POETRY: Fifth Sunday After Epiphany by Blessed John Keble

Fifth Sunday After Epiphany by Blessed John Keble

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy,
that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God.
(
Isaiah 59:1-2)

“Wake, arm divine! awake,
“Eye of the only Wise!
“Now for thy glory’s sake,
“Savior and God, arise,
“And may thine ear, that sealed seems,
“In pity mark our mournful themes!”

Thus in her lonely hour
Thy Church is fain to cry,
As if thy love and power
Were vanish’d from her sky;
Yet God is there, and at his side
He triumphs, who for sinners died.

Ah! ‘tis the world enthralls
The Heaven betrothed breast:
The traitor Sense recalls
The soaring soul from rest.
That bitter sigh was all for earth,
For glories gone, and vanish’d mirth.

Age would to youth return,
Farther from Heaven would be,
To feel the wildfire burn,
On idolizing knee
Again to fall, and rob thy shrine
Of hearts, the right of love divine.

Lord of this wandering flock!
Thou whose soft showers distill
On ocean waste or rock,
Free as on Hermon hill,
Do thou our craven spirits cheer,
And shame away the selfish tear.

‘Twas silent all and dead
Beside the barren sea,
Where Philip’s steps were led,
Led by a voice from Thee—
He rose and went, nor ask’d Thee why,
Nor stayed to heave one faithless sigh;

Upon his lonely way
The high-born traveler came,
Reading a mournful lay
Of “One who bore our shame,
“Silent himself, his name untold,
“And yet his glories were of old.”

To muse what Heaven might mean
His wondering brow he rais’d,
And met an eye serene
That on him watchful gaz’d.
No wanderer e’er so welcome cross’d
A child’s lone path in woodland lost.

Now wonder turns to love;
The scrolls of sacred lore
No darksome mazes prove;
The desert tires no more:
They bathe where holy waters flow,
Then on their way rejoicing go.

They part to meet in Heaven:
But of the joy they share,
Absolving and forgiven,
The sweet remembrance bear.
Where now that statesman, cold and proud,
Bewilder’d in a heartless crowd,

Starting and turning pale
At Rumor’s angry din?
No storm can now assail
The charm he wears within,
Rejoicing still, and doing good,
And with the thought of God imbu’d.

No glare of high estate,
No gloom of woe or want,
The radiance can abate
Where Heaven delights to haunt.
Sin only hides the genial ray,
And, round the cross, makes night of day.

Then weep it from thy heart;
So may’st thou duly learn
The intercessor’s part,
Thy prayers and tears may earn
For fallen souls some healing breath,
Ere they have died th’ Apostate’s death.

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