Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Bees in Amber by John Oxenham

Part 1 out of 2

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Josephine Paolucci
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

BEES IN AMBER

A LITTLE BOOK OF THOUGHTFUL VERSE

BY JOHN OXENHAM

1913

TO THOSE I HOLD DEAREST

THIS OF MY BEST.

CONTENTS

CREDO

NEW YEAR'S DAY AND EVERYDAY

PHILOSOPHER'S GARDEN

FLOWERS OF THE DUST

THE PILGRIM WAY

EVERYMAID

BETTER AND BEST

THE SHADOW

THE POTTER

NIGHTFALL

THE PRUNER

THE WAYS

SEEDS

WHIRRING WHEELS

THE BELLS OF YS

THE LITTLE POEM OF LIFE

CUP OF MIXTURE

WEAVERS ALL

THE CLEARER VISION

SHADOWS

THE INN OF LIFE

LIFE'S CHEQUER-BOARD

CROSS-ROADS

QUO VADIS?

TAMATE

BURDEN-BEARERS

THE IRON FLAIL

SARK

E.A.

THE PASSING OF THE QUEEN

THE GOLDEN CORD

THANK GOD FOR PEACE!

GOD'S HANDWRITING

STEPHEN--SAUL

PAUL

WAKENING

MACEDONIA, 1903

HEARTS IN EXILE

WANDERED

BIDE A WEE!

THE WORD THAT WAS LEFT UNSAID

DON'T WORRY!

THE GOLDEN ROSE

GADARA, A.D. 31

THE BELLS OF STEPAN ILINE

BOLT THAT DOOR!

GIANT CIRCUMSTANCE

THE HUNGRY SEA

WE THANK THEE, LORD

THE VAIL

NO EAST OR WEST

THE DAY--THE WAY

LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY

FREEMEN

THE LONG ROAD

THE CHRIST

THE BALLAD OF LOST SOULS

PROFIT AND LOSS

FREE MEN OF GOD

TREASURE-TROVE

THE GATE

BRING US THE LIGHT

ALL'S WELL!

HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER

GOD IS GOOD

SOME--AND SOME

THE PRINCE OF LIFE

JUDGMENT DAY

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

INDIA

LIVINGSTONE

LIVINGSTONE THE BUILDER

LIVINGSTONE'S SOLILOQUY

KAPIOLANI

THEY COME!

PROCESSIONALS

FAITH

"I WILL!"

A LITTLE TE DEUM OF THE COMMONPLACE

POLICEMAN X

YOUR PLACE

IN NARROW WAYS

SHUT WINDOWS

PROPS

BED-ROCK

AFTER WORK

KAPIOLANI IN RAROTONGAN

AUTHOR'S APOLOGY

In these rushful days an apology is advisable, if not absolutely
essential, from any man, save the one or two elect, who has the temerity
to publish a volume of verse.

These stray lines, such as they are, have come to me from time to time,
I hardly know how or whence; certainly not of deliberate intention or of
malice aforethought. More often than not they have come to the
interruption of other, as it seemed to me, more important--and
undoubtedly more profitable--work.

They are for the most part, simply attempts at concrete and
rememberable expression of ideas--ages old most of them--which "asked
for more."

Most writers, I imagine, find themselves at times in that same
predicament--worried by some thought which dances within them and
stubbornly refuses to be satisfied with the sober dress of prose. For
their own satisfaction and relief, in such a case, if they be not fools
they endeavour to garb it more to its liking, and so find peace. Or, to
vary the metaphor, they pluck the Bee out of their Bonnet and pop it
into such amber as they happen to have about them or are able to
evolve, and so put an end to its buzzing.

In their previous states these little Bonnet-Bees of mine have
apparently given pleasure to quite a number of intelligent and
thoughtful folk; and now--chiefly, I am bound to say, for my own
satisfaction in seeing them all together--I have gathered
them into one bunch.

If they please you--good! If not, there is no harm done, and one man is
content.

JOHN OXENHAM

CREDO

Not what, but WHOM, I do believe,
That, in my darkest hour of need,
Hath comfort that no mortal creed
To mortal man may give;--
Not what, but WHOM!
For Christ is more than all the creeds,
And His full life of gentle deeds
Shall all the creeds outlive.
Not what I do believe, but WHOM!
WHO walks beside me in the gloom?
WHO shares the burden wearisome?
WHO all the dim way doth illume,
And bids me look beyond the tomb
The larger life to live?--
Not what I do believe,
BUT WHOM!
Not what,
But WHOM!

NEW YEAR'S DAY--AND EVERY DAY

_Each man is Captain of his Soul,
And each man his own Crew,
But the Pilot knows the Unknown Seas,
And He will bring us through_.

We break new seas to-day,--
Our eager keels quest unaccustomed waters,
And, from the vast uncharted waste in front,
The mystic circles leap
To greet our prows with mightiest possibilities;
Bringing us--what?
--Dread shoals and shifting banks?
--And calms and storms?
--And clouds and biting gales?
--And wreck and loss?
--And valiant fighting-times?
And, maybe, Death!--and so, the Larger Life!

_For should the Pilot deem it best
To cut the voyage short,
He sees beyond the sky-line, and
He'll bring us into Port_.

And, maybe, Life,--Life on a bounding tide,
And chance of glorious deeds;--
Of help swift-born to drowning mariners;
Of cheer to ships dismasted in the gale;
Of succours given unasked and joyfully;
Of mighty service to all needy souls.

