Songs of Consolation (II)

Home Up Poems by Isa Duchess Agnes Poems: a Miscellany The Argosy (1866) Tales on the Parables Tales on The Parables Poetry Reviews Cotton Famine Round the Court Peggy Oglivie Esther West Fanny's Fortune A Heroine of Home Little Folk's History Deepdale Vicarage Miscellanea Main Index Site Search
 


 




THE CONFESSION.

St. Matthew xvi. i6.

 
'THOU art the Christ!' my lips may frame
The words — they long have known the name;
But yet unless revealed to me,
I cannot know that thou art He.

The Son of God, sent forth from Him,
Wearing no likeness faint and dim,
But such that they who long to see
The Father, still must look on thee.

Thou art God's mind in word arrayed!
Thou art God's heart in love displayed!
What must it be to realise
Thy life, thy love, thy sacrifice?

'Thou art the Christ!'   This is to feel
What flesh and blood can not reveal,
That there is none in heaven but thee,
The Lord of all, the Lord of me.

Reveal this unto me, and then
I must confess thee unto men.
And when and where thou callest me,
I must arise and follow thee.


――――♦――――

 

ALONE, YET NOT ALONE.


A SOB and a bitter cry
Came to my ear,
Alone, in the dark, my child
Awoke, and in fear;

Alone! in the dark I — I felt
All I had known
Of the soul's forsaken grief,
In my infant's moan. 

And I rose, and would have gone,
Out of the gloom
To carry my little one,
To the lighted room;

To carry him in my arms,
To make him nest
In my bosom, to see him lie
With his fears at rest.

And yet alone, in the dark,
I left him still,
And held my heart from a joy
Which might prove his ill.

When, only to hear my voice,
He pleaded sore,
'Tween me and my child I left
An open door.

It sufficed: I listened, I heard
The sobbing cease;
And alone, yet not alone,
He lay down in peace.

Leave thou, in my darkest night,
An open door
Between thee and me, my God!
I will ask no more.

When I wake, Lord!   I in the dark,
Thou in the light,
Like a child forsaken, awake,
Alone, in the night.

Father, leave open to me
The door of prayer,
And I will lie down in peace
Because thou art there.


――――♦――――

 

'OUR FATHER.'


Among the little ones,
'Our Father,' let me say,
I learn the holy childhood thus,
And am a child as they.

Among the servants, Lord,
I breathe the prayer divine,
A servant among servants, so
A servant — theirs and thine.

'Our Father,' among men —
The evil and the good —
Daily for all on thee I call,
And own their brotherhood.

Child, servant, brother, thus
Alone can I be one
With him by whom in perfectness
The Father's will was done.



――――♦――――

 

'HALLOWED BE THY NAME.'


FATHER, 'hallowed be thy name!'
    We thy holy name who bear,
We who thus thy sonship claim,
    This our first, our constant prayer.

Oh, that all thy name may know!
    And we know thy name is Love —
This the holiest name below,
    This the highest name above.

Let thy love shine forth in us,
    Be in us thy likeness shown.
And thy name be hallowed thus
    By the sons thy love doth own.


――――♦――――

 

'THY KINGDOM COME.'


Our hearts are aching with longing,
Longing mid doubt and pain,
For the coming of the Kingdom,
For Christ to rise and reign.

But the day of earth's redemption
Alas! we shall not see;
The city is filled with lying,
And with horrid cruelty.

We pray, but our faith is failing;
God's word, how shall it stand?
Would we might cry — 'Repent ye.
For the Kingdom is at hand.'

At hand! yea it is nursing
On every mother's knee,
Christ's Kingdom, earth's great future,
God's gracious time to be.

Therefore with eager longing,
'Thy Kingdom come' we pray;
By death's gate we shall enter,
O Lord, by life's may they!


――――♦――――

 

'THY WILL BE DONE.'


SWEET is the close of day,
    When all the fields are still,
Earth looks as if it list'ning lay
    For God to speak his will.

