stone will wring Celestial dew
If but this prisoner's heart he faithful found and true.
When tears are spent, and then art left alone
With ghosts of blessings gone,
Think thou art taken from the cross, and laid
In JESUS' burial shade;
Take Moses' rod, the rod of prayer, and call
Out of the rocky wall
The fount of holy blood; and lift on high
Thy grovelling soul that feels so desolate and dry.
Prisoner of Hope thou art--look up and sing
In hope of promised spring.
As in the pit his father's darling lay
Beside the desert way,
And knew not how, but knew his GOD would save
E'en from that living grave,
So, buried with our LORD, we'll chose our eyes
To the decaying world, till Angels bid us rise.
Twelfth Sunday After Trinity
The Son of God in doing good
Was fain to look to Heaven and sigh:
And shall the heirs of sinful blood
Seek joy unmixed in charity?
God will not let Love's work impart
Full solace, lest it steal the heart;
Be thou content in tears to sow,
Blessing, like Jesus, in thy woe:
He looked to Heaven, and sadly sighed -
What saw my gracious Saviour there,
"With fear and anguish to divide
The joy of Heaven-accepted prayer?
So o'er the bed where Lazarus slept
He to His Father groaned and wept:
What saw He mournful in that grave,
Knowing Himself so strong to save?"
O'erwhelming thoughts of pain and grief
Over His sinking spirit sweep; -
What boots it gathering one lost leaf
Out of yon sere and withered heap,
Where souls and bodies, hopes and joys,
All that earth owns or sin destroys,
Under the spurning hoof are cast,
Or tossing in th' autumnal blast?
The deaf may hear the Saviour's voice,
The fettered tongue its chain may break;
But the deaf heart, the dumb by choice,
The laggard soul, that will not wake,
The guilt that scorns to be forgiven; -
These baffle e'en the spells of Heaven;
In thought of these, His brows benign
Not e'en in healing cloudless shine.
No eye but His might ever bear
To gaze all down that drear abyss,
Because none ever saw so clear
The shore beyond of endless bliss:
The giddy waves so restless hurled,
The vexed pulse of this feverish world,
He views and counts with steady sight,
Used to behold the Infinite.
But that in such communion high
He hath a fount of strength within,
Sure His meek heart would break and die,
O'erburthened by His brethren's sin;
Weak eyes on darkness dare not gaze,
It dazzles like the noonday blaze;
But He who sees God's face may brook
On the true face of Sin to look.
What then shall wretched sinners do,
When in their last, their hopeless day,
Sin, as it is, shall meet their view,
God turn His face for aye away?
Lord, by Thy sad and earnest eye,
When Thou didst look to Heaven and sigh:
Thy voice, that with a word could chase
The dumb, deaf spirit from his place;
As Thou hast touched our ears, and taught
Our tongues to speak Thy praises plain,
Quell Thou each thankless godless thought
That would make fast our bonds again.
From worldly strife, from mirth unblest,
Drowning Thy music in the breast,
From foul reproach, from thrilling fears,
Preserve, good Lord, Thy servants' ears.
From idle words, that restless throng
And haunt our hearts when we would pray,
From Pride's false chime, and jarring wrong,
Seal Thou my lips, and guard the way:
For Thou hast sworn, that every ear,
Willing or loth, Thy trump shall hear,
And every tongue unchained be
To own no hope, no God, but Thee.
St. Peter's Day
Thou thrice denied, yet thrice beloved,
Watch by Thine own forgiven friend;
In sharpest perils faithful proved,
Let his soul love Thee to the end.
The prayer is heard--else why so deep
His slumber on the eve of death?
And wherefore smiles he in his sleep
As one who drew celestial breath?
He loves and is beloved again -
Can his soul choose but be at rest?
Sorrow hath fled away, and Pain
Dares not invade the guarded nest.
He dearly loves, and not alone:
For his winged thoughts are soaring high
Where never yet frail heart was known
To breathe its vain Affection's sigh.
