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CXLI

AN IDYLL OF CHRISTIAN LIFE

Happy me! O happy sheep!

Whom my GOD vouchsafes to keep,

Ev'n my GOD, ev'n He it is

That points me to these paths of bliss

On Whose pastures cheerful Spring,

All the year doth sit and sing,

And rejoicing, smiles to see

Their green backs wear His livery:

Pleasure sings my soul to rest,

Plenty wears me at her breast,

Whose sweet temper teaches me

Not wanton, nor in want to be.

At my feet the blubbering mountain

Weeping, melts into a fountain,

Whose soft silver-sweating streams

Make high-noon forget his beams:

When my wayward breath is flying,

He calls home my soul from dying,

Strokes and tames my rabid grief,

And does woo me into life:

When my simple weakness strays,

(Tangled in forbidden ways),

He (my Shepherd) is my guide;

He's before me, on my side;

And behind me, He beguiles

Craft in all her knotty wiles:

He expounds the weary wonder

Of my giddy steps, and under

Spreads a path clear as the day,

Where no churlish rub166166rub, obstruction says nay

To my joy-conducted feet,

Whilst they gladly go to meet

Grace and Peace, to learn new lays

Tuned to my great Shepherd's praise.

Come now, all ye terrors, sally,

Muster forth into the valley,

Where triumphant darkness hovers

With a sable wing, that covers

113

Brooding horror. Come, thou Death,

Let the damps of thy dull breath

Over-shadow e'en that shade,

And make Darkness' self afraid;

There my feet, e'en there, shall find

Way for a resolvéd mind.

Still my Shepherd, still my GOD,

Thou art with me; still Thy rod,

And Thy staff, whose influence

Gives direction, gives defence.

At the whisper of Thy word

Crown'd abundance spreads my board:

While I feast, my foes do feed

Their rank malice, not their need,

So that with the self-same bread

They are starved, and I am fed.

How my head in ointment swims!

How my cup o'er-looks her brims!

So, e'en so still may I move

By the line of Thy dear love;

Still may Thy sweet mercy spread

A shady arm above my head,

About my paths; so shall I find

The fair centre of my mind,

Thy temple, and those lovely walls

Bright ever with a beam that falls

Fresh from the pure glance of Thine eye,

Lighting to Eternity.

There I'll dwell for ever, there

Will I find a purer air

To feed my life with, there I'll sup

Balm and nectar in my cup;

And thence my ripe soul will I breathe

Warm into the arms of Death.


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