In the clear round of sky
    On one side sinks the sun,
A solemn splendour which the eye
    Scarce dares to look upon.

While, on the other hand,
    The fair moon rises clear,
Heaven's harmonies swell wave-like,
        grand,
    And flow from sphere to sphere.

'God's will is done in Heaven'
    Comes from the setting sun,
And to the rising moon is given
    A voice, 'His will is done.'

Pale Venus, fiery Mars,
    Come forth, as if by name
God called out, one by one, his stars.
    And one by one they came.

And in the midst I stand,
    Smitten with sudden awe;
These worlds go forth at God's
        command,
    His will their perfect law.

Oh, that I were as they,
    Unerring, swift to run
My course of blessing day by day—
    For so thy will is done.

Lord of my wavering will,
    As these I cannot be,
But help me freely to fulfil
    Thy purpose loving-free —

And in thy law of love
    Make all our wills as one,
That 'as it is in Heaven above,
    On Earth thy will be done.'


――――♦――――

 

'GIVE US EACH DAY OUR
DAILY BREAD.'


THE children ask for bread,
Undoubting undenied,
For freely this their daily fare
The father doth provide.

And if my daily bread,
This first and simplest need,
Each day, undoubting, I can ask,
I am a child indeed.

Nor for himself alone
Can any breathe this prayer;
We ask, and what the Father gives,
As children we must share.


――――♦――――

 

'FORGIVE US OUR
TRESPASSES.'


WHEN one hath sinned against our love,
Whom yet we love despite his sin,
We know there comes a deadly strife,
For love or wrong to win.

For still the heart that did the wrong
The love accuses and denies;
And adds to wrong the greater wrong,
The wrong that justifies.

And thus love dies; else, rising up,
Casts out the wrong that it may live;
The erring one repents, returns,
And says the word 'Forgive.'

The wrong cast out, the love hath place,
Nay, groweth greater than before;
Then only too the wrong seems great,
Because the love is more.

Lord, we have sinned against thee long,
Yet let thy great forgiveness win
Our hearts to thy divinest love,
Thy love cast out our sin.


――――♦――――

 

'LEAD US NOT INTO
TEMPTATION.'


IN its weakness full of fear,
    Often thus a child will cry,
'Not this way, my father, here
    It is dark,' or 'hard,' or 'high.'

And the father holds him fast,
    Whispers 'Well the way I know,
Till the danger all is past.
    Child, I will not let thee go,'

'Not this way.'   O Lord, we need,
    And thou dost allow the prayer.
For our weakness thus we plead,
    And our Father's tender care.

Yet our Father oft denies
    The smooth path we fain would
        choose,
Seeing that our safety lies
    In the way we would refuse.

'Lead us,' Lord, and all is well,
    Though temptations round us press
On the mount, the pinnacle,
    Or the lonely wilderness.


――――♦――――

 

'DELIVER US FROM EVIL.'


IN dark Gethsemane
The prayer is offered up —
'Father, if it be possible,
Let pass from me this cup.'

Flesh of our flesh, his heart
Anticipates its pain; —
The kiss of treachery, the flight
Of his faint-hearted train.

Alas! the stinging lash!
Alas! the crown of thorn!
Alas! the spitting of contempt
Alas! the hiss of scorn!

Alas! the welling wounds!
Alas! the blinding heat!
The world that swims in agony
Beneath his bleeding feet.

Behold a mystery!
The Father's will is done,
And through the agony must pass
The well-belov่d Son.

Ah! by that agony
The Saviour suffered thus,
That we in every ill might pray,
'Good Lord, deliver us!'

From sin the evil power
From which he died to save,
The power which bound him to
        the cross
And laid him in the grave.


――――♦――――

 

MORNING GATES.


AT the morning gates
        Praise awaits!
Morning gates that backward
            fold,
        Gates of gold.

All that hath a voice
        Doth rejoice,
Gladly passing into light
        From the night.

Birds of every wing
        Wake and sing —
Singing high amid the glow,
        Singing low.

