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Poetry 101
Poetry 102
Poetry 102 Music
Gunga Din
Seasonal Poetry
Patriotic Poetry
Story Poetry
Christian Story Poetry

Christian Story Poetry
Table of contents


God Moves in a Mysterious Way

See It Through

The Burial of Moses

Vision of

Adam and Eve 

A Daughter of Eve

The Destruction
of Sennacherib

Noah's Flood


A Psalm Of Life

Hymn of Joy

Lucifer in

Praise, My Soul,
the King of Heaven


Righteous Wrath

Faith as a Grain
of Mustard Seed

Christ of

Psalm 19: Coeli Enarrant

He Is Our Peace 

E Tenebris

God's Garden

A Hymn to
God the Father

A Hymn to God
the Father

How Small a
Thing Am I

God's Grandeur


Christian Story Poetry


It is interesting to see how others, throughout time, have put historical episodes along with situations commong to all believers to verse.

Read them and see if you agree or disagree !



God Moves in a Mysterious Way
William Cowper
written 1774

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform:
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
With neverfailing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovreign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His Grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour:
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.


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See It Through
Edgar A. Guest

When you're up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it's vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don't let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you're beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don't give up, whate'er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!


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The Burial of Moses
Mrs. C. F. Alexander
Based on Deuteronomy 34:6 ...
And He buried him in a valley in the land of
Moab, over against Bethpeor:  but no man
knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

By Nebo's lonely mountain,
   On this side Jordan's wave,
In a vale in the land of Moab,
   There lies a lonely grave:
But no man dug that sepulcher,
   And no man saw it e'er;
For the angels of God upturned the sod,
   And laid the dead man there.

Thus was the grandest funeral
   That ever passed on earth;
But no man heard the tramping,
   Or saw the train go forth.
Noiselessly as the daylight
   Comes when the night is done,
And the crimson streak on ocean's cheek
   Grows into the great sun;

Noiselessly as the springtime
   Her crown of verdure waves,
And all the trees on all the hills
   Open their thousand leaves,
So, without sound of music,
   Or voice of them that wept,
Silently down from the mountain's crown
   The great procession swept.

Perchance the bald old eagle,
   On gray Bethpeor's height,
Out of his rocky eyrie,
   Looked on the wondrous sight;
Perchance the lion stalking
   Still shuns that hallowed spot:
For beast and bird have seen and heard
   That which man knoweth not.

But when the warrior dieth,
   His comrades in the war,
With arms reverersed, and muffled drum,
   Follow the funeral car;
They show the banners taken,
   They tell his battles won,
And after him lead his masterless steed,
   While peals the minute gun.

Amid the nobles of the land
   Men lay the sage to rest,
And give the bard an honored place,
   With costly marble drest,
In the great minster transept,
   Where lights like glories fall,
And the choir sings, and the organ rings,
   Along the emblazoned wall.

This was the truest warrior
   That ever buckled sword;
This the most gifted poet
   That ever breathed a word;
And never earth's philosopher
   Traced with his golden pen
On the deathless page, truths half so sage
   As he wrote down for men.

And had he not high honor?
   The hillside for his pall;
To lie in state while angels wait
   With stars for tapers tall;
And the dark rock pines, like tossing plumes,
   Over his bier to wave;
And God's own Hand, in that lonely land,
   To lay him in the grave,

In that strange grave, without a name,
   Whence his uncoffined clay
Shall break again O wondrous thought !
   Before the Judgment Day,
And stand with glory wrapped around,
   On the hills he never trod,
And speak of the strife, that won our life,
   With the incarnate Son of God.

O lonely grave in Moab's land !
   O dark Bethpeor's hill !
Speak to these curious hearts of ours,
   And teach them to be still.
God hath His mysterious of grace,
   Ways that we cannot tell:
He hides them deep, like the hidden sleep
   Of him He loved so well.

Special Note:  Mrs. Cecil Frances was the wife of a pastor in Strabare, Ireland.

Funeral car = hearse; tell = recount; peals = sounds;
minster transept = Westminster Abbey where many of England's great men are buried; curious= inquiringly; emblazoned = heraldic emblems or armorial signs;
curious = inquiringly


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Vision of Belshazzar
Lord Byron (1788-1824)

The king was on his throne,
   The satraps thronged the hall;
A thousand bright lamps shone
   O'er that high festival.
A thousand cups of gold,
   In Judah deemed divine, ---
Jehovah's vessels hold
   The godless heathen's wine!

