THE WORLD'S BEST POETRY
I Home: Friendship II Love III Sorrow and Consolation IV The Higher Life V Nature VI Fancy Sentiment VII Descriptive: Narrative VIII National Spirit IX Tragedy: Humor X Poetical Quotations
THE WORLD'S BEST POETRY
IN TEN VOLUMES, ILLUSTRATED
John Vance Cheney Charles G.D. Roberts Charles F. Richardson Francis H. Stoddard
John R. Howard
The World's Best Poetry
THE HIGHER LIFE
RELIGION AND POETRY By WASHINGTON GLADDEN
NOTICE OF COPYRIGHTS.
American poems in this volume within the legal protection of copyright are used by the courteous permission of the owners,—either the publishers named in the following list or the authors or their representatives in the subsequent one,—who reserve all their rights. So far as practicable, permission has been secured also for poems out of copyright.
PUBLISHERS OF THE WORLD'S BEST POETRY. 1904.
Messrs. D. APPLETON & CO., New York.—W.G. Bryant: "The Future Life."
The ROBERT CLARKE COMPANY, Cincinnati.—W.D. Gallagher: "The Laborer."
Messrs. T.Y. CROWELL & CO., New York.—S.K. Bolton: "Her Creed."
Messrs. E.P. DUTTON & CO., New York.—Ph. Brooks: "O Little Town of Bethlehem;" E. Sears: "The Angel's Song."
Messrs. HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO., Boston.—Alice Cary: "My Creed;" Phoebe Cary: "Nearer Home;" J.F. Clarke: "The Caliph and Satan," "Cana;" R.W. Emerson: "Brahma," "Good-bye," "The Problem;" Louise I. Guiney: "Tryste Noel;" J. Hay: "Religion and Doctrine;" C.W. Holmes: "The Living Temple;" H.W. Longfellow: "King Robert of Sicily," "Ladder of St. Augustine," "Psalm of Life," "Santa Filomena," "Sifting of Peter," "Song of the Silent Land," "To-morrow;" S. Longfellow: "Vesper Hymn;" J.R. Lowell: "Vision of Sir Launfal;" Frances P.L. Mace: "Only Waiting;" Caroline A.B. Mason: "The Voyage;" T. Parker: "The Higher Good," "The Way, the Truth, and the Life;" Eliza Scudder: "The Love of God," "Vesper Hymn;" E.C. Stedman: "The Undiscovered Country;" Harriet B. Stowe: "Knocking, Ever Knocking," "The Other World;" J. Very: "Life," "The Spirit Land;" J.G. Whittier: "The Eternal Goodness," "The Meeting," "The Two Angels," "The Two Rabbis;" Sarah C. Woolsey: "When."
The J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, Philadelphia.—Margaret J. Preston: "Myrrh-Bearers."
Messrs. LITTLE, BROWN & CO., Boston.—J.W. Chadwick: "The Rise of Man;" Emily Dickinson: "Found Wanting," "Heaven."
The LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY, Boston.—P.H. Hayne: "Patience."
Messrs. L.C. PAGE & CO., Boston.—C.G.D. Roberts: "The Aim," "Ascription."
Messrs. SCOTT, FORESMAN & CO., Chicago.—C.P. Taylor: "The Old Village Choir."
Messrs. HERBERT S. STONE & CO., Chicago.—G. Santayana: "Faith."
The YOUNG CHURCHMAN COMPANY, Milwaukee.—A.C. Coxe: "The Chimes of England."
American poems in this volume by the authors whose names are given below are the copyrighted property of the authors, or of their representatives named in parenthesis, and may not be reprinted without their permission, which for the present work has been courteously granted.
PUBLISHERS OF THE WORLD'S BEST POETRY. 1904.
A. Coles (A. Coles, Jr., M.D.); J.A. Dix (Rev. Morgan Dix, D.D.); P.L. Dunbar; W.C. Gannett; W. Gladden; S.P. McL. Pratt; O. Huckel; Ray Palmer (Dr. Charles R. Palmer); A.D.F. Randolph (Arthur D.F. Randolph).
RELIGION AND POETRY
BY WASHINGTON GLADDEN.
The time is not long past when the copulative in that title might have suggested to some minds an antithesis,—as acid and alkali, or heat and cold. That religion could have affiliation with anything so worldly as poetry would have seemed to some pious people a questionable proposition. There were the Psalms, in the Old Testament, to be sure; and the minister had been heard to allude to them as poetry: might not that indicate some heretical taint in him, caught, perchance, from the "German neologists" whose influence we were beginning to dread? It did not seem quite orthodox to describe the Psalms as poems; and when, a little later, some one ventured to speak of the Book of Job as a dramatic poem, there were many who were simply horrified. Indeed, it was difficult for many good people to consider the Biblical writings as in any sense literature; they belonged in a category by themselves, and the application to them of the terms by which we describe similar writings in other books appeared to many good men and women a kind of profanation. This was not, of course, the attitude of educated men and women, but something akin to it affected large numbers of excellent people.
We are well past that period, and the relations of religion and poetry may now be discussed with no fear of misunderstandings. These relations are close and vital. Poetry is indebted to religion for its largest and loftiest inspirations, and religion is indebted to poetry for its subtlest and most luminous interpretations.
Religion is related to poetry as life is related to art. Religion is life, the life of God in the soul of man—the response of man's spirit to the attractions of the divine Spirit. Poetry is an interpretation of life. Religious poetry endeavors to express, in beautiful forms, the facts of the religious life. There is poetry that is not religious; poetry which deals only with that which is purely sensuous, poetry which does not hint at spiritual facts, or divine relations; and there is religion which has but little to do with poetry: but the highest religious thoughts and feelings are greatly served by putting them into poetic forms; and the greatest poetry is always that which sets forth the facts of the religious life. "Without love to man and love to God," says Dr. Strong, "the greatest poetry is impossible. Mere human love to God is not enough to stir the deepest chords either in the poet or in his readers. It is the connection of human love with the divine love that gives it permanence and security."[A]
If, then, religion is the supreme experience of the human spirit, and that experience finds its most perfect literary expression in poetry, the present volume ought to contain a precious collection of the best literature. And any one who wished to give to a friend a volume which would convey to him the essential elements of religion would probably be safe to choose this volume rather than any prose treatise upon theology ever printed. He who reads this book through will get a clearer and truer idea of what the religious life is than any philosophical discussion could give him. For this poetry is an attempt to express life, not to explain it. It offers pictures or reports rather than analyses of religious experience. It gives utterance to the real life of religion in the individual soul, and is not a generalization of religious thoughts and feelings.
The sources from which this collection has been drawn are abundant and varied. The psalmody and hymnology of the church furnish a vast preserve, the exploration of which would be a large undertaking. It must be confessed that the pious people who had in their hands some of the ancient hymn-books were justified in feeling that religion and poetry were not closely related, for many of the hymns they were wont to sing were guiltless of any poetic character. It was too often evident that the hymn-writer had been more intent on giving metrical form to proper theological concepts than on giving utterance to his own religious life. But the feeling has been growing that in hymns, at any rate, life is more than dogma; and we have now some collections of hymns that come pretty near being books of poetry. The improvement in this department of literature within the past twenty-five years has been marked. There is still, indeed, in many hymnals, and especially in hymnals for Sunday schools and social meetings, much doggerel; but large recent contributions of hymns which are true poetry, many of the best of them from American sources, have made it possible to furnish our congregations with admirable manuals of praise.
The indebtedness of religion to poetry which is thus expressed in the hymnology of the church is very large. Probably many of us are indebted for definite and permanent religious conceptions and impressions quite as much to felicitous phrases of hymns as to any words of sermon or catechism. Our most positive convictions of religious truth are apt to come to us in some line or stanza that tells the whole story. The rhythm and the rhyme have helped to fix it and hold it in the memory.
This is true not only of the hymns of the church but of many poems that are not suitable for singing. English poetry is especially rich in meditative and devotional elements, and of no period has this been more true than of the nineteenth century. Cowper, Wordsworth, Coleridge, the Brownings, Tennyson and Matthew Arnold, on the other side of the sea, with Bryant, Longfellow, Emerson, Whittier, Lowell, Holmes, Lanier, Sill and Gilder on this side—these and many others—have made most precious additions to our store of religious poetry. The century has been one of great perturbations in religious thought; the advent of the evolutionary philosophy threatened all the theological foundations, and there was need of a thorough revision of the dogmas which were based on a mechanical theology, and of a reinterpretation of the life of the Spirit. In all this the poets have given us the strongest help. The great poet cannot be oblivious of these deepest themes. He need not be a dogmatician, indeed he cannot be, for his business is insight, not ratiocination; but the problems which theology is trying to solve must always be before his mind, and he must have something to say about them, if he hopes to command the attention of thoughtful men. Yet while we need not depreciate the service that has been rendered by preachers and professional theologians who have sought to put the facts of the religious life into the forms of the new philosophy, we must own our deeper obligation to the poets, by whose vision the spiritual realities have been most clearly discerned.