He loves and weeps--but more than tears
Have sealed Thy welcome and his love -
One look lives in him, and endears
Crosses and wrongs where'er he rove:
That gracious chiding look, Thy call
To win him to himself and Thee,
Sweetening the sorrow of his fall
Which else were rued too bitterly.
E'en through the veil of sheep it shines,
The memory of that kindly glance; -
The Angel watching by, divines
And spares awhile his blissful trance.
Or haply to his native lake
His vision wafts him back, to talk
With JESUS, ere His flight He take,
As in that solemn evening walk,
When to the bosom of His friend,
The Shepherd, He whose name is Good.
Did His dear lambs and sheep commend,
Both bought and nourished with His blood:
Then laid on him th' inverted tree,
Which firm embraced with heart and arm,
Might cast o'er hope and memory,
O'er life and death, its awful charm.
With brightening heart he bears it on,
His passport through this eternal gates,
To his sweet home--so nearly won,
He seems, as by the door he waits,
The unexpressive notes to hear
Of angel song and angel motion,
Rising and falling on the ear
Like waves in Joy's unbounded ocean. -
His dream is changed--the Tyrant's voice
Calls to that last of glorious deeds -
But as he rises to rejoice,
Not Herod but an Angel leads.
He dreams he sees a lamp flash bright,
Glancing around his prison room -
But 'tis a gleam of heavenly light
That fills up all the ample gloom.
The flame, that in a few short years
Deep through the chambers of the dead
Shall pierce, and dry the fount of tears,
Is waving o'er his dungeon-bed.
Touched he upstarts--his chains unbind -
Through darksome vault, up massy stair,
His dizzy, doubting footsteps wind
To freedom and cool moonlight air.
Then all himself, all joy and calm,
Though for a while his hand forego,
Just as it touched, the martyr's palm,
He turns him to his task below;
The pastoral staff, the keys of Heaven,
To wield a while in grey-haired might,
Then from his cross to spring forgiven,
And follow JESUS out of sight.
Monday In Whitsun-Week
Since all that is not Heaven must fade,
Light be the hand of Ruin laid
Upon the home I love:
With lulling spell let soft Decay
Steal on, and spare the giant sway,
The crash of tower and grove.
Far opening down some woodland deep
In their own quiet glade should sleep
The relics dear to thought,
And wild-flower wreaths from side to side
Their waving tracery hang, to hide
What ruthless Time has wrought.
Such are the visions green and sweet
That o'er the wistful fancy fleet
In Asia's sea-like plain,
Where slowly, round his isles of sand,
Euphrates through the lonely land
Winds toward the pearly main.
Slumber is there, but not of rest;
There her forlorn and weary nest
The famished hawk has found,
The wild dog howls at fall of night,
The serpent's rustling coils affright
The traveller on his round.
What shapeless form, half lost on high,
Half seen against the evening sky,
Seems like a ghost to glide,
And watch, from Babel's crumbling heap,
Where in her shadow, fast asleep,
Lies fallen imperial Pride?
With half-closed eye a lion there
Is basking in his noontide lair,
Or prowls in twilight gloom.
The golden city's king he seems,
Such as in old prophetic dreams
Sprang from rough ocean's womb.
But where are now his eagle wings,
That sheltered erst a thousand kings,
Hiding the glorious sky
From half the nations, till they own
No holier name, no mightier throne?
That vision is gone by.
Quenched is the golden statue's ray,
The breath of heaven has blown away
What toiling earth had piled,
Scattering wise heart and crafty hand,
As breezes strew on ocean's sand
The fabrics of a child.
Divided thence through every age
Thy rebels, Lord, their warfare wage,
And hoarse and jarring all
Mount up their heaven-assailing cries
To Thy bright watchmen in the skies
From Babel's shattered wall.
Thrice only since, with blended might
The nations on that haughty height
Have met to scale the Heaven:
Thrice only might a Seraph's look
A moment's shade of sadness brook -
Such power to guilt was given.
