Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
 
Extracts from The Christian Year: All Saints’ Day
By John Keble (1792–1866)
 
  WHY blow’st thou not, thou wintry wind,
    Now every leaf is brown and sere,
  And idly droops, to thee resigned,
    The fading chaplet of the year?
  Yet wears the pure aërial sky        5
  Her summer veil, half drawn on high,
  Of silvery haze, and dark and still
The shadows sleep on every slanting hill.
 
  How quiet shews the woodland scene!
    Each flower and tree, its duty done,        10
  Reposing in decay serene,
    Like weary men when age is won,
  Such calm old age as conscience pure
  And self-commanding hearts ensure,
  Waiting their summons to the sky,        15
Content to live, but not afraid to die.
 
  Sure if our eyes were purged to trace
    God’s unseen armies hovering round,
  We should behold by angels’ grace
    The four strong winds of Heaven fast bound,        20
  Their downward sweep a moment stayed
  On ocean cove and forest glade,
  Till the last flower of autumn shed
Her funeral odours on her dying bed.
 
  So in Thine awful armoury, Lord,        25
    The lightnings of the judgment-day
  Pause yet awhile, in mercy stored,
    Till willing hearts wear quite away
  Their earthly stains; and spotless shine
  On every brow in light divine        30
  The Cross by angel hands impressed,
The seal of glory won and pledge of promised rest.
 
  Little they dream, those haughty souls
    Whom empires own with bended knee,
  What lowly fate their own controls,        35
    Together linked by Heaven’s decree;—
  As bloodhounds hush their baying wild
  To wanton with some fearless child,
  So Famine waits, and War with greedy eyes,
Till some repenting heart be ready for the skies.        40
 
  Think ye the spires that glow so bright
    In front of yonder setting sun,
  Stand by their own unshaken might?
    No—where th’ upholding grace is won,
  We dare not ask, nor Heaven would tell,        45
  But sure from many a hidden dell,
  From many a rural nook unthought of there,
Rises for that proud world the saints’ prevailing prayer.
 
  On Champions blest, in Jesus’ name,
    Short be your strife, your triumph full,        50
  Till every heart have caught your flame,
    And, lightened of the world’s misrule,
  Ye soar those elder saints to meet,
  Gathered long since at Jesus’ feet,
  No world of passions to destroy,        55
Your prayers and struggles o’er, your task all praise and joy.
 
 
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