It was Wordsworth, perhaps, who gave us the first great contribution to the new religious thought by bringing home to us the fact that God is in his world; revealing himself now as clearly as in any of the past ages. The truth of the Divine immanence, which is the foundation of all the more positive religious thinking of to-day, and which is destined, when once its import has been fully grasped, to revolutionize our religious life, is made familiar to our thought in Wordsworth's poetry. To him it was simply an experience; in quite another sense than that in which it was true of Spinoza, it might have been said of him that he was a "God-intoxicated man"; and although his clear English sense permitted no pantheistic merging of the human in the divine, but kept the individual consciousness clear for choice and duty, the realization of the presence of God made nature in his thought supernatural, and life sublime. To him, as Dr. Strong has said, it was plain that "imagination in man enables him to enter into the thought of God—the creative element in us is the medium through which we perceive the meaning of the Creator in his creation. The world without answers to the world within, because God is the soul of both."
"Such minds are truly from the Deity, For they are Powers; and hence the highest bliss That flesh can know is theirs,—the consciousness Of whom they are, habitually infused Through every image and through every thought, And all affections by communion raised From earth to heaven, from human to divine."
The mystical faith by which man is united to God can have no clearer confession. And in the great poem of "Tintern Abbey" this truth received an expression which has become classical;—it must be counted one of the greatest words of that continuing revelation by which the truths of religion are given permanent form:
"For I have learned To look on nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes The still, sad music of humanity, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue. And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean, and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things."
We can hardly imagine that the religious experience of mankind will ever suffer these words to drop into forgetfulness; and it would seem that every passing generation must deepen their significance.
The same great testimony to the divine Presence in our lives is borne by many other witnesses in memorable words. Lowell's voice is clear:
"No man can think, nor in himself perceive, Sometimes at waking, in the street sometimes, Or on the hillside, always unforwarned, A grace of being finer than himself, That beckons and is gone,—a larger life Upon his own impinging, with swift glimpse Of spacious circles, luminous with mind, To which the ethereal substance of his own Seems but gross cloud to make that visible, Touched to a sudden glory round the edge."
If to this central truth of religion,—the reality of the communion of the human spirit with the divine—the poets have borne such impressive testimony, not less positively have they asserted many other of the great things of the spirit. Sometimes they have helped us to believe, by identifying themselves with us in our struggles with the doubts that loosen our hold on the great realities. No man of the last century has done more for Christian belief than Alfred Tennyson, albeit he has been a confessed doubter. But what he said of Arthur Hallam is quite as true of himself:
"He fought his doubts, and gathered strength, He would not make his judgment blind, He faced the spectres of the mind And laid them; thus he came at length,
To find a stronger faith his own, And Power was with him in the night, Which makes the darkness and the light, And dwells not in the light alone."
Those words of his, so often quoted, are often sadly misused:
"There lives more faith in honest doubt, Believe me, than in half the creeds."
When men make these words an excuse for an attitude of habitual negation and denial, assuming that it is better to doubt everything than to believe anything, they grossly pervert the poet's meaning. It is the faith that lives in honest doubt that his heart applauds. He is thinking of the fact that it is real faith in God which leads men to doubt the dogmas which misrepresent God. But conscious as he is of the shadow that lies upon our field of vision, he is always insisting that it is in the light and not in the shadow that we must walk. Therefore, although demonstration is impossible, faith is rational. So do those great words of "The Ancient Sage" admonish us:
"Thou canst not prove that thou art body alone, Nor canst thou prove that thou art spirit alone, Nor canst thou prove that thou art both in one. Thou canst not prove thou art immortal, no, Nor yet that thou art mortal—nay, my son. Thou canst not prove that I who speak with thee, Am not thyself in converse with thyself, For nothing worthy proving can be proven Nor yet disproven. Wherefore be thou wise, Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt, And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith! She reels not in the storm of warring words, She brightens at the clash of 'Yes' and 'No,' She sees the best that glimmers through the worst, She feels the sun is hid but for a night, She spies the summer through the winter bud, She tastes the fruit before the blossom falls, She hears the lark within the songless egg, She finds the fountain where they wailed 'Mirage!'"
This illustrates Tennyson's mental attitude. If all who plume themselves upon their doubts would put themselves into this posture of mind, they would find themselves in possession of a very substantial faith.
Tennyson has touched with light more than one problem of the soul. The little stanza beginning
"Flower in the crannied wall"
has shown us how the mysteries of being are shared by the commonest lives; the short lyric "Wages" condenses into a few lines the strongest proof of the life to come; and "Crossing the Bar" has borne many a spirit in peace out to the boundless sea.
Robert Browning's robust faith helps us in a different way. His daring and triumphant optimism makes us ashamed of doubt. In "Abt Vogler," in "Rabbi Ben Ezra," in "Pompilia," in "Christmas Eve," we are caught up and carried onward by an unflinching and overcoming faith. Perhaps the most convincing arguments for religious reality in Browning's poems are those of "An Epistle" and of "Cleon," where the cry of the human soul for the assurance which the Christian faith supplies is given such a penetrating voice. And there is no reasoning about the Incarnation, in any theological book that I have ever read, which seems to me so cogent as that great passage in "Saul," where David cries:
"Could I wrestle to raise him from sorrow, grow poor to enrich, To fill up his life, starve my own out. I would—knowing which, I know that my service is perfect. Oh, speak through me now! Would I suffer for him that I love? So wouldst thou—so wilt thou!"
But, after all, Browning's great hymns of faith are those in which he faces the future, like "Prospice," and the prologue of "La Saisiaz," and the epilogue of "Asolando,"—triumphant songs, in which one of the healthiest-minded of human beings showed himself:
"One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, Never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed though right were worsted wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake!"
It would be a grateful task to make extended record of the service rendered to religion by the great choir of singers whose names appear upon the pages of this book. To Elizabeth Barrett Browning our debt is large, though her note is oftenest plaintive and the faith which she illustrates is that by which suffering is turned to strength. Our own New England psalmist, also, has been to great multitudes a revealer and a comforter; few in any age have seen the central truths of Christianity more clearly, or felt them more deeply, or uttered them more convincingly. In such poems as "My Soul and I," "My Psalm," "Our Master," "The Eternal Goodness," "The Brewing of Soma," and "Andrew Ryckman's Prayer," Whittier has made the whole religious world his debtor.
How many more there are—of those whom the world reckons as the greater bards, and of those whom it assigns to lower places—to whom we have found ourselves indebted for the clearing of our vision or the quickening of our pulses, in our studies or our meditations upon the deepest questions of life! How many there are, whose faces we never saw, but who by some luminous word, some strain vibrant with tenderness, some flash of insight, have endeared themselves to us forever! They are the friends of our spirits, ministers to us of the holiest things. They have clothed for us the highest truth in forms of beauty; they have made it winsome and real and dear and memorable. Is there anything better than this, that one man can do for another?
[Footnote A: "The Great Poets and their Theology."]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTORY ESSAY: "RELIGION AND POETRY." By Washington Gladden
POEMS OF THE HIGHER LIFE: THE DIVINE ELEMENT—(God, Christ, the Holy Spirit) PRAYER AND ASPIRATION FAITH: HOPE: LOVE: SERVICE SABBATH: WORSHIP: CREED SELECTIONS FROM "PARADISE LOST" HUMAN EXPERIENCE DEATH: IMMORTALITY: HEAVEN SELECTIONS FROM "THE DIVINE COMEDY"
INDEX: AUTHORS AND TITLES
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
JOHN MILTON Photogravure from an engraving.
THE CHILD JESUS IN THE TEMPLE One of Heinrich Hoffmann's wonderful scenes in the life of Christ: the earnest, wise-faced Boy, and the eager or doubtful but thoughtful Scribes and Doctors of the Law, are graphically depicted.
ISAAC WATTS From a contemporary engraving.
THE HOLY NIGHT "It was the winter wild While the heaven-born Child All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies."
From photogravure after a painting by Martin Feuerstein.
CHARLES WESLEY From a contemporary engraving.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD "Knocking, knocking, ever knocking? Who is there? 'Tis a pilgrim, strange and kingly, Never such was seen before."
From photo-carbon print after the painting by Holman Hunt.
SIR GALAHAD "My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure."
From photogravure after the painting by George Frederick Watts.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON From a photogravure after life-photograph.
DINA M. MULOCK CRAIK From a life-photograph by Elliott and Fry, London.
THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN "Two went to pray? O, rather say, One went to brag, the other to pray; One nearer to God's altar trod, The other to the altar's God."
From engraving by Brend'amour, after a design by Alexander Bida.
DANTE ALIGHIERI After a photograph from the fresco by His friend Giotto, discovered under the whitewash on a watt of the Bargello palace; now in the Museo Nazionale, Florence, Italy.
POEMS OF THE HIGHER LIFE
POEMS OF THE HIGHER LIFE
THE DIVINE ELEMENT.
* * * * *
FROM "PIPPA PASSES."
The year's at the spring, And day's at the morn; Morning's at seven; The hill-side's dew-pearled; The lark's on the wing; The snail's on the thorn; God's in His heaven— All's right with the world.
* * * * *
A PASSAGE IN THE LIFE OF SAINT AUGUSTINE.
Long pored Saint Austin o'er the sacred page, And doubt and darkness overspread his mind; On God's mysterious being thought the Sage, The Triple Person in one Godhead joined. The more he thought, the harder did he find To solve the various doubts which fast arose; And as a ship, caught by imperious wind, Tosses where chance its shattered body throws, So tossed his troubled soul, and nowhere found repose.
Heated and feverish, then he closed his tome, And went to wander by the ocean-side, Where the cool breeze at evening loved to come, Murmuring responsive to the murmuring tide; And as Augustine o'er its margent wide Strayed, deeply pondering the puzzling theme, A little child before him he espied: In earnest labor did the urchin seem, Working with heart intent close by the sounding stream.
He looked, and saw the child a hole had scooped, Shallow and narrow in the shining sand, O'er which at work the laboring infant stooped, Still pouring water in with busy hand. The saint addressed the child in accents bland: "Fair boy," quoth he, "I pray what toil is thine? Let me its end and purpose understand." The boy replied: "An easy task is mine, To sweep into this hole all the wide ocean's brine."
"O foolish boy!" the saint exclaimed, "to hope That the broad ocean in that hole should lie!" "O foolish saint!" exclaimed the boy; "thy scope Is still more hopeless than the toil I ply, Who think'st to comprehend God's nature high In the small compass of thine human wit! Sooner, Augustine, sooner far, shall I Confine the ocean in this tiny pit, Than finite minds conceive God's nature infinite!"
* * * * *
MEDITATIONS OF A HINDU PRINCE.
All the world over, I wonder, in lands that I never have trod, Are the people eternally seeking for the signs and steps of a God? Westward across the ocean, and Northward across the snow, Do they all stand gazing, as ever, and what do the wisest know?
Here, in this mystical India, the deities hover and swarm Like the wild bees heard in the tree-tops, or the gusts of a gathering storm; In the air men hear their voices, their feet on the rocks are seen, Yet we all say, "Whence is the message, and what may the wonders mean?"
A million shrines stand open, and ever the censer swings, As they bow to a mystic symbol, or the figures of ancient kings; And the incense rises ever, and rises the endless cry Of those who are heavy laden, and of cowards loth to die.
For the Destiny drives us together, like deer in a pass of the hills; Above is the sky and around us the sound of the shot that kills; Pushed by a power we see not, and struck by a hand unknown, We pray to the trees for shelter, and press our lips to a stone.
The trees wave a shadowy answer, and the rock frowns hollow and grim, And the form and the nod of the demon are caught in the twilight dim; And we look to the sunlight falling afar on the mountain crest,— Is there never a path runs upward to a refuge there and a rest?
The path, ah! who has shown it, and which is the faithful guide? The haven, ah! who has known it? for steep is the mountain side, Forever the shot strikes surely, and ever the wasted breath Of the praying multitude rises, whose answer is only death.
Here are the tombs of my kinsfolk, the fruit of an ancient name, Chiefs who were slain on the war-field, and women who died in flame; They are gods, these kings of the foretime, they are spirits who guard our race: Ever I watch and worship; they sit with a marble face.
And the myriad idols round me, and the legion of muttering priests, The revels and rites unholy, the dark unspeakable feasts! What have they rung from the Silence? Hath even a whisper come Of the secret, Whence and Whither? Alas! for the gods are dumb.
Shall I list to the word of the English, who come from the uttermost sea? "The Secret, hath it been told you, and what is your message to me?" It is naught but the wide-world story how the earth and the heavens began, How the gods are glad and angry, and a Deity once was man.
I had thought, "Perchance in the cities where the rulers of India dwell, Whose orders flash from the far land, who girdle the earth with a spell, They have fathomed the depths we float on, or measured the unknown main—" Sadly they turn from the venture, and say that the quest is vain.
Is life, then, a dream and delusion, and where shall the dreamer awake? Is the world seen like shadows on water, and what if the mirror break? Shall it pass as a camp that is struck, as a tent that is gathered and gone From the sands that were lamp-lit at eve, and at morning are level and lone?
Is there naught in the heaven above, whence the hail and the levin are hurled, But the wind that is swept around us by the rush of the rolling world? The wind that shall scatter my ashes, and bear me to silence and sleep With the dirge, and the sounds of lamenting, and voices of women who weep.
SIR ALFRED COMYNS LYALL.
* * * * *
If the red slayer think he slays, Or if the slain think he is slain, They know not well the subtle ways I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near; Shadow and sunlight are the same; The vanished gods to me appear; And one to me are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out; When me they fly, I am the wings; I am the doubter and the doubt, And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.
The strong gods pine for my abode, And pine in vain the sacred Seven; But thou, meek lover of the good! Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
* * * * *
HYMN TO ZEUS.
Most glorious of all the Undying, many-named, girt round with awe! Jove, author of Nature, applying to all things the rudder of law— Hail! Hail! for it justly rejoices the races whose life is a span To lift unto thee their voices—the Author and Framer of man. For we are thy sons; thou didst give us the symbols of speech at our birth, Alone of the things that live, and mortal move upon earth. Wherefore thou shalt find me extolling and ever singing thy praise; Since thee the great Universe, rolling on its path round the world, obeys:— Obeys thee, wherever thou guidest, and gladly is bound in thy bands, So great is the power thou confidest, with strong, invincible hands, To thy mighty ministering servant, the bolt of the thunder, that flies, Two-edged like a sword, and fervent, that is living and never dies. All nature, in fear and dismay, doth quake in the path of its stroke, What time thou preparest the way for the one Word thy lips have spoke, Which blends with lights smaller and greater, which pervadeth and thrilleth all things, So great is thy power and thy nature—in the Universe Highest of Kings! On earth, of all deeds that are done, O God! there is none without thee; In the holy ether not one, nor one on the face of the sea, Save the deeds that evil men, driven by their own blind folly, have planned; But things that have grown uneven are made even again by thy hand; And things unseemly grow seemly, the unfriendly are friendly to thee; For no good and evil supremely thou hast blended in one by decree. For all thy decree is one ever—a Word that endureth for aye, Which mortals, rebellious, endeavor to flee from and shun to obey— Ill-fated, that, worn with proneness for the lord-ship of goodly things, Neither hear nor behold, in its oneness, the law that divinity brings; Which men with reason obeying, might attain unto glorious life, No longer aimlessly straying in the paths of ignoble strife. There are men with a zeal unblest, that are wearied with following of fame, And men with a baser quest, that are turned to lucre and shame. There are men too that pamper and pleasure the flesh with delicate stings: All these desire beyond measure to be other than all these things. Great Jove, all-giver, dark-clouded, great Lord of the thunderbolt's breath! Deliver the men that are shrouded in ignorance dismal as death. O Father! dispel from their souls the darkness, and grant them the light Of reason, thy stay, when the whole wide world thou rulest with might, That we, being honored, may honor thy name with the music of hymns, Extolling the deeds of the Donor, unceasing, as rightly beseems Mankind; for no worthier trust is awarded to God or to man Than forever to glory with justice in the law that endures and is One.
From the Greek of CLEANTHES.
* * * * *
TE DEUM LAUDAMUS.
We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting. To thee all Angels cry aloud; the Heavens, and all the powers therein. To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy Glory. The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee. The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee. The noble army of Martyrs praise thee. The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee; The Father of an infinite Majesty; Thine adorable, true, and only Son; Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father. When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin. When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers. Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the Glory of the Father. We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge. We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood. Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, in glory everlasting. O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine heritage. Govern them, and lift them up for ever. Day by day we magnify thee; And we worship thy Name ever, world without end. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin. O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us. O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee. O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.[A]
Version of the
AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH PRAYER-BOOK.