Hills stand in the light,
        Still and bright;
They who close on glory gaze
        Meekly praise.

Valleys lowly laid,
        In the shade.
Murmur thanks for light
            renewed,
        Tear bedewed.

Flowers in every field
        Odours yield;
Thus their morning sacrifice
        Doth arise.

More than flowers' breath
        Our song saith—
From these living souls of ours
        Spirit flowers.

More than high hills see,
        That can we —
Light of our God's face,
        His great grace.

Praise birds cannot sing,
        Lord, we bring,
While we at thy gates rejoice,
        Heart and voice.
 
Praising God we stand,
        In a band;
In the morning of our days
        Singing praise.


――――♦――――

 

NIGHTINGALES.

 
IF I had the voice of a bird,
    The scent of a flower,
Would I not praise the Lord,
    Day by day, hour by hour?

For then if the heart of a man
    Heard me sing, felt me sweet,
He would praise me, and praise
        must be
    His for whom it is meet. 

If a skylark sings in a cloud,
    It runs over with praise;
If a lily blows, all the air
    Savours sweet as it sways.

I thrill in the dark of the wood
    Where the leaves are unstirred,
At the passion of sweetness poured
    By the voice of a bird.

And my heart is lifted to him
    To whom there belongs
The song and the savour of love,
    Praise of praise, song of songs.


――――♦――――

 

LOVE.

 
TO Samaria's erring daughter
    Jesus said his love should be
Like a well of living water
    Flowing everlastingly.

Like a well fed from a mountain
    With whole heavens of dew and rain,
Ceaseless as it flows the fountain
    Fills from hidden springs again.

On the world its life bestowing,
    Giving freely as he gives,
Jesus sets love's fountain flowing
    Wheresoe'er his spirit lives.

One with thankless lips is tasting,
    One his bitter ashes throws,
One is vexing, one is wasting, —
    Still the stream of blessing flows.

Full and sweet, and ever sweeping
    Taint and trouble from its course.
Health and healing ever keeping;
    For these cannot touch its source.


――――♦――――

 

JOY.

 
IT was hers who lingering lay,
    Breathing pain with every breath,
Hopelessly from day to day.
    Waiting the deliv'rer Death.

When with burning pangs disease
    Seared her shrinking flesh, if pain
Left her but a moment's ease,
    Then she had her joy again.

Yea, she had it all the while,
    Overmastering her woe,
Brightening to a patient smile
    On the lips yet moaning low.

In through every gate of sense
    Suffering flowed — was it a dream?
Ask philosophy from whence
    Came the joy which reigned supreme.

Its poor self-complacent bliss,
    Half her anguish would destroy,
And it nothing knows of this
    The unutterable Joy.


――――♦――――

 

PEACE.


ONE left a rich bequest
Unto a friend,
Who from that day beheld
His fortunes mend.

From enemies the man
Had much to fear;
He turned them into friends
With loving cheer.

From poverty the man
Had all to dread;
But now he is secure
Of more than bread.

Cares came to him, he sent
Them all away,
Without a plea to come
Another day.

Thus Christ unto his friends
The troubled, poor,
And persecuted, makes
His Peace secure.


――――♦――――

 

GOODNESS.

Galatians v. 22, 23.


ALL the graces of the soul
    Link to link are bound,
Each begins and ends the whole
    Of the bless่d round.

Thus if we begin with love,
    In the golden chain,
Through the other links we move
    Back to love again.

All are good; but one there is
    Which we Goodness call —
Like the golden clasp is this
    Which connects them all.


――――♦――――

 

COMMUNION.


    'And those many opinions about religion that are everywhere so eagerly contended for on all sides, where this (the life of Christ) doth not lie at the bottom, are so many shadows fighting with one another.' — Cudworth, 1647.


THEY were an-hungered and athirst,
For in them stirred the life divine;
They hungered for the heavenly bread,
They thirsted for the holy wine.

