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The Christian Year
by Blessed John Keble 
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I 
go away:  for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come 
unto you:  but if I depart, I will send him unto you.   St. John xvi. 7. 
MY Saviour, can it be 
That I should gain by losing Thee? 
The watchful mother tarries nigh 
Though sleep have clos’d her infant’s eye, 
For should he wake, and find her gone, 
She knows she could not bear his moan. 
But I am weaker than a child, 
And Thou art more than mother dear; 
Without Thee Heaven were but a wild: 
How can I live without Thee here? 

"'Tis good for you, that I should go, 
"You lingering yet awhile below;”— 
‘Tis thine own gracious promise, Lord! 
Thy saints have prov’d the faithful word, 
When Heaven’s bright boundless avenue 
Far open’d on their eager view, 
And homeward to thy Father’s throne, 
Still lessening, brightening on their sight, 
Thy shadowy car went soaring on; 
They track’d Thee up th’ abyss of light. 

Thou bidst rejoice; they dare not mourn, 
But to their home in gladness turn, 
Their home and God’s, that favour’d place, 
Where still he shines on Abraham’s race, 
In prayers and blessings there to wait 
Like suppliants at the monarch’s gate, 
Who bent with bounty rare to aid 
The splendours of his crowning day, 
Keeps back awhile his largess, made 
More welcome for that brief delay. 

In doubt they wait, but not unblest; 
They doubt not of their Master’s rest, 
Nor of the gracious will of Heaven— 
Who gave his Son, sure all has given— 
But in ecstatic awe they muse 
What course the genial stream may choose, 
And far and wide their fancies rove, 
And to their height of wonder strain, 
What secret miracle of love 
Should make their Saviour’s going gain. 

The days of hope and prayer are past, 
The day of comfort dawns at last, 
The everlasting gates again 
Roll back, and lo! a royal train— 
From the far depth of light once more 
The floods of glory earth-ward pour: 
They part like shower-drops in mid air, 
But ne’er so soft fell noon-tide shower, 
Nor evening rain-bow gleam’d so fair 
To weary swains in parched bower. 

Swiftly and straight each tongue of flame 
Through cloud and breeze unwavering came, 
And darted to its place of rest 
On some meek brow of Jesus blest. 
Nor fades it yet, that living gleam, 
And still those lambent lightnings stream 
Where’er the Lord is, there are they; 
In every heart that gives them room, 
They light His altar every day, 
Zeal to inflame, and vice consume. 

Soft as the plumes of Jesus’ Dove 
They nurse the soul to heavenly love: 
The struggling spark of good within, 
Just smother’d in the strife of sin, 
They quicken to a timely glow, 
The pure flame spreading high and low. 
Said I, that prayer and hope were o’er? 
Nay, blessed Spirit! but by Thee 
The Church’s prayer finds wings to soar, 
The Church’s hope finds eyes to see. 

Then, fainting soul, arise and sing; 
Mount, but be sober on the wing; 
Mount up, for Heaven is won by prayer, 
Be sober, for thou art not there; 
Till death the weary spirit free, 
Thy God hath said, ‘Tis good for thee 
To walk by faith and not by sight: 
Take it on trust a little while; 
Some shalt thou read the mystery right 
In the full sunshine of His smile. 

Or if thou yet more knowledge crave, 
Ask thine own heart, that willing slave 
To all that works thee woe or harm? 
Shouldst thou not need some mighty charm 
To win thee to thy Saviour’s side, 
Though he had deign’d with thee to bide? 
The Spirit must stir the darkling deep, 
The Dove must settle on the Cross, 
Else we should all sin on or sleep 
With Christ in sight, turning our gain to loss. 

 Used with permission from the Project Canterbury website. Transcribed by Julia Beth Bruskin AD 2000