O Thou whose boundless love bestows
The joy of earth, the hope of Heaven,
And whose unchartered mercy flows
O’er all the blessings Thou hast given;
Thou by whose light alone we see;
And by whose truth our souls set free
Are made imperishably strong;
Hear Thou the solemn music of our song.
Grant us the knowledge that we need
To solve the questions of the mind,
And light our candle while we read,
To keep our hearts from going blind;
Enlarge our vision to behold
The wonders Thou hast wrought of old;
Reveal thyself in every law,
And gild the towers of truth with holy awe.
Be Thou our strength if war’s wild
Shall rage around us, loud and fierce;
Confirm our souls and let our trust
Be like a shield that none can pierce;
Renew the courage that prevails,
The steady faith that never fails,
And make us stand in every fight
Firm as a fortress to defend the right.
O God, control us as Thou wilt,
And guide the labour of our hand;
Let all our work be surely built
As Thou, the architect, hast planned;
But whatso’er thy power shall make
Of these frail lives, do not forsake
Thy dwelling: let thy presence rest
For ever in the temple of our breast.
SPIRIT OF THE EVERLASTING BOY
June 11, 1910
The British bard who looked on Eton’s
Endeared by distance in the pearly gray
And soft aerial blue that ever falls
On English landscape with the dying day,
Beheld in thought his boyhood far away,
Its random raptures and its festivals
Of noisy mirth,
The brief illusion of its idle joys,
And mourned that none of these can stay
With men, whom life inexorably calls
To face the grim realities of earth.
His pensive fancy pictured there at play
From year to year the careless bands of boys,
Unconscious victims kept in golden state,
While haply they await
The dark approach of disenchanting Fate,
To hale them to the sacrifice
Of Pain and Penury and Grief and Care,
Slow-withering Age, or Failure’s swift despair.
Half-pity and half-envy dimmed the eyes
Of that old poet, gazing on the scene
Where long ago his youth had flowed serene,
And all the burden of his ode was this:
“Where ignorance is bliss,
’Tis folly to be wise.”
But not for us, O plaintive elegist,
Thine epicedial tone of sad farewell
To joy in wisdom and to thought in youth!
Our western Muse would keep her tryst
With sunrise, not with sunset, and foretell
In boyhood’s bliss the dawn of manhood’s truth.