_So--Ho for the Pilot's orders,
Whatever course He makes!
For He sees beyond the sky-line,
And He never makes mistakes_.

And, maybe, Golden Days,
Full freighted with delight!
--And wide free seas of unimagined bliss,
--And Treasure Isles, and Kingdoms to be won,
--And Undiscovered Countries, and New Kin.

_For each man captains his own Soul,
And chooses his own Crew,
But the Pilot knows the Unknown Seas,
And He will bring us through_.

PHILOSOPHER'S GARDEN

"_See this my garden,
Large and fair_!"
--Thus, to his friend,
The Philosopher.

"'_Tis not too long_,"
His friend replied,
With truth exact,--
"_Nor yet too wide.
But well compact,
If somewhat cramped
On every side_."

Quick the reply--
"_But see how high!--
It reaches up
To God's blue sky_!"

Not by their size
Measure we men
Or things.
Wisdom, with eyes
Washed in the fire,
Seeketh the things
That are higher--
Things that have wings,
Thoughts that aspire.

FLOWERS OF THE DUST

The Mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small--
So soft and slow the great wheels go they scarcely move at all;
But the souls of men fall into them and are powdered into dust,
And in that dust grow the Passion-Flowers--Love, Hope, Trust.

Most wondrous their upspringing, in the dust of the Grinding-Mills,
And rare beyond the telling the fragrance each distils.
Some grow up tall and stately, and some grow sweet and small,
But Life out of Death is in each one--with purpose grow they all.

For that dust is God's own garden, and the Lord Christ tends it fair,
With oh, such loving tenderness! and oh, such patient care!
In sorrow the seeds are planted, they are watered with bitter tears,
But their roots strike down to the Water-Springs and the Sources of the
Years.

These flowers of Christ's own providence, they wither not nor die,
But flourish fair, and fairer still, through all eternity.
In the Dust of the Mills and in travail the amaranth seeds are sown,
But the Flowers in their full beauty climb the Pillars of the Throne.

NOTE.--The first line only is adapted from the Sinngedichte of
Friedrich von Logau.

THE PILGRIM WAY

But once I pass this way,
And then--no more.
But once--and then, the Silent Door
Swings on its hinges,--
Opens ... closes,--
And no more
I pass this way.
So while I may,
With all my might,
I will essay
Sweet comfort and delight,
To all I meet upon the Pilgrim Way.
For no man travels twice
The Great Highway,
That climbs through Darkness up to Light,--
Through Night
To Day.

EVERYMAID

King's Daughter!
Wouldst thou be all fair,
Without--within--
Peerless and beautiful,
A very Queen?

Know then:--
Not as men build unto the Silent One,--
With clang and clamour,
Traffic of rude voices,
Clink of steel on stone,
And din of hammer;--
Not so the temple of thy grace is reared.
But,--in the inmost shrine
Must thou begin,
And build with care
A Holy Place,
A place unseen,
Each stone a prayer.
Then, having built,
Thy shrine sweep bare
Of self and sin,
And all that might demean;
And, with endeavour,
Watching ever, praying ever,
Keep it fragrant-sweet, and clean:
So, by God's grace, it be fit place,--
His Christ shall enter and shall dwell therein.
Not as in earthly fane--where chase
Of steel on stone may strive to win
Some outward grace,--
_Thy temple face is chiselled from within_.

BETTER AND BEST

Better in bitterest agony to lie,
Before Thy throne,
Than through much increase to be lifted up on high,
And stand alone.

Better by one sweet soul, constant and true,
To be beloved,
Than all the kingdoms of delight to trample through,
Unloved, unloved.

Yet best--the need that broke me at Thy feet,
In voiceless prayer,
And cast my chastened heart, a sacrifice complete,
Upon Thy care.

For all the world is nought, and less than nought,
Compared with this,--
That my dear Lord, with His own life, my ransom bought,
And I am His.

THE SHADOW

Shapeless and grim,
A Shadow dim
O'erhung the ways,
And darkened all my days.
And all who saw,
With bated breath,
Said, "It is Death!"

And I, in weakness
Slipping towards the Night,
In sore affright
Looked up. And lo!--
No Spectre grim,
But just a dim
Sweet face,
A sweet high mother-face,
A face like Christ's Own Mother's face,
Alight with tenderness
And grace.

"Thou art not Death!" I cried;--
For Life's supremest fantasy
Had never thus envisaged Death to me;--
"Thou art not Death, the End!"

In accents winning,
Came the answer,--"_Friend,
There is no Death!
I am the Beginning,
--Not the End_!"

THE POTTER

A Potter, playing with his lump of clay,
Fashioned an image of supremest worth.
"_Never was nobler image made on earth,
Than this that I have fashioned of my clay.
And I, of mine own skill, did fashion it,--
I--from this lump of clay_."

The Master, looking out on Pots and Men,
Heard his vain boasting, smiled at that he said.
"_The clay is Mine, and I the Potter made,
As I made all things,--stars, and clay, and men.
In what doth this man overpass the rest?
--Be thou as other men_!"

He touched the Image,--and it fell to dust,
He touched the Potter,--he to dust did fall.
Gently the Master,--"_I did make them all,--
All things and men, heaven's glories, and the dust.
Who with Me works shall quicken death itself,
Without Me--dust is dust_."