In that same hour and hall,
   The Fingers of a Hand
Came forth against the wall,
   And wrote as if on sand.
The Fingers of a man ---
   A solitary Hand ---
Along the letters ran,
   And traced them like a wand.

The monarch saw, and shook,
   And bade no more rejoice;
All Bloodless waxed his look,
   And tremulous his voice.
"Let the men of lore appear,
   The wisest of the earth,
And expound the words of fear
   Which mar our royal mirth."

Chaldea's seers are good,
   But here they have no skill,
And the unknown letters stood
   Untold and awful still.
And Babel's men of age
   Are wise and deep in lore;
But now they were not sage:
   They saw, but knew no more.

A captive in the land,
   A stranger and a youth.
He heard the king's command,
   He saw that writing's truth.
The lamps around were bright,
   The prophecy in view:
He read it on that night, ---
The morrow proved it true.

"Belshazzar's grave is made,
   His kingdom passed away:
He, in the balance weighed,
   Is light and worthless clay:
The shroud his robe of state,
   His canopy in stone;
The Mede is at his gate,
The Persian on his throne!"

expound = explain; sage = wise; satraps = provincial governors;
waxed = grew/became; Babel = Babylon; Mede/Persian = people that inhabited empire of Media and Persia


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Adam and Eve
Marjorie Pickthall

When the first dark had fallen around them
And the leaves were weary of praise,
In the clear silence Beauty found them
And shewed them all her ways.

In the high noon of the heavenly garden
Where the angels sunned with the birds,
Beauty, before their hearts could harden,
Had taught them heavenly words.

When they fled in the burning weather
And nothing dawned but a dream,
Beauty fasted their hands together
And cooled them at her stream.

And when day wearied and night grew stronger,
And they slept as the beautiful must,
Then she bided a little longer,
And blossomed from their dust.


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A Daughter of Eve
Christina Rossetti

A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
I weep as I have never wept:
Oh it was summer when I slept,
It's winter now I waken.

Talk what you please of future spring
And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:  
Stripp'd bare of hope and everything,
No more to laugh, no more to sing,
I sit alone with sorrow.


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The Destruction of Sennacherib
George Gordon Lord Byron

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

See:  2 Kings 18-19


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Noah's Flood
Michael Drayton

Eternal and all-working God, which wast
Before the world, whose frame by Thee was cast,
And beautified with beamful lamps above,
By thy great wisdom set how they should move
To guide the seasons, equally to all,
Which come and go as they do rise and fall.

My mighty Maker, O do thou infuse
Such life and spirit into my labouring Muse,
That I may sing (what but from Noah thou hid'st)
The greatest thing that ever yet thou didst
Since the creation; that the world may see
The Muse is heavenly and deriv'd from Thee.

O let Thy glorious Angel which since kept
That gorgeous Eden, where once Adam slept,
When tempting Eve was taken from his side,
Let him great God not only be my guide,
But with his fiery faucheon still be nie,
To keep affliction far from me, that I
With a free soul thy wondrous works may show,
Then like that deluge shall my numbers flow,
Telling the state wherein the earth then stood,
The giant race, the universal flood.

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Robert Browning


Said Abner, "At last thou art come! Ere I tell, ere thou speak,
Kiss my cheek, wish me well!" Then I wished it, and did kiss his cheek.
And he:  "Since the King, O my friend, for thy countenance sent,
Neither drunken nor eaten have we; nor until from his tent
Thou return with the joyful assurance the King liveth yet,
Shall our lip with the honey be bright, with the water be wet.
For out of the black mid-tent's silence, a space of three days,
Not a sound hath escaped to thy servants, of prayer nor of praise,
To betoken that Saul and the Spirit have ended their strife,
And that, faint in his triumph, the monarch sinks back upon life.


"Yet now my heart leaps, O beloved! God's child with His dew
On thy gracious gold hair, and those lilies still living and blue
Just broken to twine round thy harp-strings, as if no wild heat
Were now raging to torture the desert!"


Then I, as was meet,
Knelt down to the God of my fathers, and rose on my feet,
And ran o'er the sand burnt to powder. The tent was unlooped;
I pulled up the spear that obstructed, and under I stooped;
Hands and knees on the slippery grass-patch, all withered and gone,
That extends to the second enclosure, I groped my way on
Till I felt where the fold-skirts fly open. Then once more I prayed,
And opened the fold-skirts and entered, and was not afraid
But spoke, "Here is David, thy servant!" And no voice replied.
At the first I saw naught but the blackness: but soon I descried
A something more black than the blacknessthe vast, the upright
Main prop which sustains the pavilion:  and slow into sight
Grew a figure against it, gigantic and blackest of all.
Then a sunbeam, that burst through the tent-roof, showed Saul.


