Bask not in courtly bower,
Or sun-bright hall of power,
Pass Babel quick, and seek the holy land —
From robes of Tyrian dye
Turn with undazzled eye
To Bethlehem’s glade, or Carmel’s haunted strand.
Or choose thee out a cell
In Kedron’s storied dell,
Beside the springs of Love, that never die;
Among the olives kneel
The chill night-blast to feel,
And watch the Moon that saw thy Master’s agony.
Then rise at dawn of day,
And wind thy thoughtful way,
Where rested once the Temple’s stately shade,
With due feet tracing round
The city’s northern bound,
To th’ other holy garden, where the Lord was laid.
Who thus alternate see
His death and victory,
Rising and falling as on angel wings,
They, while they seem to roam,
Draw daily nearer home,
Their heart untravell’d still adores the King of kings.
Or, if at home they stay,
Yet are they, day by day,
In spirit journeying through the glorious land,
Not for light Fancy’s reed,
Nor Honour’s purple meed,
Nor gifted Prophet’s lore, nor Science’ wondrous wand.
But more than Prophet, more
Than Angels can adore
With face unveiled, is He they go to seek:
Blessed be God, Whose grace
Shows Him in every place
To homeliest hearts of pilgrims pure and meek.
FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT
The eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. Isaiah xxxii. 3
Of the bright things in earth and air
How little can the heart embrace!
Soft shades and gleaming lights are there —
I know it well, but cannot trace.
Mine eye unworthy seems to read
One page of Nature’s beauteous book;
It lies before me, fair outspread —
I only cast a wishful look.
I cannot paint to Memory’s eye
The scene, the glance, I dearest love —
Unchanged themselves, in me they die,
Or faint or false their shadows prove.
In vain, with dull and tuneless ear,
I linger by soft Music’s cell,
And in my heart of hearts would hear
What to her own she deigns to tell.
’Tis misty all, both sight and sound —
I only know ’tis fair and sweet —
’Tis wandering on enchanted ground
With dizzy brow and tottering feet.
But patience! there may come a time
When these dull ears shall scan aright
Strains that outring Earth’s drowsy chime,
As Heaven outshines the taper’s light.
These eyes, that dazzled now and weak,
At glancing motes in sunshine wink.
Shall see the Kings full glory break,
Nor from the blissful vision shrink:
In fearless love and hope uncloyed
For ever on that ocean bright
Empowered to gaze; and undestroyed,
Deeper and deeper plunge in light.