Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Occasional Poems
Hymn for the House of Worship at Georgetown, erected in Memory of a Mother
 
          The giver of the house was the late George Peabody, of London.

THOU dwellest not, O Lord of all!
  In temples which thy children raise;
Our work to thine is mean and small,
  And brief to thy eternal days.
 
Forgive the weakness and the pride,        5
  If marred thereby our gift may be,
For love, at least, has sanctified
  The altar that we rear to thee.
 
The heart and not the hand has wrought
  From sunken base to tower above        10
The image of a tender thought,
  The memory of a deathless love!
 
And though should never sound of speech
  Or organ echo from its wall,
Its stones would pious lessons teach,        15
  Its shade in benedictions fall.
 
Here should the dove of peace be found,
  And blessings and not curses given;
Nor strife profane, nor hatred wound,
  The mingled loves of earth and heaven.        20
 
Thou, who didst soothe with dying breath
  The dear one watching by Thy cross,
Forgetful of the pains of death
  In sorrow for her mighty loss,
 
In memory of that tender claim,        25
  O Mother-born, the offering take,
And make it worthy of Thy name,
  And bless it for a mother’s sake!

  1868.
 
 
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