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The Christian Year
by Blessed John Keble 


And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him:  
and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.    Deut. ix. 20. 
NOW is there solemn pause in earth and heaven; 
The Conqueror now 
His bonds hath riven, 
And Angels wonder why he stays below: 
Yet hath not man his lesson learn’d, 
How endless love should be return’d. 

Deep is the silence as of summer noon, 
When a soft shower 
Will trickle soon, 
A gracious rain, freshening the weary bower— 
O sweetly then far off is heard 
The clear note of some lonely bird. 

So let thy turtle dove’s sad call arise 
In doubt and fear 
Through darkening skies, 
And pierce, O LORD, thy justly sealed ear, 
Where on the house top, all night long, 
She trills her widow’d, faltering song. 

Teach her to know and love her hour of prayer, 
And evermore, 
As faith grows rare, 
Unlock her heart, and offer all its store 
In holier love and humbler vows, 
As suits a lost returning spouse. 

Not at first, but with intenser cry, 
Upon the mount 
She now must lie, 
Till thy dear love to blot the sad account 
Of her rebellious race be won, 
Pitying the mother in the son. 

But chiefly (for she knows thee anger’d worst 
By holiest things 
Profan’d and curst) 
Chiefly for Aaron’s seed she spreads her wings, 
If but one leaf she may from Thee 
Win of the reconciling tree. 

For what shall heal, when holy water banes? 
Or who may guide 
O’er desert plains 
Thy lov’d yet sinful people wandering wide, 
If Aaron’s hand unshrinking mould 
An idol form of earthly gold? 

Therefore her tears are bitter, and as deep 
Her boding sigh, 
As, while men sleep, 
Sad hearted mothers heave, that wakeful lie, 
To must upon some darling child 
Roaming in youth’s uncertain wild. 

Therefore on fearful dreams her inward sight 
Is fain to dwell— 
What lurid light 
Shall the last darkness of the world dispel, 
The Mediator in his wrath 
Descending down the lightning’s path. 

Yet, yet awhile, offended Saviour, pause, 
In act to break 
Thine outrag’d laws, 
O spare thy rebels for thine own dear sake; 
Withdraw thine hand, nor dash to earth 
The covenant of our second birth. 

'Tis forfeit like the first—we owe it all— 
Yet for love’s sake, 
Let it not fall; 
But at thy touch let veiled hearts awake, 
That nearest to thine altar lie, 
Yet least of holy things descry. 

Teacher of teachers! Priest of priests! from Thee 
The sweet strong prayer 
Must rise, to free 
First Levi, then all Israel, from the snare. 
Thou art our Moses out of sight— 
Speak for us, or we perish quite.

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