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Yet not the lightest tone was heard
From angel voice, or angel hand; And not one pluméd pinion stirr'd
Among the pure and blissful band.
For there was silence in the sky,
A joy not angel tongues could tell, As from its mystic fount on high,
The peace of God in stillness fell.
O what is silence here below ?
The fruit of a conceal’d despair ; The
pause of pain, the dream of woe ; It is the rest of rapture there.
And to the way-worn pilgrim here,
More kindred seems that perfect peace, Than the full chaunts of joy to hear,
Roll on, and never, never cease.
From earthly agonies set free,
Tired with the path too flowly trod, May such a silence welcome me
Into the palace of my God.
ERE may the band that now in triumph shines,
And that (before they were invested thus) In earthly bodies carried heavenly minds,
Pitch round about, in order glorious,
Their sunny tents and houses luminous ; All their eternal day in songs employing, Joying their end without end of their joying, While their Almighty Prince destruction is destroying.
Their sight drinks lovely fires in at their eyes,
Their hungry ears feed on the heavenly noise
That angels fing to tell their untold joys;
No sorrow now hangs clouding on their brow;
No bloodless malady empales their face:
No nakedness their bodies doth embase ;
No fear of death the joy of life devours ;
But now their naked bodies scorn the cold,
The old man how he came so young again ;
Still resting, though from sleep they still refrain ; Where all are rich, and yet no gold they owe; And all are kings, and yet no subjects know, All full, and yet no time they do on food bestow.
About the holy city rolls a flood
Of molten crystal, like a sea of glass,
Of living diamonds the building was,
That all things else, besides itself, did pass. Her streets, instead of stones, the stars did pave, And little pearls for duft it seemed to have, On which soft streaming manna like pure snow did
It is no flaming lustre, made of light;
No sweet consent, or well-tuned harmony;
Or Aowery odor mixed with spicery ;
it is a kind of inward feast, A harmony that sounds within the breast, An odor, light, embrace, in which the soul doth reft.
A heavenly feast no hunger can consume ;
A light unseen, yet shines in every place; A sound no time can Iteal; a sweet perfume
No winds can scatter; an entire embrace
That no satiety can e'er unlace; Ingraced into so high a favor there, The saints with their beaupeers whole worlds outwear, And things unseen do see, and things unheard do hear.
Ye blessed souls, grown richer by your spoil,
Spending your endless evening that remains
Among those white flocks and celestial trains That feed upon their Shepherd's eyes, and frame That heavenly music of so wondrous frame, Psalming aloud the holy honors of his naine !
Giles Fletcher. 1586–1623.
NE sweetly welcome thought,
Comes to me o’er and o’er ; I'm nearer home to-day
Than I've ever been before ;
Nearer my Father's house
Where the many mansions be; Nearer the Great White Throne,
Nearer the Jasper Sea;
Nearer that bound of life,
Where we lay our burdens down Nearer leaving the cross,
Nearer gaining the crown.
But lying dimly between,
Winding down through the night, Lies the dark and uncertain stream
That leads us at length to the light.
Closer and closer my steps
Come to the dark abysm, Closer Death to my lips
Preffes the awful chrism;