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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Trinity 25—Keble's "The Christian Year"

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Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity.

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.  Proverbs xvi. 31.

The bright-haired morn is glowing
   O’er emerald meadows gay,
With many a clear gem strewing
   The early shepherd’s way.
Ye gentle elves, by Fancy seen
   Stealing away with night
To slumber in your leafy screen,
   Tread more than airy light.

And see what joyous greeting
   The sun through heaven has shed,
Though fast yon shower be fleeting,
   His beams have faster sped.
For lo! above the western haze
   High towers the rainbow arch
In solid span of purest rays:
   How stately is its march!

Pride of the dewy morning!
   The swain’s experienced eye
From thee takes timely warning,
   Nor trusts the gorgeous sky.
For well he knows, such dawnings gay
   Bring noons of storm and shower,
And travellers linger on the way
   Beside the sheltering bower.

E’en so, in hope and trembling
   Should watchful shepherd view
His little lambs assembling,
   With glance both kind and true;
’Tis not the eye of keenest blaze,
   Nor the quick-swelling breast,
That soonest thrills at touch of praise—
   These do not please him best.

But voices low and gentle,
   And timid glances shy,
That seem for aid parental
   To sue all wistfully,
Still pressing, longing to be right,
   Yet fearing to be wrong,—
In these the Pastor dares delight,
   A lamb-like, Christ-like throng.

These in Life’s distant even
   Shall shine serenely bright,
As in th’ autumnal heaven
   Mild rainbow tints at night,
When the last shower is stealing down,
   And ere they sink to rest,
The sun-beams weave a parting crown
   For some sweet woodland nest.

The promise of the morrow
   Is glorious on that eve,
Dear as the holy sorrow
   When good men cease to live.
When brightening ere it die away
   Mounts up their altar flame,
Still tending with intenser ray
   To Heaven whence first it came.

Say not it dies, that glory,
   ’Tis caught unquenched on high,
Those saintlike brows so hoary
   Shall wear it in the sky.
No smile is like the smile of death,
   When all good musings past
Rise wafted with the parting breath,
   The sweetest thought the last.