[The ringing of bells, and choral voices.]
Christ is arisen!
Mortal, all hail to thee,
Thou whom mortality,
Earth’s sad reality,
Held as in prison.
What hum melodious, what clear silvery chime,
Thus draws the goblet from my lips away?
Ye deep-ton’d bells, do ye, with voice sublime,
Announce the solemn dawn of Easter-day?
Sweet choir! are ye the hymn of comfort singing,
Which once around the darkness of the grave,
From seraph-voices, in glad triumph ringing,
Of a new covenant assurance gave?
We, his true-hearted,
With spices and myrrh.
Embalmed the departed,
And swathed Him with care;
Here we conveyed Him,
Our Master, so dear;
Alas! Where we laid Him,
The Christ is not here.
Christ is arisen!
Blessed the loving one,
Who from earth’s trial-throes,
Healing and strengthening woes,
Soars as from prison.
Wherefore, ye tones celestial, sweet and strong,
Come ye a dweller in the dust to seek?
Ring out your chimes believing crowds among,
The message well I hear, my faith alone is weak;
From faith her darling, miracle, hath sprung.
Aloft to yonder spheres I dare not soar,
Whence sound the tidings of great joy;
And yet, with this sweet strain familiar when a boy,
Back it recalleth me to life once more.
Then would celestial love, with holy kiss,
Come o’er me in the Sabbath’s stilly hour,
While, fraught with solemn meaning and mysterious power,
Chim’d the deep-sounding bell, and prayer was bliss;
A yearning impulse, undefin’d yet dear,
Drove me to wander on through wood and field;
With heaving breast and many a burning tear,
I felt with holy joy a world reveal’d.
Gay sports and festive hours proclaim’d with joyous pealing
This Easter hymn in days of old;
And fond remembrance now doth me, with childlike feeling,
Back from the last, the solemn step, withhold.
O still sound on, thou sweet celestial strain!
The tear-drop flows—Earth, I am thine again!
He whom we mourned as dead,
Living and glorious,
From the dark grave hath fled,
O’er death victorious;
Almost creative bliss
Waits on His growing powers;
Ah! Him on earth we miss;
Sorrow and grief are ours.
Yearning He left His own,
Mid sore annoy;
Ah! we must needs bemoan,
Master, thy joy!