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SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? St. Mark viii. 4.

Go not away, thou weary soul:

Heaven has in store a precious dole

Here on Bethsaida’s cold and darksome height,

Where over rocks and sands arise

Proud Sirion in the northern skies,

And Tabor’s lonely peak, ’twixt thee and noonday light.

And far below, Gennesaret’s main

Spreads many a mile of liquid plain,

(Though all seem gather’d in one eager bound,)

Then narrowing cleaves you palmy lea,

Towards that deep sulphureous sea,

Where five proud cities lie, by one dire sentence drown’d.

Landscape of fear! yet, weary heart,

Thou need’st not in thy gloom depart,

Nor fainting turn to seek thy distant home:

Sweetly thy sickening throbs are ey’d

By the kind Saviour at thy side;

For healing and for balm e’en now thine hour is come.

No fiery wing is seen to glide,

No cates ambrosial are supplied,

But one poor fisher’s rude and scanty store

Is all He asks (and more than needs)

Who men and angels daily feeds,

And stills the wailing sea-bird on the hungry shore.

The feast is o’er, the guests are gone,

And over all that upland lone

The breeze of eve sweeps wildly as of old —

But far unlike the former dreams,

The heart’s sweet moonlight softly gleams

Upon life’s varied view, so joyless erst and cold.

As mountain travellers in the night,

When heaven by fits is dark and bright,

Pause listening on the silent heath, and hear

Nor trampling hoof nor tinkling bell,

Then bolder scale the rugged fell,

Conscious the more of One, ne’er seen, yet ever near:

So when the tones of rapture gay

On the lorn ear, die quite away,

The lonely world seems lifted nearer heaven;

Seen daily, yet unmark’d before,

Earth’s common paths are strewn all o’er

With flowers of pensive hope, the wreath of man forgiven.

The low sweet tones of Nature’s lyre

No more on listless ears expire,

Nor vainly smiles along the shady way

The primrose in her vernal nest,

Nor unlamented sink to rest

Sweet roses one by one, nor autumn leaves decay.

There’s not a star the heaven can show,

There’s not a cottage-hearth below,

But feeds with solace kind the willing soul —

Men love us, or they need our love;

Freely they own, or heedless prove

The curse of lawless hearts, the joy of self-control.

Then rouse thee from desponding sleep,

Nor by the wayside lingering weep,

Nor fear to seek Him farther in the wild,

Whose love can turn earth’s worst and least

Into a conqueror’s royal feast:

Thou wilt not be untrue, thou shalt not be beguil’d.

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