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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

My Walk to Church

By Horatio Nelson Powers (1826–1890)

[Born in Amenia, N. Y., 1826. Died at Piermont, N. Y., 1890. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 1888.]

BREATHING the summer-scented air

Along the bowery mountain way,

Each Lord’s-day morning I repair

To serve my church, a mile away.

Below, the glorious river lies—

A bright, broad-breasted, sylvan sea—

And round the sumptuous highlands rise,

Fair as the hills of Galilee.

Young flowers are in my path. I hear

Music of unrecorded tone.

The heart of Beauty beats so near,

Its pulses modulate my own.

The shadow on the meadow’s breast

Is not more calm than my repose

As, step by step, I am the guest

Of every living thing that grows.

Ah, something melts along the sky,

And something rises from the ground,

And fills the inner ear and eye

Beyond the sense of sight and sound.

It is not that I strive to see

What Love in lovely shapes has wrought—

Its gracious messages to me

Come, like the gentle dews, unsought.

I merely walk with open heart

Which feels the secret in the sign;

But, oh, how large and rich my part

In all that makes the feast divine!

Sometimes I hear the happy birds

That sang to Christ beyond the sea,

And softly His consoling words

Blend with their joyous minstrelsy.

Sometimes in royal vesture glow

The lilies that He called so fair,

Which never toil nor spin, yet show

The loving Father’s tender care.

And then along the fragrant hills

A radiant presence seems to move,

And earth grows fairer as it fills

The very air I breathe with love.

And now I see one perfect face,

And hastening to my church’s door,

Find Him within the holy place

Who, all my way, went on before.