Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Poor Man's Holiday

Poor Man's Sunday
by Gerald Massey


We thank Thee, Lord, for one day
To look Heaven in the face!
The Poor have only Sunday;
The sweeter is the grace.
'Tis then they make the music
That sings their week away:
O, there's a sweetness infinite
In the Poor Man's holiday!

'Tis here the weary Pilgrim
Doth reach his House of Ease!
That blessed House, called "Beautiful,"
And that soft Chamber, "Peace."
The River of Life runs through his dream
And the leaves of Heaven are at play;
He sees the Golden City gleam,
This grateful holiday.

'Tis as a burst of sunshine,
A tender fall of rain,
That set the barest life a-bloom;
Make old hearts young again.
The dry and dusty roadside
With smiling flowers is gay:
'Tis open Heaven one day in seven,
The Poor Man's holiday!

Massey was most famous in his day for his rather wild spiritualism, and notorious for arguing that Christian theology was closely related to Egyptian mythology. But he had good lyric sense, and was a strong advocate of political reform. George Eliot's Felix Holt is usually thought to be based on him.

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