He stood as erect as that tent-prop, both arms stretched out wide
On the great cross-support in the centre, that goes to each side;
He relaxed not a muscle, but hung there as, caught in his pangs
And waiting his change, the king-serpent all heavily hangs,
Far away from his kind, in the pine, till deliverance come
With the spring-time,so agonized Saul, drear and stark, blind and dumb.


Then I tuned my harp,took off the lilies we twine round its chords
Lest they snap 'neath the stress of the noontidethose sunbeams like swords!
And I first played the tune all our sheep know, as, one after one,
So docile they come to the pen-door till folding be done.
They are white and untorn by the bushes, for lo, they have fed
Where the long grasses stifle the water within the stream's bed;
And now one after one seeks its lodging, as star follows star
Into eve and the blue far above us,so blue and so far!


Then the tune for which quails on the corn-land will each leave his mate
To fly after the player; then, what makes the crickets elate
Till for boldness they fight one another; and then, what has weight
To set the quick jerboa a-musing outside his sand house
There are none such as he for a wonder, half bird and half mouse!
God made all the creatures and gave them our love and our fear,
To give sign, we and they are his children, one family here.


Then I played the help-tune of our reapers, their wine-song, when hand
Grasps at hand, eye lights eye in good friendship, and great hearts expand
And grow one in the sense of this world's life.And then, the last song
When the dead man is praised on his journey"Bear, bear him along,
With his few faults shut up like dead flowerets! Are balm seeds not here
To console us? The land has none left such as he on the bier.
Oh, would we might keep thee, my brother!"And then, the glad chaunt
Of the marriage,first go the young maidens, next, she whom we vaunt
As the beauty, the pride of our dwelling.And then, the great march
Wherein man runs to man to assist him and buttress an arch
Nought can break; who shall harm them. our friends? Then, the chorus intoned
As the Levites go up to the altar in glory enthroned.
But I stopped here: for here in the darkness Saul groaned.


And I paused, held my breath in such silence, and listened apart;
And the tent shook, for mighty Saul shuddered: and sparkles 'gan dart
From the jewels that woke in his turban, at once, with a start,
All its lordly male-sapphires, and rubies courageous at heart.
So the head: but the body still moved not, still hung there erect.
And I bent once again to my playing, pursued it unchecked,
As I sang,


"Oh, our manhood's prime vigour! No spirit feels waste,
Not a muscle is stopped in its playing nor sinew unbraced.
Oh, the wild joys of living! the leaping from rock up to rock,
The strong rending of boughs from the fir-tree, the cool silver shock
Of the plunge in a pool's living water, the hunt of the bear,
And the sultriness showing the lion is couched in his lair.
And the meal, the rich dates yellowed over with gold dust divine,
And the locust-flesh steeped in the pitcher, the full draught of wine,
And the sleep in the dried river-channel where bulrushes tell
That the water was wont to go warbling so softly and well.
How good is man's life, the mere living! how fit to employ
All the heart and the soul and the senses forever in joy!
Hast thou loved the white locks of thy father, whose sword thou didst guard
When he trusted thee forth with the armies, for glorious reward?
Didst thou see the thin hands of thy mother, held up as men sung
The low song of the nearly-departed, and hear her faint tongue
Joining in while it could to the witness, "Let one more attest,
I have lived, seen God's hand, thro' a life-time, and all was for best?"
Then they sung through their tears in strong triumph, not much, but the rest.
And thy brothers, the help and the contest, the working whence grew
Such result as, from seething grape-bundles, the spirit strained true:
And the friends of thy boyhoodthat boyhood of wonder and hope,
Present promise and wealth of the future beyond the eye's scope,
Till lo, thou art grown to a monarch; a people is thine;
And all gifts, which the world offers singly, on one head combine!
On one head, all the beauty and strength, love and rage (like the throe
That, a-work in the rock, helps its labour and lets the gold go)
High ambition and deeds which surpass it, fame crowning them,all
Brought to blaze on the head of one creatureKing Saul!"


