John Keble ( )


Third Sunday in Advent



    What went ye out into the wilderness to see?  A reed shaken with the wind? . . . But what went ye out for to see?  A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.  St. Matthew xi. 7, 9.

   What went ye out to see
   Oer the rude sandy lea,
Where stately Jordan flows by many a palm,
   Or where Gennesarets wave
   Delights the flowers to lave,
That oer her western slope breathe airs of balm.

   All through the summer night,
   Those blossoms red and bright
Spread their soft breasts, unheeding, to the breeze,
   Like hermits watching still
   Around the sacred hill,
Where erst our Saviour watched upon His knees.

   The Paschal moon above
   Seems like a saint to rove,
Left shining in the world with Christ alone;
   Below, the lakes still face
   Sleeps sweetly in th embrace
Of mountains terracd high with mossy stone.

   Here may we sit, and dream
   Over the heavenly theme,
Till to our soul the former days return;
   Till on the grassy bed,
   Where thousands once He fed,
The worlds incarnate Maker we discern.

   O cross no more the main,
   Wandering so will and vain,
To count the reeds that tremble in the wind,
   On listless dalliance bound,
   Like children gazing round,
Who on Gods works no seal of Godhead find.

   Bask not in courtly bower,
   Or sun-bright hall of power,
Pass Babel quick, and seek the holy land
   From robes of Tyrian dye
   Turn with undazzled eye
To Bethlehems glade, or Carmels haunted strand.

   Or choose thee out a cell
   In Kedrons storied dell,
Beside the springs of Love, that never die;
   Among the olives kneel
   The chill night-blast to feel,
And watch the Moon that saw thy Masters agony.

   Then rise at dawn of day,
   And wind thy thoughtful way,
Where rested once the Temples stately shade,
   With due feet tracing round
   The citys northern bound,
To th other holy garden, where the Lord was laid.

   Who thus alternate see
   His death and victory,
Rising and falling as on angel wings,
   They, while they seem to roam,
   Draw daily nearer home,
Their heart untravelld still adores the King of kings.

   Or, if at home they stay,
   Yet are they, day by day,
In spirit journeying through the glorious land,
   Not for light Fancys reed,
   Nor Honours purple meed,
Nor gifted Prophets lore, nor Science wondrous wand.

   But more than Prophet, more
   Than Angels can adore
With face unveiled, is He they go to seek:
   Blessèd be God, Whose grace
   Shows Him in every place
To homeliest hearts of pilgrims pure and meek.



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


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