Felicia Hemans in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Volume 31 1832/A Poet's Dying Hymn

For other versions of this work, see A Poet's Dying Hymn.

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 31, Pages 622-623


————Be mute who will, who can,
Yet I will praise thee with impassion'd voice!
Me didst thou constitute a priest of thine
In such a temple as we now behold,
Rear'd for thy presence; therefore am I bound
To worship, here and every where.

The blue, deep, glorious heavens!—I lift mine eye,
    And bless Thee, O my God! that I have met
And own'd thine image in the majesty
    Of their calm temple still!—that never yet
There hath thy face been shrouded from my sight
By noontide-blaze, or sweeping storm of night:
I bless Thee, O my God!

That now still clearer, from their pure expanse,
    I see the mercy of thine aspect shine,
Touching Death's features with a lovely glance
    Of light, serenely, solemnly divine,
And lending to each holy star a ray
As of kind eyes, that woo my soul away:
I bless Thee, O my God!

That I have heard thy voice, nor been afraid,
    In the earth's garden—'midst the mountains old,
And the low thrillings of the forest-shade,
    And the wild sounds of waters uncontroll'd,
And upon many a desert plain and shore,
—No solitude—for there I felt Thee more:
I bless Thee, O my God!

And if thy Spirit on thy child hath shed
    The gift, the vision of the unseal'd eye,
To pierce the mist o'er life's deep meanings spread,
    To reach the hidden fountain-urns that lie
Far in man's heart—if I have kept it free
And pure—a consecration unto Thee:
I bless Thee, O my God!

If my soul's utterance hath by Thee been fraught
    With an awakening power—if Thou hast made
Like the wing'd seed, the breathings of my thought,
    And by the swift winds bid them be convey'd
To lands of other lays, and there become
Native as early melodies of home:
I bless Thee, O my God!

Not for the brightness of a mortal wreath,
    Not for a place 'midst kingly minstrels dead,
But that perchance, a faint gale of thy breath,
    A still small whisper in my song hath led
One struggling spirit upwards to thy throne,
Or but one hope, one prayer:—for this alone
I bless Thee, O my God!

That I have loved—that I have known the love
    Which troubles in the soul the tearful springs,
Yet, with a colouring halo from above,
    Tinges and glorifies all earthly things,
Whate'er its anguish or its woe may be,
Still weaving links for intercourse with Thee:
I bless Thee, O my God!

That by the passion of its deep distress,
    And by the o'erflowing of its mighty prayer,
And by the yearning of its tenderness,
    Too full for words upon their stream to bear,
I have been drawn still closer to thy shrine,
Well-spring of love, the unfathom'd, the divine:
I bless Thee, O my God!

That hope hath ne'er my heart or song forsaken,
    High hope, which even from mystery, doubt, or dread,
Calmly, rejoicingly, the things hath taken,
    Whereby its torchlight for the race was fed;
That passing storms have only fann'd the fire,
Which pierced them still with its triumphal spire,
I bless Thee, O my God!

Now art Thou calling me in every gale,
    Each sound and token of the dying day!
Thou leav'st me not, though earthly life grows pale,
    I am not darkly sinking to decay;
But, hour by hour, my soul's dissolving shroud
Melts off to radiance, as a silvery cloud.
I bless Thee, O my God!

And if this earth, with all its choral streams,
    And crowning woods, and soft or solemn skies,
And mountain-sanctuaries for poet's dreams,
    Be lovely still in my departing eyes;
'Tis not that fondly I would linger here,
But that thy foot-prints on its dust appear:
I bless Thee, O my God!

And that the tender shadowing I behold,
    The tracery veining every leaf and flower,
Of glories cast in more consummate mould,
    No longer vassals to the changeful hour;
That life's last roses to my thoughts can bring
Rich visions of imperishable spring:
I bless Thee, O my God!

Yes! the young vernal voices in the skies
    Woo me not back, but, wandering past mine ear,
Seem heralds of th' eternal melodies,
    The spirit-music, unperturb'd and clear;
The full of soul, yet passionate no more—
—Let me too, joining those pure strains, adore!
I bless Thee, O my God!

Now aid, sustain me still!—to Thee I come,
    Make Thou my dwelling where thy children are!
And for the hope of that immortal home,
    And for thy Son, the bright and morning star,
The Sufferer and the Victor-king of Death,
I bless Thee with my glad song's dying breath!
I bless Thee, O my God!