Now the fierce bear and leopard keen
Are perished as they ne'er had been,
Oblivion is their home:
Ambition's boldest dream and last
Must melt before the clarion blast
That sounds the dirge of Rome.
Heroes and kings, obey the charm,
Withdraw the proud high-reaching arm,
There is an oath on high:
That ne'er on brow of mortal birth
Shall blend again the crowns of earth,
Nor in according cry
Her many voices mingling own
One tyrant Lord, one idol throne:
But to His triumphs soon
HE shall descend, who rules above,
And the pure language of His love,
All tongues of men shall tune.
Nor let Ambition heartless mourn;
When Babel's very ruins burn,
Her high desires may breathe; -
O'ercome thyself, and thou mayst share
With Christ His Father's throne, and wear
The world's imperial wreath.
Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity
It is so--ope thine eyes, and see -
What viewest thou all around?
A desert, where iniquity
And knowledge both abound.
In the waste howling wilderness
The Church is wandering still,
Because we would not onward press
When close to Sion's hill.
Back to the world we faithless turned,
And far along the wild,
With labour lost and sorrow earned,
Our steps have been beguiled.
Yet full before us, all the while,
The shadowing pillar stays,
The living waters brightly smile,
The eternal turrets blaze,
Yet Heaven is raining angels' bread
To be our daily food,
And fresh, as when it first was shed,
Springs forth the SAVIOUR'S blood.
From every region, race, and speech,
Believing myriads throng,
Till, far as sin and sorrow reach,
Thy grace is spread along;
Till sweetest nature, brightest art,
Their votive incense bring,
And every voice and every heart
Own Thee their God and King.
All own; but few, alas! will love;
Too like the recreant band
That with Thy patient spirit strove
Upon the Red-sea strand.
O Father of long-suffering grace,
Thou who hast sworn to stay
Pleading with sinners face to face
Through all their devious way:
How shall we speak to Thee, O LORD,
Or how in silence lie?
Look on us, and we are abhorred,
Turn from us, and we die.
Thy guardian fire, Thy guiding cloud,
Still let them gild our wall,
Nor be our foes and Thine allowed
To see us faint and fall.
Too oft, within this camp of Thine,
Rebellions murmurs rise;
Sin cannot bear to see Thee shine
So awful to her eyes.
Fain would our lawless hearts escape,
And with the heathen be,
To worship every monstrous shape
In fancied darkness free.
Vain thought, that shall not be at all!
Refuse we or obey,
Our ears have heard the Almighty's call,
We cannot be as they.
We cannot hope the heathen's doom
To whom GOD'S Son is given,
Whose eyes have seen beyond the tomb,
Who have the key of Heaven.
Weak tremblers on the edge of woe,
Yet shrinking from true bliss,
Our rest must be "no rest below,"
And let our prayer be this:
"LORD, wave again Thy chastening rod,
Till every idol throne
Crumble to dust, and Thou, O GOD,
Reign in our hearts alone.
"Bring all our wandering fancies home,
For Thou hast every spell,
And 'mid the heathen where they roam,
Thou knowest, LORD, too well.
"Thou know'st our service sad and hard,
Thou know'st us fond and frail;
Win us to be loved and spared
When all the world shall fail.
"So when at last our weary days
Are well-nigh wasted here,
And we can trace Thy wondrous ways
In distance calm and clear,
"When in Thy love and Israel's sin
We read our story true,
We may not, all too late, begin
To wish our hopes were new.
"Long loved, long tried, long spared as they,
Unlike in this alone,
That, by Thy grace, our hearts shall stay
For evermore Thine own."
St. Michael And All Angels
Ye stars that round the Sun of righteousness
In glorious order roll,
With harps for ever strung, ready to bless
God for each rescued soul,
Ye eagle spirits, that build in light divine,
Oh! think of us to-day,
Faint warblers of this earth, that would combine
Our trembling notes with your accepted lay.
