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The Christian Year
by Blessed John Keble 

And looking up to Heaven, He sighed, and saith, unto him,
         Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.  ST. MARK vii. 34. 

The Son of God in doing good 
   Was fain to look to Heaven and sigh: 
And shall the heirs of sinful blood 
   Seek joy unmix'd in charity? 
God will not let Love's work impart 
Full solace, lest it steal the heart; 
Be thou content in tears to sow, 
Blessing, like Jesus, in thy woe: 

He look'd to Heaven, and sadly sigh'd-- 
   What saw my gracious Saviour there, 
With fear and anguish to divide 
   The joy of Heaven-accepted prayer? 
So o'er the bed where Lazarus slept 
He to His Father groan'd and wept: 
What saw He mournful in that grace, 
Knowing Himself so strong to save? 

O'erwhelming thoughts of pain and grief 
   Over His sinking spirit sweep;-- 
"What boots it gathering one lost leaf 
   "Out of yon sere and wither'd heap, 
"Where souls and bodies, hopes and joys, 
"All that earth owns or sin destroys, 
"Under the spurning hoof are cast, 
"Or tossing in th'autumnal blast?" 

The deaf may hear the Saviour's voice, 
   The ferrer'd tongue its chain may break: 
But the deaf heart, the dumb by choice, 
   The laggard soul, that will not wake, 
The guilt that scorns to be forgiven;-- 
These battle e'en the spells of Heaven; 
In thought of these, His brows benign 
Not even in healing cloudless shine. 

No eye but His might ever bear 
   To gaze all down that drear abyss, 
Because none ever saw so clear 
   The shore beyond of endless bliss: 
The giddy waves so restless jurl'd, 
The vex'd pulse of this feverish world, 
He views and counts with steady sight; 
Used to behold the Infinite. 

But that in such communion high 
   He hath a fount of strength within, 
Sure His meek heart would break and die, 
O'erburthen'd by His brethren's sin; 
Weak eyes on darkness dare not gaze, 
It dazzles like the noon-day blaze; 
But he who sees God's face may brook 
On the true face of Sin to look. 

What then shall wretched sinners do, 
   When in their last, their hopeless day, 
Sin, as it is, shall meet their view, 
   God turn His face for aye away? 
Lord, by Thy sad and earnest eye, 
When Thou didst look to Heaven and sigh; 
Thy voice, that with a word could chase 
The dumb, deaf spirit from his place; 

As Thou hast touch'd our ears, and taught 
   Our tongues to speak Thy praises plain, 
Quell Thou each thankless godless thought 
   That would make fast our bonds again. 
From worldly strife, from mirth unblest, 
Drowning Thy music in the breast, 
From foul reproach, from thrilling fears, 
Preserve, good Lord, Thy servants' ears. 

From idle words, that restless throng 
   And haunt our hearts when we would pray, 
From Pride's false chime, and jarring wrong, 
   Seal Thou my lips and guard the way: 
For Thou hast sworn, that every ear, 
Willing or loth, thy trump shall hear, 
And every tongue unchained be. 
To own no hope, no God but Thee. 

Used with permission from the Project Canterbury website.  Transcribed by Julia Beth Bruskin, AD 1999.