For oft, when summer leaves were bright,
And every flower was bathed in light,
In sunshine moments past,
My wilful heart would burst away
From where the holy shadow lay,
Where heaven my lot had cast.
I thought it scorn with Thee to dwell,
A Hermit in a silent cell,
While, gaily sweeping by,
Wild Fancy blew his bugle strain,
And marshalled all his gallant train
In the world’s wondering eye.
I would have joined him—but as oft
Thy whispered warnings, kind and soft,
My better soul confessed.
“My servant, let the world alone —
Safe on the steps of Jesus’ throne
Be tranquil and be blest.”
“Seems it to thee a niggard hand
That nearest Heaven has bade thee stand,
The ark to touch and bear,
With incense of pure heart’s desire
To heap the censer’s sacred fire,
The snow-white Ephod wear?”
Why should we crave the worldling’s wreath,
On whom the Savour deigned to breathe,
To whom His keys were given,
Who lead the choir where angels meet,
With angels’ food our brethren greet,
And pour the drink of Heaven?
When sorrow all our heart would ask,
We need not shun our daily task,
And hide ourselves for calm;
The herbs we seek to heal our woe
Familiar by our pathway grow,
Our common air is balm.
Around each pure domestic shrine
Bright flowers of Eden bloom and twine,
Our hearths are altars all;
The prayers of hungry souls and poor,
Like armed angels at the door,
Our unseen foes appal.
Alms all around and hymns within —
What evil eye can entrance win
Where guards like these abound?
If chance some heedless heart should roam,
Sure, thought of these will lure it home
Ere lost in Folly’s round.
O joys, that sweetest in decay,
Fall not, like withered leaves, away,
But with the silent breath
Of violets drooping one by one,
Soon as their fragrant task is done,
Are wafted high in death!
He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh; there shall come a Star out at Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children at Sheth. Numbers xxiv. 16, 17.
O for a sculptor’s hand,
That thou might’st take thy stand,
Thy wild hair floating on the eastern breeze,
Thy tranced yet open gaze
Fixed on the desert haze,
As one who deep in heaven some airy pageant sees.
In outline dim and vast
Their fearful shadows cast
This giant forms of empires on their way
To ruin: one by one
They tower and they are gone,
Yet in the Prophet’s soul the dreams of avarice stay.