But there arose a strife of tongues,
That cried where'er the feast was spread,
'Ours is the table of the Lord,
We only eat the living bread.'

'Here is the sacrifice restored,
Where incense breathes and tapers shine,
Christ on the altar be adored,
Receive him in the bread and wine.'

'Not there, but here,' another cried;
'Christ dwells not in the outward sign:
Draw near, and in thy faithful soul,
Receive him with the bread and wine.'

But one without called bitterly,
'They perish whom Christ died to save,—
They perish in their misery,
For whom his flesh and blood he gave!'

Then they went forth, and in his name
They did the work he came to do;
They lived in him and he in them;
They learnt with him to suffer too.

And when an-hungered and athirst,
Returned the still divided band,
Christ strengthened them by bread and
        wine
From every altar in the land.


――――♦――――

 

UNION.

 
SUNSET tracked upon the sea
    Dazzling fair a line of light,
Fit the path of souls to be
    To the land that knows no night.

In a low room washen white
    A small company were met,
With that bridge of beams in sight,
    In their midst a table set.

There were fishers, young and bold,
    On the deep who cast their lives;
A few husbands grey and old,
    Among many ag่d wives.

Faces wrinkled as the sand.
    Hands rough from the rope and oar,
Hearts set heaving on the land
    By each wave that shook the shore.

And they sang of pastures green,
    And of rest by quiet streams, —
Of the things they had not seen,
    No, not even in their dreams.

None are weary, none are old,
    None are sick, and none are poor;
In their midst the street of gold,
    And the land beyond secure.

Sank the sun, the waters chill
    Swept, effaced, that pathway bright,
But in growing dimness still
    On those faces there was light.

Breaking bread from hand to hand,
    Hushed they sat, till solemnly
One who rose amid the band,
    Said, 'There shall be no more sea.'

Nothing to divide us more
    From our brethren, all restored,
Safe on the eternal shore,
    In the love of Christ our Lord.


――――♦――――

 

THE BOX.

St. Mark xiv. 3.

 
SHE brake the box, and on his head
The costly spikenard freely shed:
    Its fragrance filled the place;
And he on whom it was bestowed,
Who knew the gift from love had flowed,
    Approved the lavish grace.

He murmured at the waste, whose heart
Already played the traitor's part:
    The others murmured too;
They nursed their small economies,
They kept the bag before their eyes,
    And hid their lord from view.

Hid from their hearts that more and more
He could increase the precious store
    From which such gifts are shed —
Freely the sweets of nature grow,
But love must bid their fragrance flow,
    And love the ointment spread.

Look at the liberal world, and see
Each blessing lavished boundlessly!
    What, dost thou call it waste?
The beauty of the wayside flower,
The sweetness scattered every hour,
    That all alike may taste?

They who the costliest gifts have given,
Raising the fair-wrought towers to heaven,
    Whose precious stones endure,
Filling the place with prayer and psalm,
Anointing hearts with beauty's balm,
    Have most enriched the poor.

While they each gen'rous use who chide—
Whether they seek their greed to hide,
    Or but of sight too near,
Would save the cistern's scant supply,
And let the feeding fount run dry —
    Rob God's poor souls of cheer.
 
O generous heart, thy need fulfil,
Spend if thou wilt more freely still,
    And love's rich odours raise;
If all for love, and not for pride,
Surely thy Lord will take thy side,
    And crown thee with his praise.


――――♦――――

 

THE BUILDING OF THE CITY.


BEHOLD the city is building! —
Why do ye gazing stand?
It is not in the clouds: the city
Is in the midst of the land.

The little hills are round it,
And a river flows between;
And I say, 'Behold the vision,'
For the city ye have seen.

Ye know its chiefest places,
And its houses, street on street:
Ye know, I know, the faces
Of the men and women we meet.

Men groan within that city,
And sinful women snare;
Hell can have no uncleanness
Worse than is harboured there.

The river they have polluted
Till its waters foam with death,
And the foul stream bubbles daily
With the self-destroyer's breath.