NIGHTFALL

Fold up the tent!
The sun is in the West.
To-morrow my untented soul will range
Among the blest.
And I am well content,
For what is sent, is sent,
And God knows best.

Fold up the tent,
And speed the parting guest!
The night draws on, though night and day are one
On this long quest.
This house was only lent
For my apprenticement--
What is, is best.

Fold up the tent!
Its slack ropes all undone,
Its pole all broken, and its cover rent,--
Its work is done.
But mine--tho' spoiled and spent
Mine earthly tenement--
Is but begun.

Fold up the tent!
Its tenant would be gone,
To fairer skies than mortal eyes
May look upon.
All that I loved has passed,
And left me at the last
Alone!--alone!

Fold up the tent!
Above the mountain's crest,
I hear a clear voice calling, calling clear,--
"To rest! To rest!"
And I am glad to go,
For the sweet oil is low,
And rest is best!

THE PRUNER

God is a zealous pruner,
For He knows--
Who, falsely tender, spares the knife
But spoils the rose.

THE WAYS

To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way.
And the High Soul climbs the High way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth
The Way his soul shall go.

SEEDS

What shall we be like when
We cast this earthly body and attain
To immortality?
What shall we be like then?

Ah, who shall say
What vast expansions shall be ours that day?
What transformations of this house of clay,
To fit the heavenly mansions and the light of day?
Ah, who shall say?

But this we know,--
We drop a seed into the ground,
A tiny, shapeless thing, shrivelled and dry,
And, in the fulness of its time, is seen
A form of peerless beauty, robed and crowned
Beyond the pride of any earthly queen,
Instinct with loveliness, and sweet and rare,
The perfect emblem of its Maker's care.

This from a shrivelled seed?--
--Then may man hope indeed!

For man is but the seed of what he shall be.
When, in the fulness of his perfecting,
He drops the husk and cleaves his upward way,
Through earth's retardings and the clinging clay,
Into the sunshine of God's perfect day.
No fetters then! No bonds of time or space!
But powers as ample as the boundless grace
That suffered man, and death, and yet, in tenderness,
Set wide the door, and passed Himself before--
As He had promised--to prepare a place.

Yea, we may hope!
For we are seeds,
Dropped into earth for heavenly blossoming.
Perchance, when comes the time of harvesting,
His loving care
May find some use for even a humble tare.

We know not what we shall be--only this--
That we shall be made like Him--as He is.

WHIRRING WHEELS

Lord, when on my bed I lie,
Sleepless, unto Thee I'll cry;
When my brain works overmuch,
Stay the wheels with Thy soft touch.

Just a quiet thought of Thee,
And of Thy sweet charity,--
Just a little prayer, and then
I will turn to sleep again.

THE BELLS OF YS

When the Bells of Ys rang softly,--softly,
_Soft--and sweet--and low_,
Not a sound was heard in the old gray town,
As the silvery tones came floating down,
But life stood still with uncovered head,
And doers of ill did good instead,
And abroad the Peace of God was shed,
_When the bells aloft sang softly--softly,
Soft--and sweet--and low,--
The Silver Bells and the Golden Bells,--
Aloft, and aloft, and alow_.

And still those Bells ring softly--softly,
_Soft--and sweet--and low_.
Though full twelve hundred years have gone,
Since the waves rolled over the old gray town,
Bold men of the sea, in the grip of the flow,
Still hear the Bells, as they pass and go,
Or win to life with their hearts aglow,
_When the Bells below sing softly--softly,
Soft--and sweet--and low,--
The Silver Bells and the Golden Bells,--
Alow, and alow, and alow_.

O the Mystical Bells, they still ring softly,
_Soft--and sweet--and low_,--
For the sound of their singing shall never die
In the hearts that are tuned to their melody;
And down in the world's wild rush and roar,
That sweeps us along to the Opening Door.

Hearts still beat high as they beat of yore,
_When the Bells sing softly--softly--softly,
Soft--and sweet--and low,
The Silver Bells and the Golden Bells,--
Alow, and aloft, and alow_.

THE LITTLE POEM OF LIFE

I;--
Thou;--
We;--
They;--
Small words, but mighty.
In their span
Are bound the life and hopes of man.

For, first, his thoughts of his own self are full;
Until another comes his heart to rule.
For them, life's best is centred round their love;
Till younger lives come all their love to prove.

CUP OF MIXTURE

For every Guest who comes with him to sup,
The Host compounds a strangely mingled cup;--
Red Wine of Life and Dregs of Bitterness,
And, will-he, nil-he, each must drink it up.

WEAVERS ALL

Warp and Woof and Tangle,--
_Weavers of Webs are we_.
Living and dying--and mightier dead,
For the shuttle, once sped, is sped--is sped;--
_Weavers of Webs are we_.

White, and Black, and Hodden-gray,--
_Weavers of Webs are we_.
To every weaver one golden strand
Is given in trust by the Master-Hand;--
_Weavers of Webs are we_.

And that we weave, we know not,--
_Weavers of Webs are we_.
The threads we see, but the pattern is known
To the Master-Weaver alone, alone;--
_Weavers of Webs are we_.

THE CLEARER VISION

When, with bowed head,
And silent-streaming tears,
With mingled hopes and fears,
To earth we yield our dead;
The Saints, with clearer sight,
Do cry in glad accord,--
"_A soul released from prison
Is risen, is risen,--
Is risen to the glory of the Lord_."