[Footnote A: This venerable hymn, familiar as a part of the morning service in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Episcopal Churches, and on special occasions in many Protestant Churches, has usually been ascribed to the great St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Augustine, his greater convert, in the year 387 A.D. But, like other productions of mighty influence, it was doubtless a growth. Portions of it appear in the writings of St. Cyprian (252 A.D.) and others in still earlier liturgical forms of the Greek Church in Alexandria during the century previous. It is thus probably the earliest, as it is certainly the most universal and famous, of Christian hymns. It was translated from the Latin into English in 1549 for the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which assumed its present form in 1660—during that wonderful era which gave us the English Bible, with its unapproached majesty and music of language.]
* * * * *
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
Father of all! in every age, In every clime adored, By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou great First Cause, least understood, Who all my sense confined To know but this, that thou art good, And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark estate, To see the good from ill; And, binding nature fast in fate, Left free the human will:
What conscience dictates to be done, Or warns me not to do, This, teach me more than hell to shun, That, more than heaven pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives Let me not cast away; For God is paid when man receives, To enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span Thy goodness let me bound, Or think thee Lord alone of man, When thousand worlds are round:
Let not this weak, unknowing hand Presume thy bolts to throw, And deal damnation round the land On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right thy grace impart Still in the right to stay; If I am wrong, O, teach my heart To find that better way!
Save me alike from foolish pride And impious discontent At aught thy wisdom has dented, Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe, To hide the fault I see; That mercy I to others show, That mercy show to me.
Mean though I am, not wholly so, Since quickened by thy breath; O, lead me wheresoe'er I go, Through this day's life or death!
This day be bread and peace my lot; All else beneath the sun, Thou knowest if best bestowed or not, And let thy will be done.
To thee, whose temple is all space, Whose altar, earth, sea, skies, One chorus let all Being raise, All Nature incense rise!
* * * * *
FROM "THE SPECTATOR."
The spacious firmament on high, With all the blue ethereal sky, And spangled heavens, a shining frame, Their great Original proclaim; The unwearied sun, from day to day, Does his Creator's power display, And publishes to every land The work of an Almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail, The moon takes up the wondrous tale, And nightly to the listening earth Repeats the story of her birth; While all the stars that round her burn, And all the planets in their turn, Confirm the tidings as they roll, And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though, in solemn silence, all Move round the dark terrestrial ball? What though no real voice or sound Amid their radiant orbs be found? In Reason's ear they all rejoice, And utter forth a glorious voice, Forever singing, as they shine, "The hand that made us is divine!"
* * * * *
LORD! WHEN THOSE GLORIOUS LIGHTS I SEE.
HYMN AND PRAYER FOR THE USE OF BELIEVERS.
Lord! when those glorious lights I see With which thou hast adorned the skies, Observing how they moved be, And how their splendor fills mine eyes, Methinks it is too large a grace, But that thy love ordained it so,— That creatures in so high a place Should servants be to man below.
The meanest lamp now shining there In size and lustre doth exceed The noblest of thy creatures here, And of our friendship hath no need. Yet these upon mankind attend For secret aid or public light; And from the world's extremest end Repair unto us every night.
O, had that stamp been undefaced Which first on us thy hand had set, How highly should we have been graced, Since we are so much honored yet! Good God, for what but for the sake Of thy beloved and only Son, Who did on him our nature take, Were these exceeding favors done?
As we by him have honored been, Let us to him due honors give; Let us uprightness hide our sin, And let us worth from him receive. Yea, so let us by grace improve What thou by nature doth bestow, That to thy dwelling-place above We may be raised from below.
* * * * *
BEFORE SUNRISE, IN THE VALE OF CHAMOUNI.
Hast thou a charm to stay the morning star In his steep course? So long he seems to pause On thy bald, awful head, O sovran Blanc! The Arve and Arveiron at thy base Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful Form, Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines How silently! Around thee and above, Deep is the air and dark, substantial, black— An ebon mass. Methinks thou piercest it, As with a wedge! But when I look again, It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine, Thy habitation from eternity! O dread and silent Mount! I gazed upon thee, Till thou, still present to the bodily sense, Didst vanish from my thought. Entranced in prayer I worshipped the Invisible alone.
Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody, So sweet we know not we are listening to it, Thou, the mean while, wast blending with my thought,— Yea, with my life and life's own secret joy,— Till the dilating soul, enrapt, transfused, Into the mighty vision passing, there, As in her natural form, swelled vast to Heaven!
Awake, my soul! not only passive praise Thou owest! not alone these swelling tears, Mute thanks, and secret ecstasy! Awake, Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake! Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my hymn.
Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale! O, struggling with the darkness all the night, And visited all night by troops of stars, Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink, Companion of the morning-star at dawn, Thyself Earth's rosy star, and of the dawn Co-herald,—wake, O, wake, and utter praise! Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in earth? Who filled thy countenance with rosy light? Who made thee parent of perpetual streams?
And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad! Who called you forth from night and utter death, From dark and icy caverns called you forth, Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks, Forever shattered and the same forever? Who gave you your invulnerable life, Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy, Unceasing thunder and eternal foam? And who commanded (and the silence came), Here let the billows stiffen, and have rest?
Ye ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow Adown enormous ravines slope amain,— Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice, And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge! Motionless torrents! silent cataracts! Who made you glorious as the gates of Heaven Beneath the keen full moon? Who bade the sun Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your feet? God!—let the torrents, like a shout of nations, Answer! and let the ice-plains echo, God! God! sing, ye meadow-streams, with gladsome voice! Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds! And they too have a voice, yon piles of snow, And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!
Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost! Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest! Ye eagles, playmates of the mountain-storm! Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the clouds! Ye signs and wonders of the elements! Utter forth God, and fill the hills with praise!
Thou, too, hoar Mount! with thy sky-pointing peaks, Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard, Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene, Into the depth of clouds that veil thy breast,— Thou too again, stupendous Mountain! thou That, as I raise my head, awhile bowed low In adoration, upward from thy base Slow travelling with dim eyes suffused with tears, Solemnly seemest, like a vapory cloud, To rise before me,—Rise, O, ever rise! Rise, like a cloud of incense from the Earth! Thou kingly Spirit throned among the hills, Thou dread ambassador from Earth to Heaven, Great Hierarch! tell thou the silent sky, And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun, Earth with her thousand voices, praises God.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.
* * * * *
THE HILLS OF THE LORD.
God ploughed one day with an earthquake, And drove his furrows deep! The huddling plains upstarted. The hills were all a-leap!
But that is the mountains' secret, Age-hidden in their breast; "God's peace is everlasting," Are the dream-words of their rest.
He hath made them the haunt of beauty, The home elect of his grace; He spreadeth his mornings on them, His sunsets light their face.
His thunders tread in music Of footfalls echoing long, And carry majestic greeting Around the silent throng.
His winds bring messages to them, Wild storm-news from the main; They sing it down to the valleys In the love-song of the rain.
Green tribes from far come trooping, And over the uplands flock; He weaveth the zones together In robes for his risen rock.
They are nurseries for young rivers; Nests for his flying cloud; Homesteads for new-born races, Masterful, free, and proud.
The people of tired cities Come up to their shrines and pray; God freshens again within them, As he passes by all day.
And lo, I have caught their secret, The beauty deeper than all. This faith—that life's hard moments, When the jarring sorrows befall,
Are but God ploughing his mountains; And the mountains yet shall be The source of his grace and freshness And his peace everlasting to me.
WILLIAM CHANNING GANNETT.
* * * * *
As on my bed at dawn I mused and prayed, I saw my lattice prankt upon the wall, The flaunting leaves and flitting birds withal— A sunny phantom interlaced with shade; "Thanks be to Heaven," in happy mood I said, "What sweeter aid my matins could befall Than this fair glory from the east hath made? What holy sleights hath God, the Lord of all, To bid us feel and see! We are not free To say we see not, for the glory comes Nightly and daily, like the flowing sea; His lustre pierces through the midnight glooms, And at prime hours, behold! he follows me With golden shadows to my secret rooms."
CHARLES TENNYSON TURNER.
* * * * *
GOD AND MAN.
FROM THE "ESSAY ON MAN," EPISTLES I AND IV.
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutored mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind: His soul, proud science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk or Milky Way: Yet simple Nature to his hope has given, Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heaven; Some safer world in depth of woods embraced, Some happier island in the watery waste, Where slaves once more their native land behold, No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. To Be, contents his natural desire; He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; But thinks, admitted to that equal sky, His faithful dog shall bear him company. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense, Weigh thy opinion against Providence: Call imperfection what thou fancy'st such,— Say, here he gives too little, there too much; Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Yet cry, If man's unhappy, God's unjust,— If man alone engross not Heaven's high care, Alone made perfect here, immortal there; Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod, Re-judge his justice, be the god of God. In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes: Men would be angels, angels would be gods. Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell, Aspiring to be angels, men rebel; And who but wishes to invert the laws Of Order, sins against the Eternal Cause.