And lo, with that leap of my spirit,--heart, hand, harp and voice,
Each lifting Saul's name out of sorrow, each bidding rejoice
Saul's fame in the light it was made for--as when, dare I say,
The Lord's army, in rapture of service, strains through its array,
And upsoareth the cherubim-chariot"Saul!" cried I, and stopped,
And waited the thing that should follow. Then Saul, who hung propped
By the tent's cross-support in the centre, was struck by his name.
Have ye seen when Spring's arrowy summons goes right to the aim,
And some mountain, the last to withstand her, that held (he alone,
While the vale laughed in freedom and flowers) on a broad bust of stone
A year's snow bound about for a breast-plate,leaves grasp of the sheet?
Fold on fold all at once it crowds thunderously down to his feet,
And there fronts you, stark, black, but alive yet, your mountain of old,
With his rents, the successive bequeathings of ages untold
Yea, each harm got in fighting your battles, each furrow and scar
Of his head thrust 'twixt you and the tempestall hail, there they are!
Now again to be softened with verdure, again hold the nest
Of the dove, tempt the goat and its young to the green on his crest
For their food in the ardours of summer. One long shudder thrilled
All the tent till the very air tingled, then sank and was stilled
At the King's self left standing before me, released and aware.
What was gone, what remained? All to traverse 'twixt hope and despair;
Death was past, life not come: so he waited. Awhile his right hand
Held the brow, helped the eyes left too vacant forthwith to remand
To their place what new objects should enter: 'twas Saul as before.
I looked up and dared gaze at those eyes, nor was hurt any more
Than by slow pallid sunsets in autumn, ye watch from the shore,
At their sad level gaze o'er the oceana sun's slow decline
Over hills which, resolved in stern silence, o'erlap and entwine
Base with base to knit strength more intensely: so, arm folded arm
O'er the chest whose slow heavings subsided.


What spell or what charm,
(For awhile there was trouble within me), what next should I urge
To sustain him where song had restored him?Song filled to the verge
His cup with the wine of this life, pressing all that it yields
Of mere fruitage, the strength and the beauty: beyond, on what fields,
Glean a vintage more potent and perfect to brighten the eye
And bring blood to the lip, and commend them the cup they put by?
He saith, "It is good"; still he drinks not: he lets me praise life,
Gives assent, yet would die for his own part.


Then fancies grew rife
Which had come long ago on the pasture, when round me the sheep
Fed in silenceabove, the one eagle wheeled slow as in sleep;
And I lay in my hollow and mused on the world that might lie
'Neath his ken, though I saw but the strip 'twixt the hill and the sky:
And I laughed"Since my days are ordained to be passed with my flocks
Let me people at least, with my fancies, the plains and the rocks,
Dream the life I am never to mix with, and image the show
Of mankind as they live in those fashions I hardly shall know!
Schemes of life, its best rules and right uses, the courage that gains,
And the prudence that keeps what men strive for." And now these old trains
Of vague thought came again; I grew surer; so, once more the string
Of my harp made response to my spirit, as thus


"Yea, my King,"
I began"thou dost well in rejecting mere comforts that spring
From the mere mortal life held in common by man and by brute:
In our flesh grows the branch of this life, in our soul it bears fruit.
Thou hast marked the slow rise of the tree,how its stem trembled first
Till it passed the kid's lip, the stag's antler; then safely outburst
The fan-branches all round; and thou mindest when these too, in turn,
Broke a-bloom and the palm-tree seemed perfect: yet more was to learn,
E'en the good that comes in with the palm-fruit. Our dates shall we slight,
When their juice brings a cure for all sorrow? or care for the plight
Of the palm's self whose slow growth produced them? Not so! stem and branch
Shall decay, nor be known in their place, while the palm-wine shall staunch
Every wound of man's spirit in winter.  I pour thee such wine.
Leave the flesh to the fate it was fit for! the spirit be thine!
By the spirit, when age shall o'ercome thee, thou still shalt enjoy
More indeed, than at first when inconscious, the life of a boy.
Crush that life, and behold its wine running!  Each deed thou hast done
Dies, revives, goes to work in the world; until e'en as the sun
Looking down on the earth though clouds spoil him, though tempests efface,
Can find nothing his own deed produced not, must everywhere trace
The results of his past summer-prime,so, each ray of thy will,
Every flash of thy passion and prowess, long over, shall thrill
Thy whole people, the countless, with ardour, till they too give forth
A like cheer to their sons, who in turn, fill the South and the North
With the radiance thy deed was the germ of. Carouse in the past!
But the license of age has its limit; thou diest at last:
As the lion when age dims his eyeball, the rose at her height,
So with manso his power and his beauty forever take flight.
No! Again a long draught of my soul-wine! Look forth o'er the years!
Thou hast done now with eyes for the actual; begin with the seer's!
Is Saul dead?  In the depth of the vale make his tombbid arise
A gray mountain of marble heaped four-square, till, built to the skies,
Let it mark where the great First King slumbers: whose fame would ye know?
Up and above see the rock's naked face, where the record shall go
In great characters cut by the scribe,Such was Saul, so he did;
With the sages directing the work, by the populace chid,
For not half, they'll affirm, is comprised there! Which fault to amend,
In the grove with his kind grows the cedar, whereon they shall spend
(See, in tablets 'tis level before them) their praise, and record
With the gold of the graver, Saul's story,the statesman's great word
Side by side with the poet's sweet comment. The river's a-wave
With smooth paper-reeds grazing each other when prophet-winds rave:
So the pen gives unborn generations their due and their part
In thy being! Then, first of the mighty, thank God that thou art!"