SHADOWS

Shadows are but for the moment--
Quickly past;
And then the sun the brighter shines
That it was overcast.

For Light is Life!
Gracious and sweet,
The fair life-giving sun doth scatter blessings
With his light and heat,--
And shadows.
But the shadows that come of the life-giving sun
Crouch at his feet.

No mortal life but has its shadowed times--
Not one!
Life without shadow could not taste the full
Sweet glory of the sun.

No shadow falls, but there, behind it, stands
The Light
Behind the wrongs and sorrows of life's troublous ways
Stands RIGHT.

THE INN OF LIFE

_As It was in the Beginning,--
Is Now,--
And...?

Anno Domini I_.

* * * * *

"No room!
No room!
The Inn is full,
Yea--overfull.
No room have we
for such as ye--
Poor folk of Galilee,
Pass on! Pass on!"

"Nay then!--
Your charity
Will ne'er deny
Some corner mean,
Where she may lie unseen.
For see!--
Her time is nigh."

"Alack! And she
So young and fair!
Place have we none;
And yet--how bid ye gone?
Stay then!--out there
Among the beasts
Ye may find room,
And eke a truss
To lie upon."

_Anno Domini 1913, etc., etc_.

* * * * *

"No room!
No room!
No room for Thee,
Thou Man of Galilee!
The house is full,
Yea, overfull.
There is no room for Thee,--
Pass on! Pass on!

Nay--see!
The place is packed.
"We scarce have room
For our own selves,
So how shall we
Find room for Thee,
Thou Man of Galilee,--
Pass on! Pass on!

But--if Thou shouldst
This way again,
And we can find
So much as one small corner
Free from guest,
Not then in vain
Thy quest.
But now--
The house is full.
Pass on!"

Christ passes
On His ceaseless quest,
Nor will He rest
With any,
Save as Chiefest Guest.

LIFE'S CHEQUER-BOARD

"'Tis all a Chequer-Board of Nights and Days,
Where Detiny with men for pieces plays,
Hither and thither moves, and mates and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays."

_Omar Khayyam_.

A Chequer-Board of mingled Light and Shade?
And We the Pieces on it deftly laid?
Moved and removed, without a word to say,
By the Same Hand that Board and Pieces made?

No Pieces we in any Fateful Game,
Nor free to shift on Destiny the blame;
Each Soul doth tend its own immortal flame,
Fans it to Heaven, or smothers it in shame.

CROSS-ROADS

Oft, as he jogs along the Winding-Way,
Occasion comes for Every Man to say,--
"This Road?--or That?" and as he chooses them,
So shall his journey end in Night or Day.

QUO VADIS?

Peter, outworn,
And menaced by the sword,
Shook off the dust of Rome;
And, as he fled,
Met one, with eager face,
Hastening cityward,
And, to his vast amaze,
It was The Lord.
"_Lord, whither goest Thou_?"
He cried, importunate,
And Christ replied,--
"_Peter, I suffer loss.
I go to take thy place,
To bear thy cross_."

Then Peter bowed his head,
Discomforted;
There, at the Master's feet,
Found grace complete,
And courage, and new faith,
And turned--with Him,
To Death.

So we,--
Whene'er we fail
Of our full duty,
Cast on Him our load,--
Who suffered sore for us,
Who frail flesh wore for us,
Who all things bore for us,--
On Christ, The Lord.

TAMATE

_Great-Heart is dead, they say_,--
Great-Heart the Teacher,
Great-Heart the Joyous,
Great-Heart the Fearless,
Great-Heart the Martyr,
Great-Heart of Sweet White Fire.

_Great-Heart is dead, they say_,--
Fighting the fight,
Holding the Light,
Into the night.
_Great-Heart is dead, they say_.--
But the Light shall burn the brighter.
And the night shall be the lighter,
For his going;
And a rich, rich harvest for his sowing.

_Great-Heart is dead, they say_!--
What is death to such an one as Great-Heart?
One sigh, perchance, for work unfinished here;--
Then a swift passing to a mightier sphere,
New joys, perfected powers, the vision clear,
And all the amplitude of heaven to work
The work he held so dear.

_Great-Heart is dead, say they_?
Nor dead nor sleeping! He lives on! His name
Shall kindle many a heart to equal flame.
The fire he lighted shall burn on and on,
Till all the darkness of the lands be gone,
And all the kingdoms of the earth be won,
And one.

_A soul so fiery sweet can never die,
But lives and loves and works through all eternity_.

BURDEN-BEARERS

Burden-bearers are we all,
Great and small.
Burden-sharers be ye all,
Great and small!
Where another shares the load,
Two draw nearer God.
Yet there are burdens we can share with none,
Save God;
And paths remote where we must walk alone,
With God;
For lonely burden and for path apart--
Thank God!
If these but serve to bring the burdened heart
To God.

THE IRON FLAIL

Time beats out all things with his iron flail,
Things great, things small.
With steady strokes that never fail,
With slow, sure strokes of his iron flail,
Time beats out all.

