John Keble ( )


Second Sunday after Christmas



When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.  
Isaiah, xli. 17.

And wilt thou hear the fevered heart
   To Thee in silence cry?
And as th inconstant wildfires dart
   Out of the restless eye,
Wilt thou forgive the wayward though
By kindly woes yet half untaught
A Saviours right, so dearly bought,
   That Hope should never die?

Thou wilt: for many a languid prayer
   Has reached Thee from the wild,
Since the lorn mother, wandering there,
   Cast down her fainting child,
Then stole apart to weep and die,
Nor knew an angel form was nigh,
To show soft waters gushing by,
   And dewy shadows mild.

Thou wiltfor Thou art Israels God,
   And Thine unwearied arm
Is ready yet with Moses rod,
   The hidden rill to charm
Out of the dry unfathomed deep
Of sands, that lie in lifeless sleep,
Save when the scorching whirlwinds heap
   Their waves in rude alarm.

These moments of wild wrath are Thine
   Thine, too, the drearier hour
When oer th horizons silent line
   Fond hopeless fancies cower,
And on the travellers listless way
Rises and sets th unchanging day,
No cloud in heaven to slake its ray,
   On earth no sheltering bower.

Thou wilt be there, and not forsake,
   To turn the bitter pool
Into a bright and breezy lake,
   This throbbing brow to cool:
Till loft awhile with Thee alone
The wilful heart be fain to own
That He, by whom our bright hours shone,
   Our darkness best may rule.

The scent of water far away
   Upon the breeze is flung;
The desert pelican to-day
   Securely leaves her young,
Reproving thankless man, who fears
To journey on a few lone years,
Where on the sand Thy step appears,
   Thy crown in sight is hung.

Thou, who did sit on Jacobs well
   The weary hour of noon,
The languid pulses Thou canst tell,
   The nerveless spirit tune.
Thou from Whose cross in anguish burst
The cry that owned Thy dying thirst,
To Thee we turn, our Last and First,
   Our Sun and soothing Moon.

From darkness, here, and dreariness
   We ask not full repose,
Only be Thou at hand, to bless
   Our trial hour of woes.
Is not the pilgrims toil oerpaid
By the clear rill and palmy shade?
And see we not, up Earths dark glade,
   The gate of Heaven unclose?



John Keble's other poems:
  1. First Sunday after Christmas
  2. First Sunday after Epiphany
  3. Second Sunday in Advent
  4. St. Johns Day
  5. Fourth Sunday in Advent


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