Clear-windowed temple of the God of grace,
From the loud wind to me a hiding-place!
Thee gird broad lands with genial motions rife,
But in thee dwells, high-throned, the Life of life
Thy test no stagnant moat half-filled with mud,
But living waters witnessing in flood!
Thy priestess, beauty-clad, and gospel-shod,
A fellow laborer in the earth with God!
Good will art thou, and goodness all thy arts—
Doves to their windows, and to thee fly hearts!
Take of the corn in thy dear shelter grown,
Which else the storm had all too rudely blown;
When to a higher temple thou shalt mount,
Thy earthly gifts in heavenly friends shall count;
Let these first-fruits enter thy lofty door,
And golden lie upon thy golden floor.
Porto Fino, December, 1878.
The rector sat on the box of his carriage, driving his horses toward his church, the grand old abbey-church of Glaston. His wife was inside, and an old woman—he had stopped on the road to take her up—sat with her basket on the foot-board behind. His coachman sat beside him; he never took the reins when his master was there. Mr. Bevis drove like a gentleman, in an easy, informal, yet thoroughly business-like way. His horses were black—large, well-bred, and well-fed, but neither young nor showy, and the harness was just the least bit shabby. Indeed, the entire turnout, including his own hat and the coachman’s, offered the beholder that aspect of indifference to show, which, by the suggestion of a nodding acquaintance with poverty, gave it the right clerical air of being not of this world. Mrs. Bevis had her basket on the seat before her, containing, beneath an upper stratum of flowers, some of the first rhubarb of the season and a pound or two of fresh butter for a poor relation in the town.
The rector was a man about sixty, with keen gray eyes, a good-humored mouth, a nose whose enlargement had not of late gone in the direction of its original design, and a face more than inclining to the rubicund, suggestive of good living as well as open air. Altogether he had the look of a man who knew what he was about, and was on tolerable terms with himself, and on still better with his neighbor. The heart under his ribs was larger even than indicated by the benevolence of his countenance and the humor hovering over his mouth. Upon the countenance of his wife rested a placidity sinking almost into fatuity. Its features were rather indications than completions, but there was a consciousness of comfort about the mouth, and the eyes were alive.