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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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infant lies in blessed ease Upon his mother's breast;

No storm, no dark, the baby sees

Invade his heaven of rest.

He nothing knows of change or death--

Her face his holy skies;

air he breathes, his mother's breath; His stars, his mother's eyes!
half the soft winds wandering there Are sighs that come of fears;
dew slow falling through that air-- It is the dew of tears;
ah, my child, thy heavenly home Hath storms as well as dew;

Black clouds fill sometimes all its dome,

And quench the starry blue!

smile would win no smile again, If baby saw the things

That ache across his mother's brain

The while to him she sings!

faith in me is faith in vain-- I am not what I seem:

O dreary day, O cruel pain,

That wakes thee from thy dream!"

Nay, pity not his dreams so fair,

Fear thou no waking grief;

safer he than though thou were Good as his vague belief!

There is a heaven that heaven above

Whereon he gazes now;

A truer love than in thy kiss;

A better friend than thou!

Father's arms fold like a nest Both thee and him about;
face looks down, a heaven of rest, Where comes no dark, no doubt.
mists are clouds of stars that move On, on, with progress rife;
winds, the goings of his love; Its dew, the dew of life.

We for our children seek thy heart,

For them we lift our eyes:

Lord, should their faith in us depart,

Let faith in thee arise.

When childhood's visions them forsake,

To women grown and men,

Back to thy heart their hearts oh take,

And bid them dream again.


"Rejoice," said the Sun; "I will make thee gay With glory and gladness and holiday; I am dumb, O man, and I need thy voice!" But man would not rejoice.

"Rejoice in thyself," said he, "O Sun, For thy daily course is a lordly one; In thy lofty place rejoice if thou can: For me, I am only a man."

"Rejoice," said the Wind; "I am free and strong, And will wake in thy heart an ancient song; Hear the roaring woods, my organ noise!" But man would not rejoice.

"Rejoice, O Wind, in thy strength," said he, "For thou fulfillest thy destiny; Shake the forest, the faint flowers fan; For me, I am only a man."

"Rejoice," said the Night, "with moon and star, For the Sun and the Wind are gone afar; I am here with rest and dreaming choice!" But man would not rejoice;

For he said--"What is rest to me, I pray, Whose labour leads to no gladsome day? He only can dream who has hope behind: Alas for me and my kind!"

Then a voice that came not from moon or star, From the sun, or the wind that roved afar, Said, "Man, I am with thee--hear my voice!" And man said, "I rejoice."


I the grace to win the grace Of some old man in lore complete,

My face would worship at his face,

And I sit lowly at his feet.

I the grace to win the grace Of childhood, loving shy, apart,
child should find a nearer place, And teach me resting on my heart.
I the grace to win the grace Of maiden living all above,

My soul would trample down the base,

That she might have a man to love.

A grace I had no grace to win

Knocks now at my half open door:

Lord of glory, come thou in!-- Thy grace divine is all, and more.


Daylight fades away.

Is the Lord at hand

In the shadows gray

Stealing on the land?

Gently from the east
Come the shadows gray; But our lowly priest
Nearer is than they.

It is darkness quite.

Is the Lord at hand,

In the cloak of night

Stolen upon the land?

But I see no night,
For my Lord is here With him dark is light, With him far is near.

List! the cock's awake.

Is the Lord at hand?

Cometh he to make

Light in all the land?

Long ago he made
Morning in my heart; Long ago he bade
Shadowy things depart.

the dawning hill!
Is the Lord at hand,

Come to scatter ill,

Ruling in the land?

He hath scattered ill, Ruling in my mind;
Growing to his will,
Freedom comes, I find.

We will watch all day,

Lest the Lord should come;

night waking stay
In the darkness dumb.
will work all day,
For the Lord hath come;

Down my head will lay All night, glad and dumb.

we know not when
Christ may be at hand;
we know that then
Joy is in the land.

For I know that where Christ hath come again, Quietness without care Dwelleth in his men.


If I might guess, then guess I would

That, mid the gathered folk,

This gentle Dorcas one day stood,

And heard when Jesus spoke.

saw the woven seamless coat-- Half envious, for his sake:

"Oh, happy hands," she said, "that wrought

The honoured thing to make!"

eyes with longing tears grow dim: She never can come nigh

To work one service poor for him

For whom she glad would die!

But, hark, he speaks! Oh, precious word!

And she has heard indeed!

"When did we see thee naked, Lord,

And clothed thee in thy need?"

"The King shall answer, Inasmuch

As to my brethren ye

it--even to the least of such-- Ye did it unto me."

Home, home she went, and plied the loom,

And Jesus' poor arrayed.

died--they wept about the room, And showed the coats she made.


"They have no more wine!" she said. But they had enough of bread; And the vessels by the door Held for thirst a plenteous store: Yes, enough; but Love divine Turned the water into wine!

When should wine like water flow, But when home two glad hearts go! When, in sacred bondage bound, Soul in soul hath freedom found! Such the time when, holy sign, Jesus turned the water wine.

Good is all the feasting then; Good the merry words of men; Good the laughter and the smiles; Good the wine that grief beguiles;-- Crowning good, the Word divine Turning water into wine!

Friends, the Master with you dwell! Daily work this miracle!
When fair things too common grow, Bring again their heavenly show! Ever at your table dine,
Turning water into wine!

So at last you shall descry All the patterns of the sky: Earth a heaven of short abode; Houses temples unto God;
Water-pots, to vision fine, Brimming full of heavenly wine.


As Jesus went into Jericho town, Twas darkness all, from toe to crown,

About blind Bartimeus.

He said, "My eyes are more than dim, They are no use for seeing him:

No matter--he can see us!"

"Cry out, cry out, blind brother--cry; Let not salvation dear go by.--

Have mercy, Son of David."

