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The Christian Year
by Blessed John Keble 

Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?   
ST. MATTHEW xviii. 21.   

What liberty so glad and gay, 
    As where the mountain boy, 
Reckless of regions far away, 
    A prisoner lives in joy? 

The dreary sounds of crowded earth, 
     The cries of camp or town, 
Never untun'd his lonely mirth, 
     Nor drew his visions down. 

The snow-clad peaks of rosy light 
     That meet his morning view, 
The thwarting cliffs that bound his sight, 
     They bound his fancy too. 

Two ways alone his roving eye 
     For aye may onward go, 
Or in the azure deep on high 
     Or darksome mere below. 

O blest restraint! more blessed range! 
     Too soon the happy child 
His nook of homely thought will change 
     For life's seducing wild: 

Too soon his alter'd day-dreams show 
     This earth a boundless space, 
With sunbright pleasures to and fro 
     Sporting in joyous race: 

While of his narrowing heart each year, 
     Heaven less and less will fill, 
Less keenly, through his grosser ear, 
     The tones of mercy thrill. 

By our own niggard rule we try 
     The hope to suppliants given; 
We mete out love, as if our eye 
     Saw to the end of heaven. 

Yes, ransom'd sinner! wouldst thou know 
     How often to forgive, 
How dearly to embrace thy foe, 
     Look where thou hop'st to live; 

When thou hast told those isles of light, 
     And fancied all beyond, 
Whatever owns, in depth or height, 
     Creation's wondrous bond; 

Then in their solemn pageant learn 
     Sweet mercy's praise to see; 
Their Lord resign'd them all, to earn 
     The bliss of pardoning thee.