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KING CHARLES THE MARTYR

This is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 1 St. 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 still is ours,

Far in the North our fallen days have seen

How in her woe this tenderest spirit towers

For Jesus’ sake in agony serene.

Praise to our God! not cottage hearths alone,

And shades impervious to the proud world’s glare,

Such witness yield; a monarch from his throne

Springs to his Cross and finds his glory there.

Yes: whereso’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 forsook, her Angels still were nigh,

Chain’d and bereft, and on thy funeral way,

Straight to the Cross she turn’d thy dying eye138138“His Majesty then bade him (Mr. Herbert) withdraw; for he was about an hour in private with the Bishop (Juxon): and being called in, the Bishop went to prayer; and reading also the 27th chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew, which relateth the Passion of our Blessed Saviour. The King, after the Service was done, asked the Bishop, if he had made choice of that chapter, being so applicable to his present condition? The Bishop replied, ‘May it please your Gracious Majesty, it is the proper lesson for the day, as appears by the Kalendar;’ which the King was much affected with, so aptly serving as a seasonable preparation for his death that day.” Herbert’s Memoirs, p. 131.

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.

The Angels hear, and there is mirth in Heaven,

Fit prelude of the joy, when spirits won

Like those to patient Faith, shall rise forgiven,

And at their Saviour’s knees thy bright example own.


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