SARK

Pearl Iridescent! Pearl of the sea!
Shimmering, glimmering Pearl of the sea!
White in the sun-flecked Silver Sea,
White in the moon-decked Silver Sea,
White in the wrath of the Silver Sea,--
Pearl of the Silver Sea!
Lapped in the smile of the Silver Sea,
Ringed in the foam of the Silver Sea,
Glamoured in mists of the Silver Sea,--
Pearl of the Silver Sea!
Glancing and glimmering under the sun.
Jewel and casket all in one,
Joy supreme of the sun's day dream,
Soft in the gleam of the golden beam,--
Pearl of the Silver Sea!
Splendour of Hope in the rising sun,
Glory of Love in the noonday sun,
Wonder of Faith in the setting sun,--
Pearl of the Silver Sea!

Gaunt and grim to the outer world,
Jewel and casket all impearled
With the kiss of the Silver Sea!--
With the flying kiss of the Silver Sea,
With the long sweet kiss of the Silver Sea,
With the rainbow kiss of the Silver Sea,--
Pearl of the Silver Sea!
And oh the sight,--the wonderful sight,
When calm and white, in the mystic light
Of her quivering pathway, broad and bright,
The Queen of the Night, in silver dight,
Sails over the Silver Sea!

Wherever I go, and wherever I be,
The joy and the longing are there with me,--
The gleam and the glamour come back to me,--
In a mystical rapture there comes to me,
The call of the Silver Sea!
As needle to pole is my heart to thee,
Pearl of the Silver Sea!

E.A., Nov. 6, 1900

Bright stars of Faith and Hope, her eyes
Shall shine for us through all the years.
For all her life was Love, and fears
Touch not the love that never dies.

And Death itself, to her, was but
The wider opening of the door
That had been opening, more and more,
Through all her life, and ne'er was shut.

--And never shall be shut. She left
The door ajar for you and me,
And, looking after her, we see
The glory shining through the cleft.

And when our own time comes,--again
We'll meet her face to face;--again
Well see the star-shine; and again
She'll greet us with her soft, "Come ben!"

THE PASSING OF THE QUEEN

_Hark! The drums! Muffled drums!
The long low ruffle of the drums_!--
And every head is bowed,
In the vast expectant crowd,
As the Great Queen comes,--
By the way she knew so well,
Where our cheers were wont to swell,
As we tried in vain to tell
Of our love unspeakable.
Now she comes
To the rolling of the drums,
And the slow sad tolling of the bell.
Let every head be bowed,
In the silent waiting crowd,
As the Great Queen comes,
To the slow sad ruffle of the drums!

_Who is this that comes,
To the rolling of the drums,
In the sorrowful great silence of the peoples_?
Take heart of grace,
She is not here!
The Great Queen is not here!
What most in her we did revere,--
The lofty spirit, white and clear,
The tender love that knew no fear,
The soul sincere,--
These come not here,
To the rolling of the drums,
In the silence and the sorrow of the peoples.

_Death has but little part
In her. Love cannot die.
Who reigns in every heart
Hath immortality_.
So, though our heads are bent,
Our hearts are jubilant,
As she comes,--
As a conqueror she comes--
With the rolling of the drums,
To the stateliest of her homes,
In the hearts of her true and faithful peoples.
_For the Great Queen lives for ever
In the hearts of those who love her.
January, 1901_.

THE GOLDEN CORD

Through every minute of this day,
Be with me, Lord!
Through every day of all this week,
Be with me, Lord!
Through every week of all this year,
Be with me, Lord!
Through all the years of all this life,
Be with me, Lord!
So shall the days and weeks and years
Be threaded on a golden cord,
And all draw on with sweet accord
Unto Thy fulness, Lord,
That so, when time is past,
By Grace, I may at last,
Be with Thee, Lord.

THANK GOD FOR PEACE!
JUNE, 1902

_Thank God for Peace_!
Up to the sombre sky
Rolled one great thankful sigh,
Rolled one great gladsome cry--
The soul's deliverance of a mighty people.
_Thank God for Peace_!

The long-low-hanging war-cloud rolled away,
And night glowed brighter than the brightest day.
For Peace is Light,
And War is grimmer than the Night.

_Thank God for Peace_!
Great ocean, was your mighty calm unstirred
As through your depths, unseen, unheard,
Sped on its way the glorious word
That called a weary nation to ungird,
And sheathed once more the keen, reluctant sword?

_Thank God for Peace_!
The word came to us as we knelt in prayer
That wars might cease.
Peace found us on our knees, and prayer for Peace
Was changed to prayer of deepest thankfulness.
We knelt in War, we rose in Peace to bless
Thy grace, Thy care, Thy tenderness.

_Thank God for Peace_!
No matter now the rights and wrongs of it;
You fought us bravely, and we fought you fair.
The fight is done. Grip hands! No malice bear!
We greet you, brothers, to the nobler strife
Of building up the newer, larger life!

Join hands! Join hands! Ye nations of the stock!
And make henceforth a mighty Trust for Peace.
A great enduring peace that shall withstand
The shocks of time and circumstance; and every land
Shall rise and bless you--and shall never cease
To bless you--for that glorious gift of Peace.

GOD'S HANDWRITING

He writes in characters too grand
For our short sight to understand;
We catch but broken strokes, and try
To fathom all the mystery
Of withered hopes, of death, of life,
The endless war, the useless strife,--
But there, with larger, clearer sight,
We shall see this--His way was right.

STEPHEN--SAUL

Stephen, who died while I stood by consenting,
Wrought in his death the making of a life,
Bruised one hard heart to thought of swift repenting,
Fitted one fighter for a nobler strife.

Stephen, the Saint, triumphant and forgiving,
Prayed while the hot blows beat him to the earth.
Was that a dying? Rather was it living!--
Through his soul's travail my soul came to birth.

