Ah me! in ages far away,
The good, the heavenly land,
Though unbeheld, quite near them lay,
And men could understand.
The dead yet find it, who, when here,
Did love it more than this;
They enter in, are filled with cheer,
And pain expires in bliss.
Oh, fairly shines the blessed land!
Ah, God! I weep and pray–
The heart thou holdest in thy hand
Loves more this sunny day.
I see the hundred thousand wait
Around the radiant throne:
To me it is a dreary state,
A crowd of beings lone.
I do not care for singing psalms;
I tire of good men’s talk;
To me there is no joy in palms,
Or white-robed solemn walk.
I love to hear the wild winds meet,
The wild old winds at night;
To watch the starlight throb and beat,
To wait the thunder-light.
I love all tales of valiant men,
Of women good and fair;
If I were rich and strong, ah then,
I would do something rare.
I see thy temple in the skies
On pillars strong and white;
I cannot love it, though I rise
And try with all my might.
Sometimes a joy lays hold on me,
And I am speechless then;
Almost a martyr I could be,
And join the holy men.
But soon my heart is like a clod,
My spirit wrapt in doubt–
“A pillar in the house of God,
And never more go out!”
No more the sunny, breezy morn;
No more the speechless moon;
No more the ancient hills, forlorn,
A vision, and a boon.
Ah, God! my love will never burn,
Nor shall I taste thy joy;
And Jesus’ face is calm and stern–
I am a hapless boy.