(John Keble)

Fourth Sunday in Advent

    The eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.  Isaiah xxxii. 3

Of the bright things in earth and air
   How little can the heart embrace!
Soft shades and gleaming lights are there
   I know it well, but cannot trace.

Mine eye unworthy seems to read
   One page of Natures beauteous book;
It lies before me, fair outspread
   I only cast a wishful look.

I cannot paint to Memorys eye
   The scene, the glance, I dearest love
Unchanged themselves, in me they die,
   Or faint or false their shadows prove.

In vain, with dull and tuneless ear,
   I linger by soft Musics cell,
And in my heart of hearts would hear
   What to her own she deigns to tell.

Tis misty all, both sight and sound
   I only know tis fair and sweet
Tis wandering on enchanted ground
   With dizzy brow and tottering feet.

But patience! there may come a time
   When these dull ears shall scan aright
Strains that outring Earths drowsy chime,
   As Heaven outshines the tapers light.

These eyes, that dazzled now and weak,
   At glancing motes in sunshine wink.
Shall see the Kings full glory break,
   Nor from the blissful vision shrink:

In fearless love and hope uncloyed
   For ever on that ocean bright
Empowered to gaze; and undestroyed,
   Deeper and deeper plunge in light.

Though scarcely now their laggard glance
   Reach to an arrows flight, that day
They shall behold, and not in trance,
   The region very far away.

If Memory sometimes at our spell
   Refuse to speak, or speak amiss,
We shall not need her where we dwell
   Ever in sight of all our bliss.

Meanwhile, if over sea or sky
   Some tender lights unnoticed fleet,
Or on loved features dawn and die,
   Unread, to us, their lesson sweet;

Yet are there saddening sights around,
   Which Heaven, in mercy, spares us too,
And we see far in holy ground,
   If duly purged our mental view.

The distant landscape draws not nigh
   For all our gazing; but the soul,
That upward looks, may still descry
   Nearer, each day, the brightening goal.

And thou, too curious ear, that fain
   Wouldst thread the maze of Harmony,
Content thee with one simple strain,
   The lowlier, sure, the worthier thee;

Till thou art duly trained, and taught
   The concord sweet of Love divine:
Then, with that inward Music fraught,
   For ever rise, and sing, and shine.

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