Your amarant wreaths were earned; and homeward all,
Flush'd with victorious might,
Ye might have sped to keep high festival,
And revel in the light;
But meeting us, weak worldlings, on our way,
Tired ere the fight begun,
Ye turned to help us in th' unequal fray,
Remembering Whose we were, how dearly won:
Remembering Bethlehem, and that glorious night
When ye, who used to soar
Diverse along all space in fiery flight,
Came thronging to adore
Your God new-born, and made a sinner's child;
As if the stars should leave
Their stations in the far ethereal wild,
And round the sun a radiant circle weave.
Nor less your lay of triumph greeted fair
Our Champion and your King,
In that first strife, whence Satan in despair
Sunk down on scathed wing:
Abuse He fasted, and alone He fought;
But when His toils were o'er,
Ye to the sacred Hermit duteous brought
Banquet and hymn, your Eden's festal store.
Ye too, when lowest in th' abyss of woe
He plunged to save His sheep,
Were leaning from your golden thrones to know
The secrets of that deep:
But clouds were on His sorrow: one alone
His agonising call
Summoned from Heaven, to still that bitterest groan,
And comfort Him, the Comforter of all.
Oh! highest favoured of all Spirits create
(If right of thee we deem),
How didst thou glide on brightening wing elate
To meet th' unclouded beam
Of Jesus from the couch of darkness rising!
How swelled thine anthem's sound,
With fear and mightier joy weak hearts surprising,
"Your God is risen, and may not here be found!"
Pass a few days, and this dull darkling globe
Must yield Him from her sight; -
Brighter and brighter streams His glory-robe,
And He is lost in light.
Then, when through yonder everlasting arch,
Ye in innumerous choir
Poured, heralding Messiah's conquering march,
Lingered around His skirts two forms of fire:
With us they stayed, high warning to impart;
"The Christ shall come again
E'en as He goes; with the same human heart,
With the same godlike train." -
Oh! jealous God! how could a sinner dare
Think on that dreadful day,
But that with all Thy wounds Thou wilt be there,
And all our angel friends to bring Thee on Thy way?
Since to Thy little ones is given such grace,
That they who nearest stand
Alway to God in Heaven, and see His face,
Go forth at His command,
To wait around our path in weal or woe,
As erst upon our King,
Set Thy baptismal seal upon our brow,
And waft us heavenward with enfolding wing:
Grant. Lord, that when around th' expiring world
Our seraph guardians wait,
While on her death-bed, ere to ruin hurled,
She owns Thee, all too late,
They to their charge may turn, and thankful see
Thy mark upon us still;
Then all together rise, and reign with Thee,
And all their holy joy o'er contrite hearts fulfil!
Fourth Sunday After Trinity
It was not then a poet's dream,
An idle vaunt of song,
Such as beneath the moon's soft gleam
On vacant fancies throng;
Which bids us see in heaven and earth,
In all fair things around,
Strong yearnings for a blest new birth
With sinless glories crowned;
Which bids us hear, at each sweet pause
From care and want and toil,
When dewy eve her curtain draws
Over the day's turmoil,
In the low chant of wakeful birds,
In the deep weltering flood,
In whispering leaves, these solemn words -
"God made us all for good."
All true, all faultless, all in tune
Creation's wondrous choir,
Opened in mystic unison
To last till time expire.
And still it lasts; by day and night,
With one consenting voice,
All hymn Thy glory, Lord, aright,
All worship and rejoice.
Man only mars the sweet accord
O'erpowering with "harsh din"
The music of Thy works and word,
Ill matched with grief and sin.
Sin is with man at morning break,
And through the livelong day
Deafens the ear that fain would wake
To Nature's simple lay.
But when eve's silent footfall steals
Along the eastern sky,
And one by one to earth reveals
Those purer fires on high,
When one by one each human sound
Dies on the awful ear,
Then Nature's voice no more is drowned,
She speaks, and we must hear.
Then pours she on the Christian heart
That warning still and deep,
At which high spirits of old would start
E'en from their Pagan sleep.