Stephen, the Martyr, full of faith and fearless,
Smiled when his bruised lips could no longer pray,--
Smiled with a courage undismayed and peerless,--
Smiled!--and that smile is with me, night and day.

O, was it _I_ that stood there, all consenting?
_I_--at whose feet the young men's clothes were laid?
Was it _my_ will that wrought that hot tormenting?
My heart that boasted over Stephen, dead?

Yes, it was I. And sore to me the telling.
Yes, it was I. And thought of it has been
God's potent spur my whole soul's might compelling
These outer darknesses for Him to win.

PAUL

Bond-slave to Christ, and in my bonds rejoicing,
Earmarked to Him I counted less than nought;
His man henceforward, eager to be voicing
That wondrous Love which Saul the Roman sought.

Sought him and found him, working bitter sorrow;
Found him and claimed him, chose him for his own;
Bound him in darkness, till the glorious morrow
Unsealed his eyes to that he had not known.

WAKENING

This mortal dies,--
But, in the moment when the light fails here,
The darkness opens, and the vision clear
Breaks on his eyes.
The vail is rent,--
On his enraptured gaze heaven's glory breaks,
He was asleep, and in that moment wakes.

MACEDONIA, 1903

Devils' work!
Devils' work, my masters!
_Britain, your hands are red_!
You may close your heart, but you cannot shirk
This terrible fact,--_We--kept--the--Turk_.
His day was past and we knew his work,
But he played our game, so we kept the Turk,
For our own sake's sake we kept the Turk.
_Britain, your hands are red_!

Red are the walls and the ways,
_And--Britain, your hands are red_!
There is blood on the hearth, and blood in the well,
And the whole fair land is a red, red hell,--
_Britain, your hands are red_!

"_Come over! Come over and help us_!"
We are deaf to the ancient cry.
--"_For the sake of our women and children_!"
And Britain stands quietly by.
_O Britain, your hands are red_!

_Cleanse your hands, Britain_!
Yea, cleanse them in blood if it _must_ be!
For blood that is shed in the cause of right
Has power, as of old, to wash souls white.
_Cleanse your hands, Britain_!

O for the fiery grace of old,--
The heart and the masterful hand!
But grace grows dim and the fire grows cold,
We are heavy with greed and lust and gold,
And life creeps low in the land.

_Break your bonds, Britain_!
Stand up once again for the right!
We have stained our hands in the times that are past,
Before God, we would wash them white.

_For the Nations are in the proving;
Each day is Judgment Day;
And the peoples He finds wanting
Shall pass--by the winding way_.

HEARTS IN EXILE

O Exiled Hearts--for you, for you--
Love still can find the way!
_Hear the voices of the women on the road_!
O Shadowed Lives--for you, for you--
Hope hath not lost her ray!
_Hear the laughter of the children on the road_!
O Gloomy Night--for you, for you--
Dawn tells of coming day!
_Hear the clink of breaking fetters on the road_!
O Might sans Right--for you, for you--
The feet of crumbling clay!
_Hear the slow, sure tread of Freedom on the road_!

WANDERED

The wind blows shrill along the hill,
--_Black is the night and cold_--
The sky hangs low with its weight of snow,
And the drifts are deep on the wold.
But what care I for wind or snow?
And what care I for the cold?
_Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold_?

The beasts are safely gathered in,
--_Black is the night and cold_--
They are snug and warm, and safe from harm,
In stall and byre and fold.
And the dogs and I, by the blazing fire,
Care nought for the snow and the cold.
_Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold_?

The barns are bursting with their store
Of grain like yellow gold;
A full, fat year has brought good cheer,
--_Black is the night and cold_.--
But ... What care I for teeming barns?
And what care I for gold?
_Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold_?

In the great kitchen, maids and men,
--_Black is the night and cold_--
Laugh loud and long, with jest and song,
And merry revel hold.
Let them laugh and sing, let them have their fling,
But for me--I am growing old.
_Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold_?

The old house moans, and sighs and groans,
--_Black is the night and cold_--
We have seen brave times, you and I, old friend,
But now--we are growing old.
We have stood foursquare to many a storm,
But now--we are growing old.
_Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold_?

Her mother sleeps on the hill out there,
--_Black is the night and cold_,--
She is free from care, she is happier there,
Beneath the warm brown mould.
And I've sometimes hoped they may have met,
And the end of the tale be told.
_Ah ... where is our lamb--
Our one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold_?

Was that a branch that shed its load?
--_Black is the night and cold_,--
Or--was it a footstep in the snow--
A timid footstep--halting, slow?
Ah me! I am getting old!
Is that a tapping--soft and low?
Can it be ... I thought I heard ... but no,
'Twas only a branch that shed its snow,--
God's truth! I am getting old!
_For I thought ... maybe
It was my lamb
Come home again to the fold_.

Dear Lord! a hand at the frozen pane!
--_White on the night's black cold_--
O my lamb! my lamb! are you come again?
My dear lost lamb, are you come again?
Are you come again to the fold?
It is!... It is!... Now I thank Thee, Lord,
For Thy Mercies manifold!
_She is come again!
She is home again!
My lamb that strayed from the fold_!

BIDE A WEE!

Though the times be dark and dreary,
Though the way be long,
Keep your spirits bright and cheery,--
--"Bide a wee, and dinna weary!"
Is a heartsome song.