* * * * *
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul: That, changed through all, and yet in all the same; Great in the earth as in the ethereal frame; Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze, Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees, Lives through all life, extends through all extent, Spreads undivided, operates unspent: Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart; As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns, As the rapt seraph that adores and burns: To him no high, no low, no great, no small; He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all. Cease then, nor order imperfection name: Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee. Submit.—In this or any other sphere, Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear; Safe in the hand of one disposing Power, Or in the natal or the mortal hour. All nature is but art unknown to thee; All chance, direction which thou canst not see; All discord, harmony not understood; All partial evil, universal good: And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, One truth is clear—Whatever is, is right.
* * * * *
Order is Heaven's first law: and, this confest, Some are and must be greater than the rest, More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence That such are happier, shocks all common-sense. Heaven to mankind impartial we confess, If all are equal in their happiness: But mutual wants this happiness increase; All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace. Condition, circumstance, is not the thing: Bliss is the same in subject or in king, In who obtain defence or who defend, In him who is or him who finds a friend; Heaven breathes through every member of the whole One common blessing, as one common soul.
* * * * *
LIGHT SHINING OUT OF DARKNESS.
God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful, fresh courage take! The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense. But trust Him for His grace: Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste. But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan His work in vain: God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain.
* * * * *
O thou eternal One! whose presence bright All space doth occupy, all motion guide. Unchanged through time's all-devastating flight! Thou only God—there is no God beside! Being above all beings! Mighty One, Whom none can comprehend and none explore! Who fill'st existence with Thyself alone— Embracing all, supporting, ruling o'er, Being whom we call God, and know no more!
In its sublime research, philosophy May measure out the ocean-deep—may count The sands or the sun's rays—but, God! for Thee There is no weight nor measure; none can mount Up to Thy mysteries; Reason's brightest spark, Though kindled by Thy light, in vain would try To trace Thy counsels, infinite and dark; And thought is lost ere thought can soar so high, Even like past moments in eternity.
Thou from primeval nothingness didst call First chaos, then existence—Lord! in Thee Eternity had its foundation; all Sprung forth from Thee—of light, joy, harmony, Sole Origin—all life, all beauty Thine; Thy word created all, and doth create; Thy splendor fills all space with rays divine; Thou art, and wert, and shall be! Glorious! Great! Light-giving, life-sustaining potentate!
Thy chains the unmeasured universe surround— Upheld by Thee, by Thee inspired with breath! Thou the beginning with the end hast bound, And beautifully mingled life and death! As sparks mount upwards from the fiery blaze; So suns are born, so worlds spring forth from Thee; And as the spangles in the sunny rays Shine round the silver snow, the pageantry Of heaven's bright army glitters in Thy praise.
A million torches lighted by Thy hand Wander unwearied through the blue abyss— They own Thy power, accomplish Thy command, All gay with life, all eloquent with bliss. What shall we call them? Piles of crystal light— A glorious company of golden streams— Lamps of celestial ether burning bright— Suns lighting systems with their joyous beams? But Thou to these art as the noon to night.
Yes! as a drop of water in the sea, All this magnificence in Thee is lost:— What are ten thousand worlds compared to Thee? And what am I then?—Heaven's unnumbered host, Though multiplied by myriads, and arrayed In all the glory of sublimest thought, Is but an atom in the balance, weighed Against Thy greatness—is a cipher brought Against infinity! What am I then? Naught!
Naught! But the effluence of Thy light divine, Pervading worlds, hath reached my bosom too; Yes! in my spirit doth Thy spirit shine, As shines the sunbeam in a drop of dew. Naught! but I live, and on hope's pinions fly Eager towards Thy presence—for in Thee I live, and breathe, and dwell, aspiring high, Even to the throne of Thy divinity; I am, O God! and surely Thou must be!
Thou art!—directing, guiding all—Thou art! Direct my understanding then to Thee; Control my spirit, guide my wandering heart; Though but an atom midst immensity, Still I am something fashioned by Thy hand! I hold a middle rank 'twixt heaven and earth— On the last verge of mortal being stand, Close to the realms where angels have their birth, Just on the boundaries of the spirit land!
The chain of being is complete in me— In me is matter's last gradation lost, And the next step is spirit—Deity! I can command the lightning and am dust! A monarch and a slave—a worm, a god! Whence came I here, and how? so marvellously Constructed and conceived? unknown! this clod Lives surely through some higher energy; For from itself alone it could not be!
Creator, yes! Thy wisdom and Thy word Created me! Thou source of life and good! Thou spirit of my spirit, and my Lord! Thy light, Thy love, in their bright plenitude Filled me with an immortal soul, to spring Over the abyss of death; and bade it wear The garments of eternal day, and wing Its heavenly flight beyond this little sphere, Even to its source, to Thee, its author there.
Oh thoughts ineffable! oh visions blest! Though worthless our conceptions all of Thee. Yet shall Thy shadowed image fill our breast, And waft its homage to Thy deity. God! thus alone my lowly thoughts can soar, Thus seek Thy presence—Being wise and good! Midst Thy vast works admire, obey, adore; And when the tongue is eloquent no more, The soul shall speak in tears of gratitude.
From the Russian of GAVRIIL ROMANOVITCH DERSHAVIN.
Translation of SIR JOHN BOWRING.
* * * * *
GOD IS EVERYWHERE.
A trodden daisy, from the sward, With tearful eye I took, And on its ruined glories I, With moving heart, did look; For, crushed and broken though it was, That little flower was fair; And oh! I loved the dying bud, For God was there!
I stood upon the sea-beat shore, The waves came rushing on; The tempest raged in giant wrath, The light of day was gone. The sailor from his drowning bark Sent up his dying prayer; I looked amid the ruthless storm, And God was there!
I sought a lonely, woody dell, Where all things soft and sweet, Birds, flowers, and trees, and running streams, Mid bright sunshine did meet: I stood beneath an old oak's shade, And summer round was fair; I gazed upon the peaceful scene, And God was there!
I saw a home—a happy home— Upon a bridal day, And youthful hearts were blithesome there, And aged hearts were gay: I sat amid the smiling band Where all so blissful were— Among the bridal maidens sweet— And God was there!
I stood beside an infant's couch, When light had left its eye— I saw the mother's bitter tears, I heard her woful cry— I saw her kiss its fair pale face, And smooth its yellow hair; And oh, I loved the mourner's home, For God was there!
I sought a cheerless wilderness— A desert, pathless wild— Where verdure grew not by the streams, Where beauty never smiled; Where desolation brooded o'er A muirland lone and bare, And awe upon my spirit crept, For God was there!
I looked upon the lowly flower, And on each blade of grass; Upon the forests, wide and deep, I saw the tempests pass: I gazed on all created things In earth, in sea, and air; Then bent the knee—for God, in love, Was everywhere!
* * * * *
ROCKED IN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP.
Rocked in the cradle of the deep I lay me down in peace to sleep; Secure I rest upon the wave, For thou, O Lord! hast power to save. I know thou wilt not slight my call, For thou dost mark the sparrow's fall; And calm and peaceful shall I sleep, Rocked in the cradle of the deep.
When in the dead of night I lie And gaze upon the trackless sky, The star-bespangled heavenly scroll, The boundless waters as they roll,— I feel thy wondrous power to save From perils of the stormy wave: Rocked in the cradle of the deep, I calmly rest and soundly sleep.
And such the trust that still were mine, Though stormy winds swept o'er the brine, Or though the tempest's fiery breath Roused me from sleep to wreck and death. In ocean cave, still safe with Thee The germ of immortality! And calm and peaceful shall I sleep, Rocked in the cradle of the deep.
EMMA HART WILLARD.
* * * * *
Good-bye, proud world, I'm going home: Thou art not my friend, and I'm not thine. Long through thy weary crowds I roam; A river-ark on the ocean brine, Long I've been tossed like the driven foam, But now, proud world, I'm going home.
Good-bye to Flattery's fawning face; To Grandeur with his wise grimace; To upstart Wealth's averted eye; To supple Office, low and high; To crowded halls, to court and street; To frozen hearts and hasting feet; To those who go, and those who come; Good-bye, proud world! I'm going home.
I'm going to my own hearth-stone, Bosomed in yon green hills alone,— A secret nook in a pleasant land, Whose groves the frolic fairies planned; Where arches green, the livelong day, Echo the blackbird's roundelay, And vulgar feet have never trod A spot that is sacred to thought and God.
O, when I am safe in my sylvan home, I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome; And when I am stretched beneath the pines, Where the evening star so holy shines, I laugh at the lore and the pride of man, At the sophist schools, and the learned clan; For what are they all in their high conceit, When man in the bush with God may meet?
RALPH WALDO EMERSON.
* * * * *
OUR GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST.
Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home,—
Under the shadow of thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; Sufficient is thine arm alone, And our defence is sure.
Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting thou art God, To endless years the same.
A thousand ages in thy sight Are like an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun.
Time like an ever-rolling stream Bears all its sons away; They fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the opening day.
Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Be thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.
* * * * *
A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD.
"EIN' FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT."
A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing; Our helper he amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing. For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, And, armed with equal hate, On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing; Were not the right man on our side, The man of God's own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he, Lord Sabaoth his name, From age to age the same, And he must win the battle.
From the German of MARTIN LUTHER.
Translation of FREDERIC HENRY HEDGE.
* * * * *
DELIGHT IN GOD.
I love, and have some cause to love, the earth,— She is my Maker's creature, therefore good; She is my mother, for she gave me birth; She is my tender nurse, she gives me food: But what's a creature, Lord, compared with thee? Or what's my mother or my nurse to me?
I love the air,—her dainty sweets refresh My drooping soul, and to new sweets invite me; Her shrill-mouthed choir sustain me with their flesh, And with their polyphonian notes delight me: But what's the air, or all the sweets that she Can bless my soul withal, compared to thee?
I love the sea,—she is my fellow-creature, My careful purveyor; she provides me store; She walls me round; she makes my diet greater; She wafts my treasure from a foreign shore: But, Lord of oceans, when compared with thee, What is the ocean or her wealth to me?
To heaven's high city I direct my journey, Whose spangled suburbs entertain mine eye; Mine eye, by contemplation's great attorney, Transcends the crystal pavement of the sky: But what is heaven, great God, compared to thee? Without thy presence, heaven's no heaven to me.
Without thy presence, earth gives no refection; Without thy presence, sea affords no treasure; Without thy presence, air's a rank infection; Without thy presence, heaven's itself no pleasure: If not possessed, if not enjoyed in thee, What's earth, or sea, or air, or heaven to me?
The highest honors that the world can boast Are subjects far too low for my desire; The brightest beams of glory are, at most, But dying sparkles of thy living fire; The loudest flames that earth can kindle be But nightly glow-worms, if compared to thee.
Without thy presence, wealth is bags of cares; Wisdom but folly; joy, disquiet—sadness; Friendship is treason, and delights are snares; Pleasures but pain, and mirth but pleasing madness; Without thee, Lord, things be not what they be, Nor have their being, when compared with thee.
In having all things, and not thee, what have I? Not having thee, what have my labors got? Let me enjoy but thee, what further crave I? And having thee alone, what have I not? I wish nor sea nor land; nor would I be Possessed of heaven, heaven unpossessed of thee!
* * * * *
THE WILL OF GOD.
I worship thee, sweet will of God! And all thy ways adore; And every day I live, I seem To love thee more and more.
Thou wert the end, the blessed rule Of our Saviour's toils and tears; Thou wert the passion of his heart Those three and thirty years.
And he hath breathed into my soul A special love of thee, A love to lose my will in his, And by that loss be free.
I love to see thee bring to naught The plans of wily men; When simple hearts outwit the wise, Oh, thou art loveliest then.
The headstrong world it presses hard Upon the church full oft, And then how easily thou turn'st The hard ways into soft.
I love to kiss each print where thou Hast set thine unseen feet; I cannot fear thee, blessed will! Thine empire is so sweet.
When obstacles and trials seem Like prison walls to be, I do the little I can do, And leave the rest to thee.
I know not what it is to doubt, My heart is ever gay; I run no risk, for, come what will, Thou always hast thy way.
I have no cares, O blessed will! For all my cares are thine: I live in triumph, Lord! for thou Hast made thy triumphs mine.
And when it seems no chance or change From grief can set me free, Hope finds its strength in helplessness, And gayly waits on thee.
Man's weakness, waiting upon God, Its end can never miss, For men on earth no work can do More angel-like than this.
Ride on, ride on, triumphantly, Thou glorious will, ride on! Faith's pilgrim sons behind thee take The road that thou hast gone.
He always wins who sides with God, To him no chance is lost; God's will is sweetest to him, when It triumphs at his cost.
Ill that he blesses is our good, And unblessed good is ill; And all is right that seems most wrong. If it be his sweet will.
FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER.
* * * * *
Whichever way the wind doth blow, Some heart is glad to have it so; Then blow it east or blow it west, The wind that blows, that wind is best.
My little craft sails not alone: A thousand fleets from every zone Are out upon a thousand seas; And what for me were favoring breeze Might dash another, with the shock Of doom, upon some hidden rock.
And so I do not dare to pray For winds to waft me on my way, But leave it to a Higher Will To stay or speed me; trusting still That all is well, and sure that He Who launched my bark will sail with me Through storm and calm, and will not fail, Whatever breezes may prevail, To land me, every peril past, Within his sheltering heaven at last.
Then, whatsoever wind doth blow, My heart is glad to have it so; And blow it east or blow it west, The wind that blows, that wind is best.
CAROLINE ATHERTON MASON.
* * * * *
THE LOVE OF GOD.
Thou Grace Divine, encircling all, A soundless, shoreless sea! Wherein at last our souls must fall, O Love of God most free!
When over dizzy heights we go, One soft hand blinds our eyes, The other leads us, safe and slow, O Love of God most wise!
And though we turn us from thy face, And wander wide and long, Thou hold'st us still in thine embrace, O Love of God most strong!
The saddened heart, the restless soul, The toil-worn frame and mind, Alike confess thy sweet control, O Love of God most kind!
But not alone thy care we claim, Our wayward steps to win; We know thee by a dearer name, O Love of God within!
And, filled and quickened by thy breath, Our souls are strong and free To rise o'er sin and fear and death, O Love of God, to thee!
* * * * *
PRAISE TO GOD.
Praise to God, immortal praise, For the love that crowns our days— Bounteous source of every joy, Let Thy praise our tongues employ!
For the blessings of the field, For the stores the gardens yield, For the vine's exalted juice, For the generous olive's use;
Flocks that, whiten all the plain, Yellow sheaves of ripened grain, Clouds that drop their fattening dews, Suns that temperate warmth diffuse—
All that Spring, with bounteous hand, Scatters o'er the smiling land; All that liberal Autumn pours From her rich o'erflowing stores:
These to Thee, my God, we owe— Source whence all our blessings flow! And for these my soul shall raise Grateful vows and solemn praise.
Yet should rising whirlwinds tear From its stem the ripening ear— Should the fig-tree's blasted shoot Drop her green untimely fruit—
Should the vine put forth no more, Nor the olive yield her store— Though the sickening flocks should fall, And the herds desert the stall—
Should Thine altered hand restrain The early and the latter rain, Blast each opening bud of joy, And the rising year destroy;
Yet to Thee my soul should raise Grateful vows and solemn praise, And when every blessing's flown, Love Thee—for Thyself alone.
ANNA LAETITIA BARBAULD.
* * * * *
LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT.
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home,— Lead thou me on! Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene,—one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou Shouldst lead me on: I loved to choose and see my path, but now Lead thou me on! I loved the garish days, and, spite of fears, Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still Will lead me on; O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till The night is gone; And with the morn those angel faces smile Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN.
* * * * *
THE ETERNAL GOODNESS.
O friends! with whom my feet have trod The quiet aisles of prayer, Glad witness to your zeal for God And love of man I bear.
I trace your lines of argument; Your logic linked and strong I weigh as one who dreads dissent, And fears a doubt as wrong.
But still my human hands are weak To hold your iron creeds: Against the words ye bid me speak My heart within me pleads.
Who fathoms the Eternal Thought? Who talks of scheme and plan? The Lord is God! He needeth not The poor device of man.
I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground Ye tread with boldness shod; I dare not fix with mete and bound The love and power of God.
Ye praise His justice; even such His pitying love I deem: Ye seek a king; I fain would touch The robe that hath no seam.
Ye see the curse which overbroods A world of pain and loss: I hear our Lord's beatitudes And prayer upon the cross.
More than your schoolmen teach, within Myself, alas! I know: Too dark ye cannot paint the sin, Too small the merit show.
I bow my forehead to the dust, I veil mine eyes for shame, And urge, in trembling self-distrust, A prayer without a claim.
I see the wrong that round me lies, I feel the guilt within; I hear, with groan and travail-cries, The world confess its sin.
Yet, in the maddening maze of things, And tossed by storm and flood, To one fixed trust my spirit clings; I know that God is good!
Not mine to look where cherubim And seraphs may not see, But nothing can be good in Him Which evil is in me.
The wrong that pains my soul below I dare not throne above, I know not of His hate,—I know His goodness and His love.
I dimly guess from blessings known Of greater out of sight, And, with the chastened Psalmist, own His judgments too are right.
I long for household voices gone, For vanished smiles I long, But God hath led my dear ones on, And He can do no wrong.
