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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

Barnfloor and Winepress

          “If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barn-floor, or out of the wine-press?”
—2 Kings vi. 27.    

THOU 1 who on Sin’s wages starvest,
Behold we have the Joy of Harvest:
For us was gathered the First-fruits,
For us was lifted from the roots,
Sheaved in cruel bands, bruised sore,        5
Scourged upon the threshing-floor,
Where the upper millstone roofed His Head,
At morn we found the Heavenly Bread;
And on a thousand altars laid,
Christ our Sacrifice is made.        10
Thou, whose dry plot for moisture gapes,
We shout with them that tread the grapes;
For us the Vine was fenced with thorn,
Five ways the precious branches torn.
Terrible fruit was on the tree        15
In the acre of Gethsemane:
For us by Calvary’s distress
The Wine was rackèd from the press;
Now, in our altar-vessels stored,
Lo, the sweet Vintage of the Lord!        20
In Joseph’s garden they threw by
The riven Vine, leafless, lifeless, dry:
On Easter morn the Tree was forth,
In forty days reached Heaven from earth,—
Soon the whole world is overspread:        25
Ye weary, come into the shade.
The field where He hath planted us
Shall shake her fruit as Libanus,
When He hath sheaved us in His sheaf,
When He has made us bear His leaf.        30
We scarcely call that banquet food,
But even our Saviour’s and our blood,
We are so grafted on His wood.
Note 1. A selection of poems by the late Father Hopkins, S.J., appeared, with a critical notice by Mr Robert Bridges, in Miles’s “Poets of the Century,” Vol. viii. Those in this anthology, which are all, except the last two pieces, printed for the first time, are given by kind leave of the poet’s father, Mr Manley Hopkins. The reader who finds these to his taste should turn to those in Mr Miles’s volume, which are also religious for the most part. [back]