The old dispensation.
O thou, who, high in heaven,
To man hast given
This clouded earthly life
All storm and strife,
Blasted with ice and fire,
Love and desire,
Filled with dead faith, and love
That change is master of—
O Thou, who mightest have given
To all Thy heaven,
But who, instead, didst give
This life we live—
Who feedest with blood and tears
The hungry years—
I make one prayer to Thee,
O Great God! grant it me.
Some day when summer shows
Her leaf, her rose,
God, let Thy sinner lie
Under Thy sky,
And feel Thy sun’s large grace
Upon his face;
Then grant him this, that he
May not believe in Thee!
The new dispensation.
Out in the sun the buttercups are gold,
The daisies silver all the grassy lane,
And spring has given love a flower to hold,
And love lays blindness on the eyes of pain.
Within are still, chill aisles and blazoned panes
And carven tombs where memory weeps no more.
And from the lost and holy days remains
One saint beside the long-closed western door.
Outside the world goes laughing lest it weep,
With here and there some happy child at play;
A mother worshipping the babe asleep,
Or two young lovers dreaming ’neath the May.
Within, the soul of love broods o’er the place;
The carven saint forgotten many a year
Still lifts to heaven his rapt adoring face
To pray, for those who leave him lonely here,
That once again the silent church may ring
With songs of joy triumphant over pain—
Ah! God, who makest the miracle of spring
Make Thou dead faith and love to rise again.
The three kings.
When the star in the East was lit to shine
The three kings journeyed to Palestine;
They came from the uttermost parts of earth
With long trains laden with gifts of worth.
The first king rode on a camel’s back,
He came from the land where the kings are black,
Bringing treasures desired of kings,
Rubies and ivory and precious things.
An elephant carried the second king,
He came from the land of the sun-rising,
And gems and gold and spices he bare
With broidered raiment for kings to wear.
The third king came without steed or train
From the misty land where the white kings reign.
He bore no gifts save the myrrh in his hand,
For he came on foot from a far-off land.
Now when they had travelled a-many days
Through tangled forests and desert ways,
By angry seas and by paths thorn-set
On Christmas Vigil the three kings met.
And over their meeting a shrouded sky
Made dark the star they had travelled by.
Then the first king spake and he frowned and said:
“By some ill spell have our feet been led,