And behold while I sang . . . but O thou who didst grant me that day,
And before it not seldom hast granted thy help to essay,
Carry on and complete an adventure,--my shield and my sword
In that act where my soul was thy servant, thy word was my word,
Still be with me, who then at the summit of human endeavour
And scaling the highest, man's thought could, gazed hopeless as ever
On the new stretch of heaven above metill, mighty to save,
Just one lift of thy hand cleared that distanceGod's throne from man's grave!
Let me tell out my tale to its endingmy voice to my heart
Which can scarce dare believe in what marvels last night I took part,
As this morning I gather the fragments, alone with my sheep,
And still fear lest the terrible glory evanish like sleep!
For I wake in the gray dewy covert, while Hebron upheaves
The dawn struggling with night on his shoulder, and Kidron retrieves
Slow the damage of yesterday's sunshine.


I say then, my song
While I sang thus, assuring the monarch, and ever more strong
Made a proffer of good to console himhe slowly resumed
His old motions and habitudes kingly. The right hand replumed
His black locks to their wonted composure, adjusted the swathes
Of his turban, and seethe huge sweat that his countenance bathes,
He wipes off with the robe; and he girds now his loins as of yore,
And feels slow for the armlets of price, with the clasp set before.
He is Saul, ye remember in glory,ere error had bent
The broad brow from the daily communion; and still, though much spent
Be the life and the bearing that front you, the same, God did choose,
To receive what a man may waste, desecrate, never quite lose.
So sank he along by the tent-prop till, stayed by the pile
Of his armour and war-cloak and garments, he leaned there awhile,
And sat out my singing,one arm round the tent-prop, to raise
His bent head, and the other hung slacktill I touched on the praise
I foresaw from all men in all time, to the man patient there;
And thus ended, the harp falling forward. Then first I was 'ware
That he sat, as I say, with my head just above his vast knees
Which were thrust out on each side around me, like oak roots which please
To encircle a lamb when it slumbers. I looked up to know
If the best I could do had brought solace:  he spoke not, but slow
Lifted up the hand slack at his side, till he laid it with care
Soft and grave, but in mild settled will, on my brow:  through my hair
The large fingers were pushed, and he bent back my head, with kind power
6All my face back, intent to peruse it, as men do a flower.
Thus held he me there with his great eyes that scrutinized mine
And oh, all my heart how it loved him! but where was the sign?
I yearned"could I help thee, my father, inventing a bliss,
I would add, to that life of the past, both the future and this;
I would give thee new life altogether, as good, ages hence,
As this moment,had love but the warrant, love's heart to dispense!"


Then the truth came upon me. No harp moreno song more! outbroke


"I have gone the whole round of creation: I saw and I spoke:
I, a work of God's hand for that purpose received in my brain
And pronounced on the rest of his hand-workreturned him again
His creation's approval or censure: I spoke as I saw:
I report, as a man may of God's workall's love, yet all's law.
Now I lay down the judgeship he lent me. Each faculty tasked
To perceive him, has gained an abyss, where a dewdrop was asked.
Have I knowledge? confounded it shrivels at Wisdom laid bare.
Have I forethought? how purblind, how blank to the Infinite Care!
Do I task any faculty highest, to image success?
I but open my eyes,--and perfection, no more and no less,
In the kind I imagined, full-fronts me, and God is seen God
In the star, in the stone, in the flesh, in the soul and the clod.
And thus looking within and around me, I ever renew
(With that stoop of the soul which in bending upraises it too)
The submission of man's nothing-perfect to God's all-complete,
As by each new obeisance in spirit, I climb to his feet.
Yet with all this abounding experience, this deity known,
I shall dare to discover some province, some gift of my own.
There's a faculty pleasant to exercise, hard to hoodwink,
I am fain to keep still in abeyance, (I laugh as I think)
Lest, insisting to claim and parade in it, wot ye, I worst
E'en the Giver in one gift.Behold, I could love if I durst!
But I sink the pretension as fearing a man may o'ertake
God's own speed in the one way of love:  I abstain for love's sake.
What, my soul? see thus far and no farther? when doors great and small,
Nine-and-ninety flew ope at our touch, should the hundreth appal?
In the least things have faith, yet distrust in the greatest of all?
Do I find love so full in my nature, God's ultimate gift,
That I doubt his own love can compete with it? Here, the parts shift?