Though they were blind, they both could hear-- They heard, and cried, and he drew near;

And so the blind were saved.

O Jesus Christ, I am very blind; Nothing comes through into my mind;

'Tis well I am not dumb:

Although I see thee not, nor hear, I cry because thou may'st be near:

O son of Mary, come!

I hear it through the all things blind: Is it thy voice, so gentle and kind--

"Poor eyes, no more be dim"?

A hand is laid upon mine eyes; I hear, and hearken, see, and rise;--

'Tis He! I follow him!


Come unto me, the Master says:--

But how? I am not good;

No thankful song my heart will raise,

Nor even wish it could.

I am not sorry for the past,

Nor able not to sin;

weary strife would ever last If once I should begin!

Hast thou no burden then to bear?

No action to repent?

Is all around so very fair?

Is thy heart quite content?

Hast thou no sickness in thy soul?

No labour to endure?

Then go in peace, for thou art whole;

Thou needest not his cure.

mock me not! I often sigh; I have a nameless grief,

A faint sad pain--but such that I

Can look for no relief.

Come, come to him who made thy heart;

Come weary and oppressed;

To come to Jesus is thy part,

His part to give thee rest.

grief, new hope he will bestow, Thy grief and pain to quell;

Into thy heart himself will go,

And that will make thee well.


O Lord of life, thy quickening voice

Awakes my morning song!

In gladsome words I would rejoice

That I to thee belong.

I see thy light, I feel thy wind;

The world, it is thy word;

Whatever wakes my heart and mind,

Thy presence is, my Lord.

living soul which I call me Doth love, and long to know;

It is a thought of living thee,

Nor forth of thee can go.

Therefore I choose my highest part,

And turn my face to thee;

Therefore I stir my inmost heart

To worship fervently.

Lord, let me live and will this day--

Keep rising from the dead;

Lord, make my spirit good and gay--

Give me my daily bread.

Within my heart, speak, Lord, speak on,

My heart alive to keep,

Till comes the night, and, labour done,

In thee I fall asleep.


I love thy skies, thy sunny mists,

Thy fields, thy mountains hoar,

wind that bloweth where it lists-- Thy will, I love it more.

I love thy hidden truth to seek

All round, in sea, on shore;

arts whereby like gods we speak-- Thy will to me is more.

I love thy men and women, Lord,

The children round thy door;

Calm thoughts that inward strength afford--

Thy will than these is more.

when thy will my life doth hold Thine to the very core,
world, which that same will doth mould, I love, then, ten times more!


O God, whose daylight leadeth down

Into the sunless way,

with restoring sleep dost crown The labour of the day!

What I have done, Lord, make it clean

With thy forgiveness dear;

That so to-day what might have been,

To-morrow may appear.

when my thought is all astray, Yet think thou on in me;

That with the new-born innocent day

My soul rise fresh and free.

let me wander all in vain Through dreams that mock and flee;
even in visions of the brain, Go wandering toward thee.


holy midnight of the soul, When stars alone are high;

When winds are resting at their goal,

And sea-waves only sigh!

Ambition faints from out the will;

Asleep sad longing lies;

hope of good, all fear of ill, All need of action dies;

Because God is, and claims the life

He kindled in thy brain;

thou in him, rapt far from strife, Diest and liv'st again.


I follow, tottering, in the funeral train That bears my body to the welcoming grave. As those I mourn not, that entomb the brave, But smile as those that lay aside the vain;

To me it is a thing of poor disdain,

A clod I would not give a sigh to save!

I follow, careless, in the funeral train,

My outworn raiment to the cleansing grave.

I follow to the grave with growing pain--

Then sudden cry: Let Earth take what she gave! And turn in gladness from the yawning cave--

Glad even for those whose tears yet flow amain: They also follow, in their funeral train,

Outworn necessities to the welcoming grave!


When I look back upon my life nigh spent,

Nigh spent, although the stream as yet flows on,

I more of follies than of sins repent,

Less for offence than Love's shortcomings moan. With self, O Father, leave me not alone--

Leave not with the beguiler the beguiled;

Besmirched and ragged, Lord, take back thine own:

A fool I bring thee to be made a child.


A tattered soldier, gone the glow and gloss,

With wounds half healed, and sorely trembling knee,

Homeward I come, to claim no victory-cross:

I only faced the foe, and did not flee.


Gray clouds my heaven have covered o'er;

My sea ebbs fast, no more to flow;

Ghastly and dry, my desert shore

Parched, bare, unsightly things doth show.

'Tis thou, Lord, cloudest up my sky;

Stillest the heart-throb of my sea;

Tellest the sad wind not to sigh,

Yea, life itself to wait for thee!

Lord, here I am, empty enough!

My music but a soundless moan!

Blind hope, of all my household stuff,

Leaves me, blind hope, not quite alone!

Shall hope too go, that I may trust

Purely in thee, and spite of all?

Then turn my very heart to dust--

On thee, on thee, I yet will call.

List! list! his wind among the pines

Hark! hark! that rushing is his sea's!

O Father, these are but thy signs!--

For thee I hunger, not for these!

joy itself, though pure and high-- No gift will do instead of thee!
but my spirit know thee nigh, And all the world may sleep for me!


If I did seem to you no more

Than to myself I seem,

thus you would fling wide the door, And on the beggar beam!
would not don your radiant best, Or dole me more than half!

Poor palmer I, no angel guest;

A shaking reed my staff!

At home, no rich fruit, hanging low,

Have I for Love to pull;

Only unripe things that must grow

Till Autumn's maund be full!

I forsake my niggard leas, My orchard, too late hoar,
wander over lands and seas To find the Father's door.

When I have reached the ancestral farm,

Have clomb the steepy hill,

round me rests the Father's arm, Then think me what you will.

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