Just guessing, through their murky blind
Few, faint, and baffling sight,
Streaks of a brighter heaven behind,
A cloudless depth of light.
Such thoughts, the wreck of Paradise,
Through many a dreary age,
Upbore whate'er of good and wise
Yet lived in bard or sage:
They marked what agonizing throes
Shook the great mother's womb:
But Reason's spells might not disclose
The gracious birth to come:
Nor could the enchantress Hope forecast
God's secret love and power;
The travail pangs of Earth must last
Till her appointed hour.
The hour that saw from opening heaven
Redeeming glory stream,
Beyond the summer hues of even,
Beyond the mid-day beam.
Thenceforth, to eyes of high desire,
The meanest thing below,
As with a seraph's robe of fire
Invested, burn and glow:
The rod of Heaven has touched them all,
The word from Heaven is spoken:
"Rise, shine, and sing, thou captive thrall;
Are not thy fetters broken?
"The God Who hallowed thee and blest,
Pronouncing thee all good -
Hath He not all thy wrongs redrest,
And all thy bliss renewed?
"Why mourn'st thou still as one bereft,
Now that th' eternal Son
His blessed home in Heaven hath left
To make thee all His own?"
Thou mourn'st because sin lingers still
In Christ's new heaven and earth;
Because our rebel works and will
Stain our immortal birth:
Because, as Love and Prayer grow cold,
The Saviour hides His face,
And worldlings blot the temple's gold
With uses vile and base.
Hence all thy groans and travail pains,
Hence, till thy God return,
In Wisdom's ear thy blithest strains,
Oh Nature, seem to mourn.
Sunday Next Before Advent
Will God indeed with fragments bear,
Snatched late from the decaying year?
Or can the Saviour's blood endear
The dregs of a polluted life?
When down th' o'erwhelming current tossed
Just ere he sink for ever lost,
The sailor's untried arms are crossed
In agonizing prayer, will Ocean cease her strife?
Sighs that exhaust but not relieve
Heart-rending sighs, O spare to heave
A bosom freshly taught to grieve
For lavished hours and love misspent!
Now through her round of holy thought
The Church our annual steps has brought,
But we no holy fire have caught -
Back on the gaudy world our wilful eyes were bent.
Too soon th' ennobling carols, poured
To hymn the birth-night of the LORD,
Which duteous Memory should have stored
For thankful echoing all the year -
Too soon those airs have passed away;
Nor long within the heart would stay
The silence of CHRIST'S dying day,
Profaned by worldly mirth, or scared by worldly fear.
Some strain of hope and victory
On Easter wings might lift us high
A little while we sought the sky:
And when the SPIRIT'S beacon fires
On every hill began to blare,
Lightening the world with glad amaze,
Who but must kindle while they gaze?
But faster than she soars, our earth-bound Fancy tires.
Nor yet for these, nor all the rites,
By which our Mother's voice invites
Our GOD to bless our home delights,
And sweeten every secret tear:-
The funeral dirge, the marriage vow,
The hollowed font where parents bow,
And now elate and trembling now
To the Redeemer's feet their new-found treasures bear:-
Not for this Pastor's gracious arm
Stretched out to bless--a Christian charm
To dull the shafts of worldly harm:-
Nor, sweetest, holiest, best of all
For the dear feast of JESUS dying,
Upon that altar ever lying,
Where souls with sacred hunger sighing
Are called to sit and eat, while angels prostrate fall:-
No, not for each and all of these,
Have our frail spirits found their ease.
The gale that stirs the autumnal trees
Seems tuned as truly to our hearts
As when, twelve weary months ago,
'Twas moaning bleak, so high and low,
You would have thought Remorse and Woe
Had taught the innocent air their sadly thrilling parts.
Is it, CHRIST'S light is too divine,
We dare not hope like Him to shine?
