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Gunpowder Treason

John Keble 1792 (Fairford) – 1866 (Bournemouth)

Beneath the burning eastern sky
  The Cross was raised at morn:
The widowed Church to weep stood by,
  The world, to hate and scorn.

Now, journeying westward, evermore
  We know the lonely Spouse
By the dear mark her Saviour bore
  Traced on her patient brows.

At Rome she wears it, as of old
  Upon th' accursed hill:
By monarchs clad in gems and gold,
  She goes a mourner still.

She mourns that tender hearts should bend
  Before a meaner shrine,
And upon Saint or Angel spend
  The love that should be thine.

By day and night her sorrows fall
  Where miscreant hands and rude
Have stained her pure ethereal pall
  With many a martyr's blood.

And yearns not her parental heart,
  To hear THEIR secret sighs,
Upon whose doubting way apart
  Bewildering shadows rise?

Who to her side in peace would cling,
  But fear to wake, and find
What they had deemed her genial wing
  Was Error's soothing blind.

She treasures up each throbbing prayer:
  Come, trembler, come and pour
Into her bosom all thy care,
  For she has balm in store.

Her gentle teaching sweetly blends
  With this clear light of Truth
The aerial gleam that Fancy lends
  To solemn thoughts in youth. -

If thou hast loved, in hours of gloom,
  To dream the dead are near,
And people all the lonely room
  With guardian spirits dear,

Dream on the soothing dream at will:
  The lurid mist is o'er,
That showed the righteous suffering still
  Upon th' eternal shore.

If with thy heart the strains accord,
  That on His altar-throne
Highest exalt thy glorious Lord,
  Yet leave Him most thine own;

Oh, come to our Communion Feast:
  There present, in the heart
As in the hands, th' eternal Priest
  Will His true self impart. -

Thus, should thy soul misgiving turn
  Back to the enchanted air,
Solace and warning thou mayst learn
  From all that tempts thee there.

And, oh! by all the pangs and fears
  Fraternal spirits know,
When for an elder's shame the tears
  Of wakeful anguish flow,

Speak gently of our sister's fall:
  Who knows but gentle love
May win her at our patient call
  The surer way to prove?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:51 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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