John Keble

Here you will find theLong PoemFifth Sunday In Lentof poet John Keble

Fifth Sunday In Lent

The historic Muse, from age to age, Through many a waste heart-sickening page Hath traced the works of Man: But a celestial call to-day Stays her, like Moses, on her way, The works of God to scan. Far seen across the sandy wild, Where, like a solitary child, He thoughtless roamed and free, One towering thorn was wrapt in flame - Bright without blaze it went and came: Who would not turn and see? Along the mountain ledges green The scattered sheep at will may glean The Desert's spicy stores: The while, with undivided heart, The shepherd talks with God apart, And, as he talks, adores. Ye too, who tend Christ's wildering flock, Well may ye gather round the rock That once was Sion's hill: To watch the fire upon the mount Still blazing, like the solar fount, Yet unconsuming still. Caught from that blaze by wrath Divine, Lost branches of the once-loved vine, Now withered, spent, and sere, See Israel's sons, like glowing brands, Tossed wildly o'er a thousand lands For twice a thousand year. God will not quench nor slay them quite, But lifts them like a beacon-light The apostate Church to scare; Or like pale ghosts that darkling roam, Hovering around their ancient home, But find no refuge there. Ye blessed Angels! if of you There be, who love the ways to view Of Kings and Kingdoms here; (And sure, 'tis worth an Angel's gaze, To see, throughout that dreary maze, God teaching love and fear Oh say, in all the bleak expanse Is there a spot to win your glance, So bright, so dark as this? A hopeless faith, a homeless race, Yet seeking the most holy place, And owning the true bliss! Salted with fire they seem, to show How spirits lost in endless woe May undecaying live. Oh, sickening thought! yet hold it fast Long as this glittering world shall last, Or sin at heart survive. And hark! amid the flashing fire, Mingling with tones of fear and ire, Soft Mercy's undersong - 'Tis Abraham's God who speaks so loud, His people's cries have pierced the cloud, He sees, He sees their wrong; He is come down to break their chain; Though nevermore on Sion's fane His visible ensign wave; 'Tis Sion, wheresoe'er they dwell, Who, with His own true Israel, Shall own Him strong to save. He shall redeem them one by one, Where'er the world-encircling sun Shall see them meekly kneel: All that He asks on Israel's part, Is only that the captive heart Its woe and burthen feel. Gentiles! with fixed yet awful eye Turn ye this page of mystery, Nor slight the warning sound: "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet - The place where man his God shall meet, Be sure, is holy ground."