THE WORD THAT WAS LEFT UNSAID

"A red rose for my helmet,
And a word before we part!
The rose shall be my oriflamme
The word shall fill my heart."
_Heart, Heart, Heart of my heart--
Just a look, just a word and a look!
A look or a sign that my love shall divine
And a word for my hungering heart_!

She toyed with his love and her roses;
Was it mischief or mischance?--
She dropped him a rose--'twas a white one,
And he lifted it on his lance.
_Heart, Heart, Heart of my heart!
Is it thus--is it thus we part?
With never a look, and never a sign,
Nor a word for my hungering heart_!

She sought him among the dying,
She found him among the dead;
And the rose was still in his helmet.
But his life had stained it red.
_Heart, Heart, Heart of my heart!
Now my heart within me is dead.
And alack for the look!
And alas for the sign!
And the word that was left unsaid_!

DON'T WORRY

Just do your best,
And leave the rest
To Him who gave you
Life,--
And Zeal for Labour,--
And the Joy of Strife,--
And Zest of Love,--
And all that lifts your soul above
The lower things.

Life's truest harvest is in what we _would_,
And strive our best for,
Not most in what we _could_.
The things we count supreme
Stand, haply, not so high
In God's esteem
As _How_ and _Why_.

All-Seeing Sight
Cleaves through the husk of things,
Right to the Roots and Springs,--
Sees all things whole,
And measures less the body than the soul.
All-Righteous Right
Will weigh men's motives,
Not their deeds alone.
End and Beginning unto Him are one;
And _would_ for _could_ shall oft, perchance, atone.

Motives are seeds,
From which at times spring deeds
Not equal to the soul's outreaching hope.
Strive for the stars!
Count nought well done but best!
Then, with brave patience, leave the rest
To Him who knows.
He'll judge you justly ere the record close.

THE GOLDEN ROSE

The Golden Rose is blowing still,
Is growing still, is glowing still,
In lonely vale, on lordly hill,
The Golden Rose is glowing still;--
If only you can find it!

The Golden Rose still breaks and blows,
Still breaks and blows, still gleams and glows,
'Mid icy blasts, and wintry snows,
The Golden Rose still breaks and blows;--
Search w ell and you may find it!

The Golden Rose can never die,
'Tis grafted on Eternity;
In hearts that Love doth glorify,
The Golden Rose can never die,--
May it be yours to find it!

GADARA, A.D. 31

Rabbi, begone! Thy powers
Bring loss to us and ours.
Our ways are not as Thine.
Thou lovest men, we--swine.
Oh, get you hence, Omnipotence,
And take this fool of Thine!
His soul? What care we for his soul?
What good to us that Thou hast made him whole,
Since we have lost our swine?

And Christ went sadly.
He had wrought for them a sign
Of Love, and Hope, and Tenderness divine;
They wanted--swine.
Christ stands without _your_ door and gently knocks;
But if your gold, or swine, the entrance blocks,
He forces no man's hold--he will depart,
And leave you to the treasures of your heart.

No cumbered chamber will the Master share,
But one swept bare
By cleansing fires, then plenished fresh and fair
With meekness, and humility, and prayer.
There will He come, yet, coming, even there
He stands and waits, and will no entrance win
Until the latch be lifted from within.

THE BELLS OF STEPAN ILINE

(_Cradle Song from "The Long Road_.")

Whisht, Baby! Whisht!
Quick below the cover!
Down into your nest, my bird!
And--don't--you--dare--peep--over!
For the grey wolves they are prowling,
They are prowling, they are prowling.
And the snow-wind it is howling,
It is howling, it is howling.
Hark!--Hark!--
Out there in the dark--
Ow--ooh! Ow--ooh!
S-s-s-s-s-seee--oo--ooh!
The wolves they are lean,
So-o-o lean, so-o-o lean!
And the wind it is keen,
So-o-o keen, so-o-o keen!
And they seek little babies who aren't sleeping!
But lie you still, my Baby dear!
Lie still, lie still, and maybe you'll hear--
Hark!--Hark!--
Out there in the dark,--
The silver bells and the golden bells,
The swinging bells and the singing bells,--
The bells that are heard but never are seen,
The wind and the wolves, and the bells in between,--
The bells of Iline,
Good Stepan Iline,--
The bells of good Stepan Iline!

BOLT THAT DOOR!

Each sin has its door of entrance.
Keep--that--door--closed!
Bolt it tight!
Just outside, the wild beast crouches
In the night.
Pin the bolt with a prayer,
God will fix it there.

GIANT CIRCUMSTANCE

Though every nerve be strained
To fine accomplishment,
Full oft the life fall spent
Before the prize is gained.
And, in our discontent
At waste so evident,
In doubt and vast discouragement
We wonder what is meant.
But, tracing back, we find
A Power that held the ways--
A Mighty Hand, a Master Mind,
That all the troubled course defined
And overruled the days.
Some call it Fate; some--Chance;
Some--Giant Circumstance;
And some, upreaching to the sense
Of God within the circumstance,
Do call it--Providence!

THE HUNGRY SEA

Down to the sea, the hungry sea,
_O the sea is hungry ever_!
Seeking food for the bairns and me,
Seeking food in the hungry sea;
_O the sea is hungry ever_!

My man and my lad--their bones are white,
_O the sea is hungry ever_!
Into the maw of the grim black night,
Their hearts were bold and their faces bright;
_O the sea is hungry ever_!