Here, the creature surpass the Creator,the end, what Began?
Would I fain in my impotent yearning do all for this man,
And dare doubt he alone shall not help him, who yet alone can?
Would it ever have entered my mind, the bare will, much less power,
To bestow on this Saul what I sang of, the marvellous dower
Of the life he was gifted and filled with? to make such a soul,
Such a body, and then such an earth for insphering the whole?
And doth it not enter my mind (as my warm tears attest)
These good things being given, to go on, and give one more, the best?
Ay, to save and redeem and restore him, maintain at the height
Thus perfection,succeed with life's dayspring, death's minute of night?
Interpose at the difficult minute, snatch Saul the mistake,
Saul the failure, the ruin he seems nowand bid him awake
From the dream, the probation, the prelude, to find himself
Clear and safe in new light and new life,a new harmony yet
To be run, and continued, and endedwho knows?or endure!
The man taught enough by life's dream, of the rest to make sure;
By the pain-throb, triumphantly winning intensified bliss,
And the next world's reward and repose, by the struggles in this.


"I believe it! 'Tis Thou, God, that givest, 'tis I who receive:
In the first is the last, in thy will is my power to believe.
All 's one gift: thou canst grant it moreover, as prompt to my prayer
As I breathe out this breath, as I open these arms to the air.
From thy will stream the worlds, life and nature, thy dread Sabaoth:
I will?the mere atoms despise me! Why am I not loth
To look that, even that in the face too? Why is it I dare
Think but lightly of such impuissance? What stops my despair?
This;'tis not what man Does which exalts him, but what man Would do!
See the KingI would help him but cannot, the wishes fall through.
Could I wrestle to raise him from sorrow, grow poor to enrich,
To fill up his life, starve my own out, I wouldknowing which,
I know that my service is perfect. Oh, speak through me now!
Would I suffer for him that I love? So wouldst thouso wilt thou!
So shall crown thee the topmost, ineffablest, uttermost crown
And thy love fill infinitude wholly, nor leave up nor down
One spot for the creature to stand in! It is by no breath,
Turn of eye, wave of hand, that salvation joins issue with death!
As thy Love is discovered almighty, almighty be proved
Thy power, that exists with and for it, of being Beloved!
He who did most, shall bear most; the strongest shall stand the most weak.
'Tis the weakness in strength, that I cry for! my flesh, that I seek
In the Godhead! I seek and I find it. O Saul, it shall be
A Face like my face that receives thee; a Man like to me,
Thou shalt love and be loved by, forever: a Hand like this hand
Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee! See the Christ stand!"


I know not too well how I found my way home in the night.
There were witnesses, cohorts about me, to left and to right,
Angels, powers, the unuttered, unseen, the alive, the aware:
I repressed, I got through them as hardly, as strugglingly there,
As a runner beset by the populace famished for news
Life or death. The whole earth was awakened, hell loosed with her crews;
And the stars of night beat with emotion, and tingled and shot
Out in fire the strong pain of pent knowledge: but I fainted not,
For the Hand still impelled me at once and supported, suppressed
All the tumult, and quenched it with quiet, and holy behest,
Till the rapture was shut in itself, and the earth sank to rest.
Anon at the dawn, all that trouble had withered from earth
Not so much, but I saw it die out in the day's tender birth;
In the gathered intensity brought to the grey of the hills;
In the shuddering forests' held breath; in the sudden wind-thrills;
In the startled wild beasts that bore off, each with eye sidling still
Though averted with wonder and dread; in the birds stiff and chill
That rose heavily, as I approached them, made stupid with awe:
E'en the serpent that slid away silent,--he felt the new law.
The same stared in the white humid faces upturned by the flowers;
The same worked in the heart of the cedar and moved the vine-bowers:
And the little brooks witnessing murmured, persistent and low,
With their obstinate, all but hushed voices--
"E'en so, it is so!"