But see, around His dazzling shrine
Earths gems the fire of Heaven have caught;
Martyrs and saints--each glorious day
Dawning in order on our way -
Remind us, how our darksome clay
May keep th' ethereal warmth our new Creator brought.
These we have scorned, O false and frail!
And now once more th' appalling tale,
How love divine may woo and fail,
Of our lost year in Heaven is told -
What if as far our life were past,
Our weeks all numbered to the last,
With time and hope behind us cast,
And all our work to do with palsied hands and cold?
O watch and pray ere Advent dawn!
For thinner than the subtlest lawn
'Twixt thee and death the veil is drawn.
But Love too late can never glow:
The scattered fragments Love can glean
Refine the dregs, and yield us clean
To regions where one thought serene
Breathes sweeter than whole years of sacrifice below.
Fourth Sunday After Easter
My Saviour, can it ever be
That I should gain by losing Thee?
The watchful mother tarries nigh,
Though sleep have closed her infant's eye;
For should he wake, and find her gone.
She knows she could not bear his moan.
But I am weaker than a child,
And Thou art more than mother dear;
Without Thee Heaven were but a wild;
How can I live without Thee here!
"'Tis good for you, that I should go,
"You lingering yet awhile below;" -
'Tis Thine own gracious promise, Lord!
Thy saints have proved the faithful word,
When heaven's bright boundless avenue
Far opened on their eager view,
And homeward to Thy Father's throne,
Still lessening, brightening on their sight,
Thy shadowy car went soaring on;
They tracked Thee up th' abyss of light.
Thou bidd'st rejoice; they dare not mourn,
But to their home in gladness turn,
Their home and God's, that favoured place,
Where still He shines on Abraham's race,
In prayers and blessings there to wait
Like suppliants at their Monarch's gate,
Who bent with bounty rare to aid
The splendours of His crowning day,
Keeps back awhile His largess, made
More welcome for that brief delay:
In doubt they wait, but not unblest;
They doubt not of their Master's rest,
Nor of the gracious will of Heaven -
Who gave His Son, sure all has given -
But in ecstatic awe they muse
What course the genial stream may choose,
And far and wide their fancies rove,
And to their height of wonder strain,
What secret miracle of love
Should make their Saviour's going gain.
The days of hope and prayer are past,
The day of comfort dawns at last,
The everlasting gates again
Roll back, and, lo! a royal train -
From the far depth of light once more
The floods of glory earthward pour:
They part like shower-drops in mid air,
But ne'er so soft fell noon-tide shower,
Nor evening rainbow gleamed so fair
To weary swains in parched bower.
Swiftly and straight each tongue of flame
Through cloud and breeze unwavering came,
And darted to its place of rest
On some meek brow of Jesus blest.
Nor fades it yet, that living gleam,
And still those lambent lightnings stream;
Where'er the Lord is, there are they;
In every heart that gives them room,
They light His altar every day,
Zeal to inflame, and vice consume.
Soft as the plumes of Jesus' Dove
They nurse the soul to heavenly love;
The struggling spark of good within,
Just smothered in the strife of sin,
They quicken to a timely glow,
The pure flame spreading high and low.
Said I, that prayer and hope were o'er?
Nay, blessed Spirit! but by Thee
The Church's prayer finds wings to soar,
The Church's hope finds eyes to see.
Then, fainting soul, arise and sing;
Mount, but be sober on the wing;
Mount up, for Heaven is won by prayer,
Be sober, for thou art not there;
Till Death the weary spirit free,
Thy God hath said, 'Tis good for thee
To walk by faith and not by sight:
Take it on trust a little while;
Soon shalt thou read the mystery right
In the full sunshine of His smile.
Or if thou yet more knowledge crave,
Ask thine own heart, that willing slave
To all that works thee woe or harm
Shouldst thou not need some mighty charm
To win thee to thy Saviour's side,
Though He had deigned with thee to bide?
The Spirit must stir the darkling deep,
The Dove must settle on the Cross,
Else we should all sin on or sleep
With Christ in sight, turning our gain to loss.