Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Poem by Keble

Today, if I am not mistaken, the Anglicans remember John Keble, Victorian poet and author of The Christian Year. Here's a poem by Keble that's not in The Christian Year, being taken from Lyra Innocentium, a collection of his children's verse.


" He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."

Seest thou yon woodland child,
How amid flowerets wild,
Wilder himself, he plies his pleasure-task ?
That ring of fragrant ground,
With its low woodbine bound
He claims: no more, as yet, his little heart need ask.

There learns he flower and weed
To sort with careful heed:
He waits not for the weary noontide hour.
There with the soft night air
Comes his refreshing care:
Each tiny leaf looks up, and thanks him for the shower.

Thus faithful found awhile,
He wins the joyous smile
Of friend or parent ; glad and bright is he,
When for his garland gay
He hears the kind voice say,
"Well hast thou wrought, dear boy : the garden thine shall be."

And when long years are flown,
And the proud word, Mine Own,
Familiar sounds, what joy in field or bower
To view by Memory's aid
Again that garden glade,
And muse on all the lore there learned in each bright hour!

Is not a life well-spent
A child's play-garden, lent
For Heaven's high trust to train young heart and limb?
When in yon field on high
Our hard-won powers we try,
Will no mild tones of earth blend with the adoring hymn?

O fragrant, sure, will prove
The breath of patient Love,
Even from these fading sweets by Memory cast,
As deepening evermore
To Him our song we pour,
Who lent us Earth, that he might give us Heaven at last.

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