basis of the poem = I Samuel 16 (Abner: "the captain of the host"
(I Samuel 17:55)
jerboa = small rodent resembling a kangaroo
male-sapphires = darker colored sapphires
strains = joy of serving the Lord
Hebron = town SW of Jerusalem; Browning is referring to a mountain
Kidron = a brook (See: II Samuel 15:23)
Sabaoth = armies / hosts (Hebrew)

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A Psalm Of Life
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream !
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act, act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

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Hymn of Joy
Henry Van Dyke


Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Praising Thee their sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise:
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Blooming meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird and flowing fountain,
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living,
Ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine:
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the Joy Divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father-love is reigning o'er us,
Brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music lifts us sunward
In the triumph song of life.

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Lucifer in Starlight
George Meredith

On a starred night Prince Lucifer uprose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
Above the rolling ball in cloud part screened,
Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he leaned,
Now his huge bulk o'er Afric's sands careened,
Now the black planet shadowed Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars
With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
He reached a middle height, and at the stars,
Which are the brain of heaven, he looked, and sank.
Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank,
The army of unalterable law.

the old revolt from Awe = Satan, the archangel, losing his rebellion against God.

Special Note:  See Screwtape Letters

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Praise, my Soul, the King of Heaven
(Psalm 103)
Henry Francis Lyte

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet Thy tribute bring!
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me His praise should sing?
Praise Him! praise Him!
Praise the everlasting King!

Praise Him for His grace and favour,
To our fathers in distress!
Praise Him still the same for ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless!
Praise Him! praise Him!
Glorious in His faithfulness!

Father-like, He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes,
Praise Him! praise Him!
Widely as His mercy flows!

Frail as summer's flower we flourish:
Blows the wind, and it is gone.
But while mortals rise and perish,
God endures unchanging on.
Praise Him, Praise Him,
Praise the high eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face:
Sun and moon, bow down before Him;
Dwellers all in time and space,
Praise Him! praise Him!
Praise with us the God of grace!

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George Herbert

Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
The land of spices; something understood.

Engine = military machine

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Righteous Wrath
Henry Van Dyke

There are many kinds of hatred, as many kinds of fire;
And some are fierce and fatal with murderous desire;
And some are mean and craven, revengeful, sullen, slow,
They hurt the man that holds them more than they hurt his foe.

And yet there is a hatred that purifies the heart:
The anger of the better against the baser part,
Against the false and wicked, against the tyrant's sword,
Against the enemies of love, and all that hate the Lord.

O cleansing indignation, O flame of righteous wrath,
Give me a soul to feel thee and follow in thy path!
Save me from selfish virtue, arm me for fearless fight,
And give me strength to carry on, a soldier of the Right!

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Faith as a Grain of Mustard-Seed
A Parable Of Jesus

Christopher Smart

THE Twelve to Christ, their Master, cry'd,
"Increase our faith!" The Lord reply'd,
If you had lively faith, indeed,
But as a grain of mustard-seed,
You might this sycomore command
To grow by sea and quit the land.
But whatsoe'er by faith is known,
Or done by works, is God's alone.
For which of you shall have a hand,
That plows and fodders at command;
And to him thus anon shall say,
Loos'd from the labour of the day,
"Go, get thee in, and take thy mess";
And shall not rather thus address,
"Make ready that on which I sup,
And gird thyself, and bring it up;
And when thou'st serv'd my bowl and meat,
Then likewise thou shalt drink and eat."
What are the Master's thanks conferr'd
On him, who thus obey'd His word?
Not they, I trowSo likewise you,
That done you were enjoin'd to do,
Shall better with submission own
Before your Master's aweful throne,
"Our duty is but barely paid,
And 'twas by force that we obey'd;
And all our services are vain
In which are neither grace nor gain."

sycomore = species of fig


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Christ of Everywhere
Henry Van Dyke

"CHRIST of the Andes," Christ of Everywhere,
Great lover of the hills, the open air,
And patient lover of impatient men
Who blindly strive and sin and strive again,
Thou Living Word, larger than any creed,
Thou Love Divine, uttered in human deed,
Oh, teach the world, warring and wandering still,
Thy way of Peace, the foot path of Good Will!


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Psalm 19:  Coeli enarrant
Sir Philip Sidney
(1554 - 1586)
English Gentleman, Poet, and Soldier

The heavenly frame sets forth the fame
Of him that only thunders;
The firmament, so strangely bent,
Shows his handworking wonders.

