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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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Now far from my old northern land,

I live where gentle winters pass; Where green seas lave a wealthy strand, And unsown is the grass;

Where gorgeous sunsets claim the scope

Of gazing heaven to spread their show, Hang scarlet clouds in the topmost cope, With fringes flaming low;

With one beside me in whose eyes

Once more old Nature finds a home; There treasures up her changeful skies, Her phosphorescent foam.

O'er a new joy this day we bend,

Soft power from heaven our souls to lift; A wondering wonder thou dost lend With loan outpassing gift--

A little child. She sees the sun--

Once more incarnates thy old law: One born of two, two born in one, Shall into one three draw.

But is there no day creeping on

Which I should tremble to renew? I thank thee, Lord, for what is gone-- Thine is the future too!

And are we not at home in Thee,

And all this world a visioned show, That, knowing what Abroad is, we What Home is too may know?


My heart is full of inarticulate pain,

And beats laborious. Cold ungenial looks

Invade my sanctuary. Men of gain,

Wise in success, well-read in feeble books,

No nigher come, I pray: your air is drear; 'Tis winter and low skies when ye appear.

Beloved, who love beauty and fair truth,

Come nearer me; too near ye cannot come;

Make me an atmosphere with your sweet youth;

Give me your souls to breathe in, a large room;

Speak not a word, for, see, my spirit lies Helpless and dumb; shine on me with your eyes.

O all wide places, far from feverous towns;

Great shining seas; pine forests; mountains wild;

Rock-bosomed shores; rough heaths, and sheep-cropt downs;

Vast pallid clouds; blue spaces undefiled--

Room! give me room! give loneliness and air-- Free things and plenteous in your regions fair!

White dove of David, flying overhead,

Golden with sunlight on thy snowy wings,

Outspeeding thee my longing thoughts are fled

To find a home afar from men of things;

Where in his temple, earth o'erarched with sky, God's heart to mine may speak, my heart reply.

O God of mountains, stars, and boundless spaces,

O God of freedom and of joyous hearts,

When thy face looketh forth from all men's faces,

There will be room enough in crowded marts!

Brood thou around me, and the noise is o'er, Thy universe my closet with shut door.

Heart, heart, awake! The love that loveth all

Maketh a deeper calm than Horeb's cave.

in thee, can his children's folly gall? Love may be hurt, but shall not love be brave?--

Thy holy silence sinks in dews of balm; Thou art my solitude, my mountain-calm!


I know what beauty is, for thou

Hast set the world within my heart; Of me thou madest it a part;

I never loved it more than now.

I know the Sabbath afternoons;

The light asleep upon the graves: Against the sky the poplar waves;

The river murmurs organ tunes.

I know the spring with bud and bell;

The hush in summer woods at night; Autumn, when trees let in more light;

Fantastic winter's lovely spell.

I know the rapture music gives,

Its mystery of ordered tones: Dream-muffled soul, it loves and moans,

And, half-alive, comes in and lives.

verse I know, whose concord high Of thought and music lifts the soul Where many a glimmering starry shoal

Glides through the Godhead's living sky.

Yea, Beauty's regnant All I know--

The imperial head, the thoughtful eyes; The God-imprisoned harmonies

That out in gracious motions go.

I leave all, O Son of man, Put off my shoes, and come to thee! Most lovely thou of all I see,

Most potent thou of all that can!

As child forsakes his favourite toy,

His sisters' sport, his new-found nest, And, climbing to his mother's breast,

Enjoys yet more his late-left joy--

I lose to find. On fair-browed bride

Fair pearls their fairest light afford; So, gathered round thy glory, Lord,

All glory else is glorified.


Grief held me silent in my seat;

I neither moved nor smiled:

held her silent at my feet, My shining lily-child.
raised her face and looked in mine; She deemed herself denied;
door was shut, there was no shine; Poor she was left outside!

Once, twice, three times, with infant grace

Her lips my name did mould;

face was pulling at my face-- She was but ten months old.

I saw; the sight rebuked my sighs;

It made me think--Does God

Need help from his poor children's eyes

To ease him of his load?

if he did, how seldom then The Father would be glad!

If comfort lay in the eyes of men,

He little comfort had!

We cry to him in evil case,

When comfort sore we lack;

when we troubled seek his face, Consoled he sends us back;
waits for prayer to rise and climb-- He wakes the sleeping prayer;

He is our father all the time,

And servant everywhere.

I looked not up; foreboding hid

Kept down my heart the while;

'Twas he looked up; my Father did

Smile in my infant's smile.


My Lily snatches not my gift;

Glad is she to be fed,

to her mouth she will not lift The piece of broken bread,

Till on my lips, unerring, swift,

The morsel she has laid.

This is her grace before her food,

This her libation poured;

Even thus his offering, Aaron good

Heaved up to thank the Lord,

When for the people all he stood,

And with a cake adored.

Father, every gift of thine I offer at thy knee;

Else take I not the love divine

With which it comes to me;

else the offered grace is mine Of sharing life with thee.

Yea, all my being I would bring,

Yielding it utterly,

yet a full-possessed thing Till heaved again to thee:

Away, my self! away, and cling

To him that makes thee be!


We doubt the word that tells us: Ask,

And ye shall have your prayer;

We turn our thoughts as to a task,

With will constrained and rare.

yet we have; these scanty prayers Yield gold without alloy:

O God, but he that trusts and dares

Must have a boundless joy!


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