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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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Men sought, ambition's thirst to slake,

The lost elixir old

Whose magic touch should instant make

The meaner metals gold.

nobler alchymy is thine
Which love from pain doth press:

Gold in thy hand becomes divine,

Grows truth and tenderness.


Dead, why defend thee, who in life

For thy worst foe hadst died;

Who, thy own name a word of strife,

Didst silent stand aside?

Grand in forgiveness, what to thee

The big world's puny prate!

Or thy great heart hath ceased to be

Or loveth still its mate!


To God and man be simply true; Do as thou hast been wont to do; Bring out thy treasures, old and new-- Mean all the same when said to you.

I love thee
thou art calm and strong; Firm in the right, mild to the wrong; Thy heart, in every raging throng, A chamber shut for prayer and song.

Defeat thou know'st not, canst not know, Although thy aims so lofty go They need as long to root and grow As infant hills to reach the snow.

Press on and prosper, holy friend! I, weak and ignorant, would lend A voice, thee, strong and wise, to send Prospering onward without end.


The veil hath lifted and hath fallen; and him Who next it stood before us, first so long, We see not; but between the cherubim The light burns clearer: come--a thankful song!

Lord, for thy prophet's calm commanding voice, For his majestic innocence and truth, For his unswerving purity of choice, For all his tender wrath and plenteous ruth;

For his obedient, wise, clear-listening care To hear for us what word The Word would say, For all the trembling fervency of prayer With which he led our souls the prayerful way;

For all the heavenly glory of his face That caught the white Transfiguration's shine And cast on us the reflex of thy grace-- Of all thy men late left, the most divine;

For all his learning, and the thought of power That seized thy one Idea everywhere, Brought the eternal down into the hour, And taught the dead thy life to claim and share;

For his humility, dove-clear of guile;-- The sin denouncing, he, like thy great Paul, Still claimed in it the greatest share, the while Our eyes, love-sharpened, saw him best of all!

For his high victories over sin and fear, The captive hope his words of truth set free; For his abiding memory, holy, dear; Last, for his death and hiding now in thee,

We praise, we magnify thee, Lord of him: Thou hast him still; he ever was thine own; Nor shall our tears prevail the path to dim That leads where, lowly still, he haunts thy throne.

When thou, O Lord, ascendedst up on high Good gifts thou sentest down to cheer thy men: Lo, he ascends!--we follow with the cry, His spirit send thou back in thine again.


Dead art thou? No more dead than was the maid

Over whose couch the saving God did stand--

"She is not dead but sleepeth," said,

And took her by the hand!

Thee knowledge never from Life's pathway wiled,

But following still where life's great father led,

He turned, and taking up his child,

Raised thee too from the dead,

living, thou hast passed thy second birth, Found all things new, and some things lovely strange;

But thou wilt not forget the earth,

Or in thy loving change!

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