Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
I. The Divine Element—(God, Christ, the Holy Spirit)
“Rock of Ages”
Edward H. Rice
 
   “Such hymns are never forgotten. They cling to us through our whole life. We carry them with us upon our journey. We sing them in the forest. The workman follows the plough with sacred songs. Children catch them, and singing only for the joy it gives them now, are yet laying up for all their life food of the sweetest joy.”
—HENRY WARD BEECHER.    

“ROCK of Ages, cleft for me,”
  Thoughtlessly the maiden sung.
Fell the words unconsciously
  From her girlish, gleeful tongue;
Sang as little children sing;        5
  Sang as sing the birds in June;
Fell the words like light leaves down
  On the current of the tune,—
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  Let me hide myself in Thee.”        10
 
“Let me hide myself in Thee:”
  Felt her soul no need to hide,—
Sweet the song as song could be,
  And she had no thought beside;
All the words unheedingly        15
  Fell from lips untouched by care,
Dreaming not that they might be
  On some other lips a prayer,—
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  Let me hide myself in Thee.”        20
 
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,”
  ’T was a woman sung them now,
Pleadingly and prayerfully;
  Every word her heart did know.
Rose the song as storm-tossed bird        25
  Beats with weary wing the air,
Every note with sorrow stirred,
  Every syllable a prayer,—
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  Let me hide myself in Thee.”        30
 
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,”—
  Lips grown agèd sung the hymn
Trustingly and tenderly,
  Voice grown weak and eyes grown dim,—
“Let me hide myself in Thee.”        35
  Trembling though the voice and low,
Rose the sweet strain peacefully
  Like a river in its flow;
Sung as only they can sing
  Who life’s thorny path have passed;        40
Sung as only they can sing
  Who behold the promised rest,—
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  Let me hide myself in Thee.”
 
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,”        45
  Sung above a coffin lid;
Underneath, all restfully,
  All life’s joys and sorrows hid.
Nevermore, O storm-tossed soul!
  Nevermore from wind or tide,        50
Nevermore from billow’s roll,
  Wilt thou need thyself to hide.
Could the sightless, sunken eyes,
  Closed beneath the soft gray hair,
Could the mute and stiffened lips        55
  Move again in pleading prayer,
Still, aye still, the words would be,—
  “Let me hide myself in Thee.”
 
 
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