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King Charles the Martyr

John Keble 1792 (Fairford) – 1866 (Bournemouth)

"This in thankworthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." I S.Peter ii. 19

Praise to our Pardoning God! though silent now
The thunders of the deep prophetic sky,
Though in our sight no powers of darkness bow
Before th’ Apostles’ glorious company;

The Martyrs’ noble army is still ours,
far in the North our fallen days have seen
How in her woe the tenderest spirit, towers
For Jesus’ sake in agony serene.

Praise to our God! not cottage hearths alone,
And shades imperious to the proud world’s glare,
Such witness yield: a monarch from his throne
Springs to his Cross and finds his glory there.

Yes: wheresoe’er one trace of thee is found,
As in the sacred land, the shadows fall:
With beating hearts we roam the haunted ground,
Lone battle-field, or crumbling prison hall.

And there are aching solitary breasts,
Whose widow’d walk with thought of thee is cheer’d,
Our own, our royal Saint: thy memory rests
On many a prayer, the more for thee endear’d.

True son of our dear Mother, early taught
With her to worship and for her to die,
Nurs’d in her aisles to more than kingly thought,
Oft in her solemn hours we dream thee nigh.

For thou didst love to trace her daily lore,
And where we look for comfort or for calm,
Over the self-same lines to bend, and pour
Thy heart with hers in some victorious psalm.

And well did she thy loyal love repay:
When all foresook, her Angel still was nigh,
Chain’d and bereft, and on thy funeral way,
Straight to the Cross she turn’d thy dying eye.

And yearly now, before the Martyrs’ King,
For thee she offers her maternal tears,
Calls us, like thee, to His dear feet to cling,
And bury in His wounds our earthly fears.

And Angels hear, and there is mirth in Heaven,
Fit prelude of the joy, when spirits won
Like thee to patient Faith, shall rise forgiven,
And at thy Saviour’s knees thy bright example own.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:43 min read
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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…

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