I know not what the future hath Of marvel or surprise. Assured alone that life and death His mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak To bear an untried pain, The bruised reed He will not break, But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have. Nor works my faith to prove; I can but give the gifts He gave, And plead His love for love.
And so beside the Silent Sea I wait the muffled oar; No harm from Him can come to me On ocean or on shore.
I know not where His islands lift Their fronded palms in air; I only know I cannot drift Beyond His love and care.
O brothers! if my faith is vain, If hopes like these betray, Pray for me that my feet may gain The sure and safer way.
And Thou, O Lord! by whom are seen Thy creatures as they be, Forgive me if too close I lean My human heart on Thee!
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
* * * * *
STRONG SON OF GOD, IMMORTAL LOVE.
FROM "IN MEMORIAM," INTRODUCTION.
Strong Son of God, immortal Love, Whom we, that have not seen thy face, By faith, and faith alone, embrace, Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade; Thou madest Life in man and brute; Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot Is on the skull which thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust: Thou madest man, he knows not why; He thinks he was not made to die; And thou hast made him: thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine, The highest, holiest manhood, thou: Our wills are ours, we know not how; Our wills are ours, to make them thine.
Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be: They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith: we cannot know; For knowledge is of things we see; And yet we trust it comes from thee, A beam in darkness: let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell; That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before,
But vaster. We are fools and slight; We mock thee when we do not fear: But help thy foolish ones to bear; Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.
Forgive what seemed my sin in me; What seemed my worth since I began; For merit lives from man to man, And not from man, O Lord, to thee.
Forgive my grief for one removed, Thy creature, whom I found so fair. I trust he lives in thee, and there I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries, Confusions of a wasted youth; Forgive them where they fail in truth, And in thy wisdom make me wise.
ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON.
* * * * *
O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM.
O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by; Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee to-night.
For Christ is born of Mary, And, gathered all above. While mortals sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wondering love. O morning stars, together Proclaim the holy birth! And praises sing to God the King, And peace to men on earth.
How silently, how silently, The wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heaven. No ear may hear His coming, But in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him still, The dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in, Be born in us to-day. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell; Oh come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel!
* * * * *
THE ANGELS' SONG.
It came upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth To touch their harps of gold: "Peace to the earth, good-will to men From heaven's all-gracious King!" The world in solemn stillness lay To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come, With peaceful wings unfurled; And still their heavenly music floats O'er all the weary world: Above its sad and lowly plains They bend on heavenly wing, And ever o'er its Babel sounds The blessed angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife The world has suffered long; Beneath the angel-strain have rolled Two thousand years of wrong; And man, at war with man, hears not The love-song which they bring: O, hush the noise, ye men of strife, And hear the angels sing!
And ye, beneath life's crushing load Whose forms are bending low; Who toil along the climbing way With painful steps and slow,— Look now! for glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing; O, rest beside the weary road, And hear the angels sing.
For lo! the days are hastening on, By prophet-bards foretold, When with the ever-circling years Comes round the age of gold; When Peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world send back the song Which now the angels sing.
EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS.
* * * * *
"We have seen his star in the east." —MATTHEW ii. 2.
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning, Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid; Star of the East, the horizon adorning, Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
Cold on his cradle the dew-drops are shining, Low lies his head with the beasts of the stall; Angels adore him in slumber reclining, Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.
Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion, Odors of Edom, and offerings divine? Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean, Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?
Vainly we offer each ample oblation, Vainly with gifts would his favor secure; Richer by far is the heart's adoration, Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning, Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid: Star of the East, the horizon adorning, Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
* * * * *
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
This is the month, and this the happy morn, Wherein the Son of heaven's eternal king, Of wedded maid and virgin mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring— For so the holy sages once did sing— That He our deadly forfeit should release, And with His Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious form, that light unsufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of majesty Wherewith He wont at heaven's high council-table To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside; and here with us to be, Forsook the courts of everlasting day, And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.
Say, heavenly muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the infant God? Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, To welcome Him to this His new abode— Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod, Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?
See how from far upon the eastern road The star-led wizards haste with odors sweet! Oh! run, prevent them with thy humble ode, And lay it lowly at His blessed feet; Have thou the honor first thy Lord to greet, And join thy voice unto the angel choir, From out His secret altar touched with hallowed fire.
It was the winter wild While the heaven-born child All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies— Nature, in awe to Him, Had doffed her gaudy trim, With her great Master so to sympathize; It was no season then for her To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.
Only with speeches fair She woos the gentle air To hide her guilty front with innocent snow, And on her naked shame. Pollute with sinful blame, The saintly veil of maiden white to throw— Confounded that her maker's eyes Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
But He, her fears to cease, Sent down the meek-eyed Peace; She, crowned with olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere, His ready harbinger, With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.
Nor war, or battle's sound, Was heard the world around— The idle spear and shield were high up hung; The hooked chariot stood Unstained with hostile blood; The trumpet spake not to the armed throng; And kings sat still with awful eye, As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.
But peaceful was the night Wherein the prince of light His reign of peace upon the earth began; The winds, with wonder whist, Smoothly the waters kissed, Whispering new joys to the mild ocean, Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
The stars with deep amaze Stand fixed in steadfast gaze, Bending one way their precious influence; And will not take their flight For all the morning light, Or Lucifer that often warned them thence; But in their glimmering orbs did glow Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.
And though the shady gloom Had given day her room, The sun himself withheld his wonted speed, And hid his head for shame, As his inferior flame The new-enlightened world no more should need; He saw a greater sun appear Than his bright throne or burning axle-tree could bear.
The shepherds on the lawn, Or e'er the point of dawn, Sat simply chatting in a rustic row; Full little thought they then That the mighty Pan Was kindly come to live with them below; Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.
When such music sweet Their hearts and ears did greet As never was by mortal finger strook— Divinely-warbled voice Answering the stringed noise, As all their souls in blissful rapture took; The air, such pleasure loath to lose, With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close.
Nature, that heard such sound Beneath the hollow round Of Cynthia's seat the airy region thrilling, Now was almost won To think her part was done. And that her reign had here its last fulfilling; She knew such harmony alone Could hold all heaven and earth in happier union.
At last surrounds their sight A globe of circular light, That with long beams the shamefaced night arrayed; The helmed cherubim And sworded seraphim Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displayed, Harping in loud and solemn choir, With unexpressive notes, to heaven's new-born heir—
Such music as ('tis said) Before was never made, But when of old the sons of morning sung, While the Creator great His constellations set, And the well-balanced world on hinges hung, And cast the dark foundations deep, And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
Ring out, ye crystal spheres! Once bless our human ears, If ye have power to touch our senses so; And let your silver chime Move in melodious time, And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow; And with your ninefold harmony Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.
For if such holy song Inwrap our fancy long, Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold; And speckled vanity Will sicken soon and die, And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould; And hell itself will pass away. And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.
Yea, truth and justice then Will down return to men, Orbed in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, Mercy will sit between, Throned in celestial sheen, With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering; And heaven, as at some festival, Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.
But wisest fate says No— This must not yet be so; The babe yet lies in smiling infancy That on the bitter cross Must redeem our loss. So both Himself and us to glorify. Yet first to those ye chained in sleep The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,
With such a horrid clang As on Mount Sinai rang, While the red fire and smould'ring clouds out-brake; The aged earth, aghast With terror of that blast, Shall from the surface to the centre shake— When, at the world's last session, The dreadful judge in middle air shall spread his throne.
And then at last our bliss Full and perfect is— But now begins: for from this happy day The old dragon, under ground In straiter limits bound, Not half so far casts his usurped sway, And, wroth to see his kingdom fail, Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.
The oracles are dumb: No voice or hideous hum Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving; Apollo from his shrine Can no more divine, With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving; No nightly trance, or breathed spell, Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.
The lonely mountains o'er, And the resounding shore, A voice of weeping heard and loud lament; From haunted spring, and dale Edged with poplar pale, The parting genius is with sighing sent; With flower-inwoven tresses torn The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
In consecrated earth, And on the holy hearth, The lares and lemures moan with midnight plaint; In urns and altars round A drear and dying sound Affrights the flamens at their service quaint; And the chill marble seems to sweat, While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.
Peor and Baaelim Forsake their temples dim, With that twice-battered god of Palestine; And mooned Ashtaroth, Heaven's queen and mother both. Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn— In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.
And sullen Moloch fled, Hath left in shadows dread His burning idol all of blackest hue; In vain, with cymbal's ring, They call the grisly king, In dismal dance about the furnace blue; The brutish gods of Nile as fast— Isis and Orus, and the dog Anubis—haste.
Nor is Osiris seen In Memphian grove or green, Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings loud, Nor can he be at rest Within his sacred chest— Naught but profoundest hell can be his shroud; In vain, with timbrelled anthems dark. The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipped ark.