Day unto day doth it display,
Their course doth it acknowledge,
And night to night succeeding right
In darkness teach clear knowledge.

There is no speech, no language which
Is so of skill bereaved,
But of the skies the teaching cries
They have heard and conceived.

There be no eyen but read the line
From so fair book proceeding,
Their words be set in letters great
For everybody's reading.

Is not he blind that doth not find
The tabernacle builded
There by His Grace for sun's fair face
In beams of beauty gilded?

Who forth doth come, like a bridegroom,
From out his veiling places,
As glad is he, as giants be
To run their mighty races.

His race is even from ends of heaven;
About that vault he goeth;
There be no realms hid from his beams;
His heat to all he throweth.

O law of His, how perfect 'tis
The very soul amending;
God's witness sure for aye doth dure
To simplest wisdom lending.

God's dooms be right, and cheer the sprite,
All His commandments being
So purely wise it gives the eyes
Both light and force of seeing.

Of Him the fear doth cleanness bear
And so endures forever,
His judgments be self verity,
They are unrighteous never.

Then what man would so soon seek gold
Or glittering golden money?
By them is past in sweetest taste,
Honey or comb of honey.

By them is made Thy servants' trade
Most circumspectly guarded,
And who doth frame to keep the same
Shall fully be rewarded.

Who is the man that ever can
His faults know and acknowledge?
O Lord, cleanse me from faults that be
Most secret from all knowledge.

Thy servant keep, lest in him creep
Presumtuous sins' offenses;
Let them not have me for their slave
Nor reign upon my senses.

So shall my sprite be still upright
In thought and conversation,
So shall I bide well purified
From much abomination.

So let words sprung from my weak tongue
And my heart's meditation,
My saving might, Lord, in Thy sight,
Receive good acceptation!

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He Is Our Peace
William Byron Forbush

O Heavenly Father, fold me close to Thee.
I look up in Thy peaceful eyes tonight
With naught in mine but an unreasoning fright,
And nestle like a bird that would be free.
Then, tired even of this, all wearily
I shade my face from the too-dazzling light
Upon Thy breast, and long if I but might
Forever in this haven cradled be.

Oh, what is there in the hot streets of life
Whereon I wander that can give me peace,
Or where can I lie down, assured of rest?
Without I hear but noise and din of strife,
The howl and wail and cries that never cease;
Within, the stillness of Thy holy breast.


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E Tenebris
Oscar Wilde

COME down, O Christ, and help me! reach thy hand,
For I am drowning in a stormier sea
Than Simon on Thy lake of Galilee:
The wine of life is spilt upon the sand,
My heart is as some famine-murdered land,
Whence all good things have perished utterly,
And well I know my soul in Hell must lie
If I this night before God's throne should stand.
"He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase,
Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name
From morn to noon on Carmel's smitten height."
Nay, peace, I shall behold before the night,
The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame,
The wounded hands, the weary human face.


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God's Garden
Dorothy Frances Gurney

THE Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.

And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.

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A Hymn to God the Father
Ben Jonson

Hear me, O God!
A broken heart
Is my best part.
Use still thy rod,
That I may prove
Therein thy Love.

If thou hadst not
Been stern to me,
But left me free,
I had forgot
Myself and thee.

For sin's so sweet,
As minds ill-bent
Rarely repent,
Until they meet
Their punishment.

Who more can crave
Than thou hast done?
That gav'st a Son,
To free a slave,
First made of nought;
With all since bought.

Sin, Death, and Hell
His glorious name
Quite overcame,
Yet I rebel
And slight the same.

But I'll come in
Before my loss
Me farther toss,
As sure to win
Under His cross.

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A Hymn to God the Father
John Donne

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

Izaak Walton reports this poem was written during a dangerous illness in1623.

thou hast not done = here and elsewhere a pun on poet's name.


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How Small a Thing Am I
Arthur Christopher Benson

How small a thing am I, of no repute,
Whirled in the rush of these eternal tides;
Spun daily round upon this orb that rides
Among its peers, itself how most minute!

Yet as I muse in sad comparison,
Restless and frail, I thrill with sudden awe,
Clasped in the large embrace of life and law
That, howsoe'er I falter, bear me on.

So should a drop within the sluggish vein
Of some vast saurian, (that slumbers deep
In seas undreamed of, rolling through the swell)
In labyrinthine artery swim and creep,
Yet hear far off, again and yet again,
The vasty heart beat in his central cell.



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God's Grandeur
Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed.  Why do men then now not reck His rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge & shares man's smell:  the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast & with ah! bright wings.

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