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ASCENSION DAY

Why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven. Acts i. 11.

Soft cloud, that while the breeze of May

Chants her glad matins in the leafy arch,

Draw’st thy bright veil across the heavenly way

Meet pavement for an angel’s glorious march:

My soul is envious of mine eye,

That it should soar and glide with thee so fast,

The while my grovelling thoughts half buried lie,

Or lawless roam around this earthly waste.

Chains of my heart, avaunt I say —

I will arise, and in the strength of love

Pursue the bright track ere it fade away,

My Saviour’s pathway to His home above.

Sure, when I reach the point where earth

Melts into nothing from th’ uncumber’d sight,

Heaven will o’ercome th’ attraction of my birth.

And I shall sink in yonder sea of light:

Till resting by th’ incarnate Lord,

Once bleeding, now triumphant for my sake,

I mark Him, how by seraph hosts ador’d,

He to earth’s lowest cares is still awake.

The sun and every vassal star,

All space, beyond the soar of angel wings,

Wait on His word: and yet He stays His car

For every sigh a contrite suppliant brings.

He listens to the silent tear

For all the anthems of the boundless sky —

And shall our dreams of music bar our ear

To His soul-piercing voice for ever nigh?

Nay, gracious Saviour — but as now

Our thoughts have trac’d Thee to Thy glory-throne

So help us evermore with thee to bow

Where human sorrow breathes her lowly moan.

We must not stand to gaze too long,

Though on unfolding Heaven our gaze we bend

Where lost behind the bright angelic throng

We see CHRIST’S entering triumph slow ascend.

No fear but we shall soon behold,

Faster than now it fades, that gleam revive,

When issuing from his cloud of fiery gold

Our wasted frames feel the true sun, and live.

Then shall we see Thee as Thou art,

For ever fix’d in no unfruitful gaze,

But such as lifts the new-created heart,

Age after age, in worthier love and praise.

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