He feels from Juda's land The dreaded infant's hand— The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyne; Nor all the gods beside Longer dare abide— Not Typhon huge, ending in snaky twine; Our babe, to show His God-head true, Can in His swaddling-bands control the damned crew.
So, when the sun in bed, Curtained with cloudy red, Pillows his chin upon an orient wave, The flocking shadows pale Troop to the infernal jail— Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave; And the yellow-skirted fays Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.
But see the virgin blest Hath laid her babe to rest— Time is our tedious song should here have ending; Heaven's youngest teemed star Hath fixed her polished car, Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending; And all about the courtly stable Bright-harnessed angels sit in order serviceable.
* * * * *
A CHRISTMAS HYMN.
It was the calm and silent night! Seven hundred years and fifty-three Had Rome been growing up to might, And now was queen of land and sea. No sound was heard of clashing wars; Peace brooded o'er the hushed domain: Apollo, Pallas, Jove, and Mars Held undisturbed their ancient reign, In the solemn midnight, Centuries ago.
'Twas in the calm and silent night! The senator of haughty Rome, Impatient, urged his chariot's flight, From lordly revel rolling home; Triumphal arches, gleaming, swell His breast with thoughts of boundless sway; What recked the Roman what befell A paltry province far away, In the solemn midnight, Centuries ago?
Within that province far away Went plodding home a weary boor; A streak of light before him lay, Fallen through a half-shut stable-door Across his path. He passed—for naught Told what was going on within; How keen the stars, his only thought; The air how calm and cold and thin, In the solemn midnight, Centuries ago!
Oh, strange indifference! low and high Drowsed over common joys and cares; The earth was still—but knew not why; The world was listening, unawares. How calm a moment may precede One that shall thrill the world forever! To that still moment none would heed, Man's doom was linked no more to sever— In the solemn midnight, Centuries ago!
It is the calm and solemn night! A thousand bells ring out, and throw Their joyous peals abroad, and smite The darkness—charmed and holy now! The night that erst no name had worn, To it a happy name is given; For in that stable lay new-born, The peaceful Prince of Earth and Heaven, In the solemn midnight, Centuries ago!
* * * * *
The Ox he openeth wide the Doore And from the Snowe he calls her inne, And he hath seen her smile therefore, Our Ladye without Sinne. Now soone from Sleepe A Starre shall leap, And soone arrive both King and Hinde; Amen, Amen: But oh, the place co'd I but finde!
The Ox hath husht his voyce and bent Trewe eyes of Pitty ore the Mow, And on his lovelie Neck, forspent, The Blessed lays her Browe. Around her feet Full Warme and Sweete His bowerie Breath doth meeklie dwell; Amen, Amen: But sore am I with Vaine Travel!
The Ox is host in Juda's stall, And Host of more than onelie one. For close she gathereth withal Our Lorde her littel Sonne. Glad Hinde and King Their Gyfte may bring, But wo'd to-night my Teares were there, Amen, Amen: Between her Bosom and His hayre!
LOUISE IMOGEN GUINEY.
* * * * *
THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.
There's a legend that's told of a gypsy who dwelt In the lands where the pyramids be; And her robe was embroidered with stars, and her belt With devices right wondrous to see; And she lived in the days when our Lord was a child On his mother's immaculate breast; When he fled from his foes,—when to Egypt exiled, He went down with Saint Joseph the blest.
This Egyptian held converse with magic, methinks, And the future was given to her gaze; For an obelisk marked her abode, and a sphinx On her threshold kept vigil always. She was pensive and ever alone, nor was seen In the haunts of the dissolute crowd; But communed with the ghosts of the Pharaohs, I ween, Or with visitors wrapped in a shroud.
And there came an old man from the desert one day, With a maid on a mule by that road; And a child on her bosom reclined, and the way Let them straight to the gypsy's abode; And they seemed to have travelled a wearisome path, From thence many, many a league,— From a tyrant's pursuit, from an enemy's wrath, Spent with toil and o'ercome with fatigue.
And the gypsy came forth from her dwelling, and prayed That the pilgrims would rest them awhile; And she offered her couch to that delicate maid, Who had come many, many a mile. And she fondled the babe with affection's caress, And she begged the old man would repose; "Here the stranger," she said, "ever finds free access, And the wanderer balm for his woes."
Then her guests from the glare of the noonday she led To a seat in her grotto so cool; Where she spread them a banquet of fruits, and a shed, With a manger, was found for the mule; With the wine of the palm-tree, with dates newly culled, All the toil of the day she beguiled; And with song in a language mysterious she lulled On her bosom the wayfaring child.
When the gypsy anon in her Ethiop hand Took the infant's diminutive palm, O, 'twas fearful to see how the features she scanned Of the babe in his slumbers so calm! Well she noted each mark and each furrow that crossed O'er the tracings of destiny's line: "WHENCE CAME YE?" she cried, in astonishment lost, "FOR THIS CHILD IS OF LINEAGE DIVINE!"
"From the village of Nazareth," Joseph replied, "Where we dwelt in the land of the Jew, We have fled from a tyrant whose garment is dyed In the gore of the children he slew: We were told to remain till an angel's command Should appoint us the hour to return; But till then we inhabit the foreigners' land, And in Egypt we make our sojourn."
"Then ye tarry with me," cried the gypsy in joy, "And ye make of my dwelling your home; Many years have I prayed that the Israelite boy (Blessed hope of the Gentiles!) would come." And she kissed both the feet of the infant and knelt, And adored him at once; then a smile Lit the face of his mother, who cheerfully dwelt With her host on the bank of the Nile.
FRANCIS MAHONY (Father Prout).
* * * * *
Dear Friend! whose presence in the house, Whose gracious word benign, Could once, at Cana's wedding feast, Change water into wine;
Come, visit us! and when dull work Grows weary, line on line, Revive our souls, and let us see Life's water turned to wine.
Gay mirth shall deepen into joy, Earth's hopes grow half divine, When Jesus visits us, to make Life's water glow as wine.
The social talk, the evening fire, The homely household shrine, Grow bright with angel visits, when The Lord pours out the wine.
For when self-seeking turns to love, Not knowing mine nor thine, The miracle again is wrought, And water turned to wine. JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE.
* * * * *
THE LOST SHEEP.
("THE NINETY AND NINE.")
There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of the fold; But one was out on the hills away, Far off from the gates of gold, Away on the mountain wild and bare, Away from the tender Shepherd's care.
"Lord, thou hast here thy ninety and nine: Are they not enough for thee?" But the Shepherd made answer: "'T is of mine Has wandered away from me; And although the road be rough and steep I go to the desert to find my sheep."
But none of the ransomed ever knew How deep were the waters crossed, Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through Ere he found his sheep that was lost. Out in the desert he heard its cry— Sick and helpless, and ready to die.
"Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way, That mark out the mountain track?" "They were shed for one who had gone astray Ere the Shepherd could bring him back." "Lord, whence are thy hands so rent and torn?" "They are pierced to-night by many a thorn."
But all through the mountains, thunder-riven, And up from the rocky steep, There rose a cry to the gate of heaven, "Rejoice! I have found my sheep!" And the angels echoed around the throne, "Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!"
ELIZABETH CECILIA CLEPHANE.
* * * * *
De massa ob de sheepfol', Dat guards de sheepfol' bin, Look out in de gloomerin' meadows, Wha'r de long night rain begin— So he call to de hirelin' shepa'd, "Is my sheep, is dey all come in?" Oh den, says de hirelin' shepa'd: "Dey's some, dey's black and thin, And some, dey's po' ol' wedda's; But de res', dey's all brung in. But de res', dey's all brung in."
Den de massa ob de sheepfol', Dat guards de sheepfol' bin, Goes down in the gloomerin' meadows, Wha'r de long night rain begin— So he le' down de ba's ob de sheepfol', Callin' sof', "Come in. Come in." Callin' sof', "Come in. Come in."
Den up t'ro' de gloomerin' meadows, T'ro' de col' night rain and win', And up t'ro' de gloomerin' rain-paf', Wha'r de sleet fa' pie'cin' thin, De po' los' sheep ob de sheepfol', Dey all comes gadderin' in. De po' los' sheep ob de sheepfol', Dey all comes gadderin' in.
SARAH PRATT M'LEAN GREENE.
* * * * *
THE GOOD SHEPHERD WITH THE KID.
He saves the sheep, the goats he doth not save. So rang Tertullian's sentence, on the side Of that unpitying Phrygian Sect which cried: "Him can no fount of fresh forgiveness lave,
Who sins, once washed by the baptismal wave."— So spake the fierce Tertullian. But she sighed, The infant Church! of love she felt the tide Stream on her from her Lord's yet recent grave.