The sun was red and the clouds were black,
_O the sea is hungry ever_!
And the sky was heavy with flying wrack,
When forth they fared,--and they came not back;
_O the sea is hungry ever_!

Forth they fared and they came not back,
_O the sea is hungry ever_!
O, I fear the sea, and I hate the sea,
That took my man and my lad from me;
_O the sea is hungry ever_!

WE THANK THEE, LORD

We thank Thee, Lord,
That of Thy tender grace,
In our distress
Thou hast not left us wholly comfortless.

We thank Thee, Lord,
That of Thy wondrous might,
Into our night
Thou hast sent down the glory of the Light.

We thank Thee, Lord,
That all Thy wondrous ways,
Through all our days,
Are Wisdom, Right, and Ceaseless Tenderness.

THE VAIL

He only sees both sides of that dark vail
That hangs before men's eyes--
He only. It is well!
Hope ever stands unseen
Behind the screen,
For knowledge would bring Hope to sudden death,
And cloud the present with the coming ill.
I would lie still, Dear Lord,
I would lie still,
And stay my troubled heart on Thee,
Obedient to Thy will.

NO EAST OR WEST

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North,
But one great Fellowship of Love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find.
His service is the golden cord
Close-binding all mankind.

Join hands then, Brothers of the Faith,
Whatever your race may be!--
Who serves my Father as a son
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet South and North,
All Christly souls are one in Him,
Throughout the whole wide earth.

THE DAY--THE WAY

Not for one single day
Can I discern my way,
But this I surely know,--
Who gives the day,
Will show the way,
So I securely go.

LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY

O God, within whose sight
All men have equal right
To worship Thee.
Break every bar that holds
Thy flock in diverse folds!
Thy Will from none withholds
Full liberty.

Lord, set Thy Churches free
From foolish rivalry!
Lord, set us free!
Let all past bitterness
Now and for ever cease,
And all our souls possess
Thy charity!

Lord, set the people free!
Let all men draw to Thee
In unity!
Thy temple courts are wide,
Therein let all abide
In peace, and side by side,
Serve only Thee!

God, grant us now Thy peace!
Bid all dissensions cease!
God, send us peace!
Peace in True Liberty,
Peace in Equality,
Peace and Fraternity,
God, send us peace!

FREEMEN

Let no man stand between my God and me!
I claim a Free man's right
Of intercourse direct with Him,
Who gave me Freedom with the air and light.
God made me free.--
Let no man stand between
Me and my liberty!

We need no priest to tell us God is Love.--
Have we not eyes to see,
And minds to apprehend, and hearts
That leap responsive to His Charity?
God's gifts are free.--
Let no man stand between
Us and His liberty!

We need no priest to point a way to heaven.--
God's heaven is here,--is there,--
Man's birthright, with the light and air,--
"God is His own and best interpreter."
His ways are free.--
Let no man stand between
Us and His liberty!

Let no man strive to rob us of this right!
For this, from age to age,
Our fathers did a mighty warfare wage,
And, by God's help, we'll keep our heritage!
God says--"Be Free!"
And we,--
"NO MAN SHALL STAND BETWEEN
OUR SONS AND LIBERTY!"

THE LONG ROAD

Long the road,
Till Love came down it!
Dark the life,
Till Love did crown it!
Dark the life,
And long the road,
Till Love came
To share the load!
For the touch
Of Love transfigures
All the road
And all its rigours.
Life and Death,
Love's touch transfigures.
Life and Death
And all that lies
In between,
Love sanctifies.
Once the heavenly spark is lighted,
Once in love two hearts united,
Nevermore
Shall aught that was be
As before.

THE CHRIST

The good intent of God became the Christ.
And lived on earth--the Living Love of God,
That men might draw to closer touch with heaven,
Since Christ in all the ways of man hath trod.

THE BALLAD OF LOST SOULS

With the thirty pieces of silver,
They bought the Potter's Field;
For none would have the blood-money
And the interest it might yield.

The Place of Blood for the Price of Blood,
And that was meet, I ween,
For there they would bury the dead who died
In frowardness and sin.

And the first man they would bury there
Was Judas Iscariot;
And that was as dreadful a burying
As ever was, I wot.

For the sick earth would not keep him;
Each time it thrust him out,
And they that would have buried him
Stood shuddering round about.

And others they would bury
In that unhallowed spot,
But honest earth would none of them,
Because of Iscariot.

And oh, it was a fell, fell place,
With dead black trees all round,
And a quag that boiled and writhed and coiled
Where had been solid ground.

For every tree that stood there,
And the green grass every blade,
Shrivelled and died on every side,
Whenever the price was paid.

And in despair they left him there,
And there his body lay,
Till his sad soul came, all black with shame,
And carried it away.

And those denied a sepulture
In that most dismal spot,
Gibbered and flew, a ghastly crew,
Incensed with rage, that grew and grew,
Against Iscariot.

For their souls were all in torment,
While their bodies uncovered lay,
And never a moment's rest was theirs,
Either by night or day.

That was a place of wailings,
And the grisly things of Death,--
The bare black arms of the trees above,
And the black quag underneath.

No light of the moon fell on it,
Nor ever a star did shine
On the quivering face of that dread place,
Because of Iscariot's sin.

Then there came by the soul of Iscariot,
The same who sold his Lord,
And he dragged his body after him,

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest