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Fifth Sunday After Easter - Rogation Sunday

John Keble 1792 (Fairford) – 1866 (Bournemouth)

Now is there solemn pause in earth and heaven;
  The Conqueror now
  His bonds hath riven,
And Angels wonder why He stays below:
  Yet hath not man his lesson learned,
  How endless love should be returned.

Deep is the silence as of summer noon,
  When a soft shower
  Will trickle soon,
A gracious rain, freshening the weary bower -
  O sweetly then far off is heard
  The clear note of some lonely bird.

So let Thy turtle-dove's sad call arise
  In doubt and fear
  Through darkening skies,
And pierce, O Lord, Thy justly-sealed ear,
  Where on the house-top, all night long
  She trills her widowed, faltering song.

Teach her to know and love her hour of prayer,
  And evermore,
  As faith grows rare,
Unlock her heart, and offer all its store
  In holier love and humbler vows,
  As suits a lost returning spouse.

Not as at first, but with intenser cry,
  Upon the mount
  She now must lie,
Till Thy dear love to blot the sad account
  Of her rebellious race be won,
  Pitying the mother in the son.

But chiefly (for she knows Thee angered worst
  By holiest things
  Profaned and curst),
Chiefly for Aaron's seed she spreads her wings,
  If but one leaf she may from Thee
  Win of the reconciling tree.

For what shall heal, when holy water banes!
  Or who may guide
  O'er desert plains
Thy loved yet sinful people wandering wide,
  If Aaron's hand unshrinking mould
  An idol form of earthly gold?

Therefore her tears are bitter, and as deep
  Her boding sigh,
  As, while men sleep,
Sad-hearted mothers heave, that wakeful lie,
  To muse upon some darling child
  Roaming in youth's uncertain wild.

Therefore on fearful dreams her inward sight
  Is fain to dwell -
  What lurid light
Shall the last darkness of the world dispel,
  The Mediator in His wrath
  Descending down the lightning's path.

Yet, yet awhile, offended Saviour, pause,
  In act to break
  Thine outraged laws,
O spare Thy rebels for Thine own dear sake;
  Withdraw Thine hand, nor dash to earth
  The covenant of our second birth.

'Tis forfeit like the first--we own it all -
  Yet for love's sake
  Let it not fall;
But at Thy touch let veiled hearts awake,
  That nearest to Thine altar lie,
  Yet least of holy things descry.

Teacher of teachers! Priest of priests! from Thee
  The sweet strong prayer
  Must rise, to free
First Levi, then all Israel, from the snare.
  Thou art our Moses out of sight -
  Speak for us, or we perish quite.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:09 min read

John Keble

John Keble was an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement. Keble College, Oxford was named after him. more…

All John Keble poems | John Keble Books

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