’All precious souls are there
Most safe, elect by grace,
All tears are wiped for ever from their face:
Untired in prayer 30
They wait and praise
Hidden for a little space.
’Boughs of the Living Vine
They spread in summer shine
Green leaf with leaf:
Sap of the Royal Vine it stirs like wine
In all both less and chief.
’Sing to the Lord,
All spirits of all flesh, sing;
For He hath not abhorred 40
Our low estate nor scorn’d our offering:
Shout to our King.’—
’But Zion said:
My Lord forgetteth me.
Lo, she hath made her bed
In dust; forsaken weepeth she
Where alien rivers swell the sea.
’She laid her body as the ground,
Her tender body as the ground to those
Who passed; her harpstrings cannot sound 50
In a strange land; discrowned
She sits, and drunk with woes.’—
’O drunken not with wine,
Whose sins and sorrows have fulfilled the sum,—
Be not afraid, arise, be no more dumb;
For thy light is come.’—
’Can these bones live?’—
The prophet saw such clothed with flesh and skin;
A wind blew on them and life entered in; 60
They shook and rose.
Hasten the time, O Lord, blot out their sin,
Let life begin.’
The sweetest blossoms die.
And so it was that, going day by day
Unto the church to praise and pray,
And crossing the green churchyard thoughtfully,
I saw how on the graves the flowers
Shed their fresh leaves in showers,
And how their perfume rose up to the sky
Before it passed away.
The youngest blossoms die.
They die, and fall and nourish the rich earth 10
From which they lately had their birth;
Sweet life, but sweeter death that passeth by
And is as though it had not been:—
All colors turn to green:
The bright hues vanish, and the odours fly,
The grass hath lasting worth.
And youth and beauty die.
So be it, O my God, Thou God of truth:
Better than beauty and than youth
Are Saints and Angels, a glad company; 20
And Thou, O lord, our Rest and Ease,
Are better far than these.
Why should we shrink from our full harvest? why
Prefer to glean with Ruth?
I watched a rosebud very long
Brought on by dew and sun and shower,
Waiting to see the perfect flower:
Then, when I thought it should be strong,
It opened at the matin hour
And fell at evensong.