St. Barnabas

John Keble 1792 (Fairford) – 1866 (Bournemouth)

The world's a room of sickness, where each heart
     Knows its own anguish and unrest;
  The truest wisdom there, and noblest art,
     Is his, who skills of comfort best;
  Whom by the softest step and gentlest tone
        Enfeebled spirits own,
     And love to raise the languid eye,
When, like an angel's wing, they feel him fleeting by:-

  FEEL only--for in silence gently gliding
     Fain would he shun both ear and sight,
  'Twixt Prayer and watchful Love his heart dividing,
     A nursing-father day and night.
  Such were the tender arms, where cradled lay,
        In her sweet natal day,
     The Church of JESUS; such the love
He to His chosen taught for His dear widowed Dove.

  Warmed underneath the Comforter's safe wing
     They spread th' endearing warmth around:
  Mourners, speed here your broken hearts to bring,
     Here healing dews and balms abound:
  Here are soft hands that cannot bless in vain,
        By trial taught your pain:
     Here loving hearts, that daily know
The heavenly consolations they on you bestow.

  Sweet thoughts are theirs, that breathe serenest calms,
     Of holy offerings timely paid,
  Of fire from heaven to bless their votive alms
     And passions on GOD'S altar laid.
  The world to them is closed, and now they shine
        With rays of love divine,
     Through darkest nooks of this dull earth
Pouring, in showery times, their glow of "quiet mirth."

  New hearts before their Saviour's feet to lay,
     This is their first, their dearest joy:
  Their next from heart to heart to clear the way
     For mutual love without alloy:
  Never so blest as when in JESUS' roll
        They write some hero-soul,
     More pleased upon his brightening road
To wait, than if their own with all his radiance glowed.

  O happy spirits, marked by God and man
     Their messages of love to bear,
  What though long since in Heaven your brows began,
     The genial amarant wreath to wear,
  And in th' eternal leisure of calm love
        Ye banquet there above;
     Yet in your sympathetic heart
We and our earthly griefs may ask and hope a part.

  Comfort's true sons! amid the thoughts of down
     That strew your pillow of repose,
  Sure 'tis one joy to muse, how ye unknown
     By sweet remembrance soothe our woes;
  And how the spark ye lit, of heavenly cheer,
        Lives in our embers here,
     Where'er the cross is borne with smiles,
Or lightened secretly by Love's endearing wiles:

  Where'er one Levite in the temple keeps
     The watch-fire of his midnight prayer,
  Or issuing thence, the eyes of mourners steeps
     In heavenly balm, fresh gathered there;
  Thus saints, that seem to die in earth's rude strife,
        Only win double life:
     They have but left our weary ways
To live in memory here, in Heaven by love and praise.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:21 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,759
Words 462
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

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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