England's Antiphon

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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.

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