Then full of Heaven, the mystic Dove
Hovering His gracious brow above,
To shun the voice and eye of praise,
And in the wild His trophies raise:-
With hymns of angels in His ears,
Back to His task of woe and tears,
Unmurmuring through the world to roam
With not a wish or thought at home:-
All but Himself to heal and save,
Till ripened for the cross and grave,
He to His Father gently yield
The breath that our redemption sealed:-
Then to unearthly life arise,
Yet not at once to seek the skies,
But glide awhile from saint to saint,
Lest on our lonely way we faint;
And through the cloud by glimpses show
How bright, in Heaven, the marks will glow
Of the true cross, imprinted deep
Both on the Shepherd and the sheep:-
When out of sight, in heart and prayer,
Thy chosen people still to bear,
And from behind Thy glorious veil,
Shed light that cannot change or fail:-
This is Thy pastoral course, O Lord,
Till we be saved, and Thou adored; —
Thy course and ours—but who are they
Who follow on the narrow way?
And yet of Thee from year to year
The Church’s solemn chant we hear,
As from Thy cradle to Thy throne
She swells her high heart-cheering tone.
Listen, ye pure white-robed souls,
Whom in her list she now enrolls,
And gird ye for your high emprize
By these her thrilling minstrelsies.
And wheresoe’er in earth’s wide field,
Ye lift, for Him, the red-cross shield,
Be this your song, your joy and pride —
“Our Champion went before and died.”
If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? St. John iii. 12
Creator, Saviour, strengthening Guide,
Now on Thy mercy’s ocean wide
Far out of sight we seem to glide.
Help us, each hour, with steadier eye
To search the deepening mystery,
The wonders of Thy sea and sky.
The blessed Angels look and long
To praise Thee with a worthier song,
And yet our silence does Thee wrong. —
Along the Church’s central space
The sacred weeks, with unfelt pace,
Hath borne us on from grace to grace.
As travellers on some woodland height,
When wintry suns are gleaming bright,
Lose in arched glades their tangled sight; —
By glimpses such as dreamers love
Through her grey veil the leafless grove
Shows where the distant shadows rove; —
Such trembling joy the soul o’er-awes
As nearer to Thy shrine she draws:-
And now before the choir we pause.
The door is closed—but soft and deep
Around the awful arches sweep,
Such airs as soothe a hermit’s sleep.
From each carved nook and fretted bend
Cornice and gallery seem to send
Tones that with seraphs hymns might blend.