Her eyes are homes of silent prayer,
Nor other thought her mind admits
But, he was dead, and there he sits,
And he that brought him back is there.
Then one deep love doth supersede
All other, when her ardent gaze
Roves from the living brother's face,
And rests upon the Life indeed.
All subtle thought, all curious fears,
Borne down by gladness so complete,
She bows, she bathes the Saviour's feet
With costly spikenard and with tears.
Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers,
Whose loves in higher love endure;
What souls possess themselves so pure,
Or is there blessedness like theirs?
* * * * *
I have thus traced--how slightly!--the course of the religious poetry of
England, from simple song, lovingly regardful of sacred story and legend,
through the chant of philosophy, to the full-toned lyric of adoration. I
have shown how the stream sinks in the sands of an evil taste generated
by the worship of power and knowledge, and that a new growth of the love
of nature--beauty counteracting not contradicting science--has led it by
a fair channel back to the simplicities of faith in some, and to a holy
questioning in others; the one class having for its faith, the other for
its hope, that the heart of the Father is a heart like ours, a heart that
will receive into its noon the song that ascends from the twilighted
hearts of his children.
Gladly would I have prayed for the voices of many more of the singers of
our country's psalms. Especially do I regret the arrival of the hour,
because of the voices of living men and women. But the time is over and
gone. The twilight has already embrowned the gray glooms of the cathedral
arches, and is driving us forth to part at the door.
But the singers will yet sing on to him that hath ears to hear. When he
returns to seek them, the shadowy door will open to his touch, the
long-drawn aisles receding will guide his eye to the carven choir, and
there they still stand, the sweet singers, content to repeat ancient
psalm and new song to the prayer of the humblest whose heart would join
in England's Antiphon.