England's Antiphon

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Ye praise the humble: of the meek ye say, "Happy they live among their lowly bowers; "The mountains, and the mountain-storms are ours." Thus, self-deceivers, filled with pride alway, Reluctant homage to the good ye pay, Mingled with scorn like poison sucked from flowers-- Revere the humble; godlike are their powers: No mendicants for praise of men are they. The child who prays in faith "Thy will be done" Is blended with that Will Supreme which moves A wilderness of worlds by Thought untrod; He shares the starry sceptre, and the throne: The man who as himself his neighbour loves Looks down on all things with the eyes of God!

Is it a fancy that, in the midst of all this devotion and lovely thought, I hear the mingled mournful tone of such as have cut off a right hand and plucked out a right eye, which had not caused them to offend? This is tenfold better than to have spared offending members; but the true Christian ambition is to fill the divine scheme of humanity--abridging nothing, ignoring nothing, denying nothing, calling nothing unclean, but burning everything a thank-offering in the flame of life upon the altar of absolute devotion to the Father and Saviour of men. We must not throw away half his gifts, that we may carry the other half in both hands to his altar.

But sacred fervour is confined to no sect. Here it is of the profoundest, and uttered with a homely tenderness equal to that of the earliest writers. Mrs. Browning, the princess of poets, was no partisan. If my work were mainly critical, I should feel bound to remark upon her false theory of English rhyme, and her use of strange words. That she is careless too in her general utterance I cannot deny; but in idea she is noble, and in phrase magnificent. Some of her sonnets are worthy of being ranged with the best in our language--those of Milton and Wordsworth.

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