When bitter thoughts, of conscience born,
With sinners wake at morn,
When from our restless couch we start
With fever’d lips and witherd heart,
Where is the spell to charm those mists away,
And make new morning in that darksome day?
One draught of spring’s delicious air,
One stedfast thought, that God is there.
These are thy wonders, hourly wrought,
Thou Lord of time and thought,
Lifting and lowering souls at will,
Crowding a world of good or ill
Into a moment’s vision: even as light
Mounts o’er a cloudy ridge, and all is bright,
From west to east one thrilling ray
Turning a wintry world to May.
Wouldst thou the pangs of guilt assuage?
Lo here an open page,
Where heavenly mercy shines as free,
Written in balm, sad heart, for thee.
Never so fast, in silent April shower,
Flush’d into green the dry and leafless bower
As Israel’s crowned mourner felt
The dull hard stone within him melt.
The absolver saw the mighty grief
And hasten’d with relief’;—
"The Lord forgives; thou shalt not die :"—
‘Twas gently spoke, yet heard on high,
And all the band of angels, us’d to sing
In heaven, accordant to his raptur’d string
Who many a month had turn’d away
With veiled eyes, nor own’d his lay,
Now spread their wings, and throng around
To the glad mournful sound,
And welcome, with bright open face,
The broken heart to love’s embrace.
The rock is smitten, and to future years
Springs ever fresh the tide of holy tears
And holy music, whispering peace
Till time and sin together cease.
There drink: and when ye are at rest,
With that free Spirit blest,
Who to the contrite can dispense
The princely heart of innocence,
If ever, floating from faint earthly lyre,
Was wafted to your soul one high desire,
By all the trembling hope ye feel,
Think on the minstrel as ye kneel.
Think on the shame, that dreadful hour
When tears shall have no power,
Should his own lay th’ accuser prove,
Cold while lie kindled others’ love.
And let your prayer for charity arise,
That his own heart may hear his melodies,
And a true voice to him may cry,
"Thy God forgives—thou shalt not die.