And alas! in that cruel city
The children bear such woe,
That tender hearts are asking
If the earth be God's or no.

Yet here is the city building,
A labour of many days;
And her walls shall be salvation,
Her gates shall all be praise.

A river of life, her river,
Shall flow and shall not cease,
And they who dwell within her
Shall dwell in joy and peace.

I see the white walls rising
By the river, day by day,
They are building, building, building,
Everywhere and alway.

I see the builders going
On the white walls to and fro;
I am joined unto the builders,
With some I surely know.

One struck hands with another
With whom he had been at strife:
'Let us live, instead of striving
About the way of life.'

'How come you here?' said another,
'For you are not one of us.'
'Let him build,' said a master builder
'It will never be built but thus.'

Some said, 'We will build the city
With our gold and precious stones,'
And some 'We will build the city
With our flesh and with our bones.'

But when shall we behold it?
For death comes swiftly thus —
We shall walk unseen amidst it
And Christ in the midst of us.


――――♦――――

 

COUNTED LOSS.


    'These I counted loss for Christ.' — Philippians iii. 7.

    'And thence, belov่d, you see that godly men in all ages have been free to part with their credit, to renounce their profit, to lay down their lives for spiritual things sake.  Now did they not apprehend a reality and certainty in them, surely they were no less than fools and madmen to forgoe substances for shadows.  It were no less than madness for a man to give himself up to be a prisoner when he might be free, to be a fool when he might be accounted wise, to be poor when he might be rich, if he did not see a reality in spiritual things for which he willingly forsakes and leaves all others.' — C
RADOCK, M.D., 1646.


VAIN fleeting world! I have renounced
    All thou canst give as only loss;
Thy pomp and pride I have renounced,
    To glory only in the cross.

Count me a fool, O world! to loose
    My hands from holding fast thy gains —
A little while, if these I choose,
    The hands are dust, and what remains?

Count me a fool! mine eyes to close,
    Save to the things I cannot see;
Thine are the shadows, cheats and shows,
    That pass, and change, and seem to be.

Count me a fool! for be it known
    I count as loss thy richest prize:
The highest wisdom which I own,
    Must be a folly in thine eyes.

Then wrap me in thy robe of scorn,
    Give me thy thorny crown to wear, —
The cross was by the Master borne,
    And all who follow him must bear.

Vain fleeting world!   I have pronounced
    All thou canst give as only loss;
Thy pomp and pride I have renounced,
    To glory only in the cross.


――――♦――――

 

UNTO THIS LAST.

St. Matthew xx. 16.

 
They murmured when they came,
To take the promised pay;
They murmured — not that some
        had more,
That none had less than they.

Ah! with our hearts too well
That murmuring accords —
But if at their poor grudge we smile,
What mean the Master's words?

This lesson of our Lord's,
Think you it would convey
A pretext for the privilege
Of idling all the day?

Because the end may be
The same some ages hence;
Because our liberal Master means
To make no difference?

The end!   When will it be?
What know'st thou of the end?
Which giving all thy promised good
Must all thy thought transcend.

What if indeed the Lord
Will give to all the same?
Surely thine inmost heart must own
Not more, but less thy claim.

Thou couldst not think for shame
Thy work or service hard!
Was not that heavenly service still
Its own too great reward?

Nay, in thy vineyard, Lord,
This were enough to win
To serve thee first, and serve thee last,
By early entering in.


――――♦――――




OXFORD:
E. Pickard Hall and J. H. Stacy,
PRINTERS TO THE UNIVERSITY

 



[Home] [Up] [Poems by Isa] [Duchess Agnes] [Poems: a Miscellany] [The Argosy (1866)] [Tales on the Parables] [Tales on The Parables] [Poetry Reviews] [Cotton Famine] [Round the Court] [Peggy Oglivie] [Esther West] [Fanny's Fortune] [A Heroine of Home] [Little Folk's History] [Deepdale Vicarage] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk