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

By Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)

Remembered Grace

SINCE succour to the feeblest of the wise
Is charge of nobler weight
Than the security
Of many and many a foolish soul’s estate,
This I affirm,        5
Though fools will fools more confidently be:
Whom God does once with heart to heart befriend,
He does so to the end:
And having planted Life’s miraculous germ,
One sweet pulsation of responsive love,        10
He sets him sheer above,
Not sin and bitter shame
And wreck of fame,
But Hell’s insidious and more black attempt,
The envy, malice, and pride,        15
Which men who share so easily condone
That few ev’n list such ills as these to hide.
From these unalterably exempt,
Through the remembered grace
Of that divine embrace,        20
Of his sad errors none,
Though gross to blame,
Shall cast him lower than the cleansing flame,
Nor make him quite depart
From the small flock named “after God’s own heart,”        25
And to themselves unknown.
Nor can he quail
In faith, nor flush nor pale
When all the other idiot people spell
How this or that new prophet’s word belies        30
Their last high oracle;
But constantly his soul
Points to its pole
Ev’n as the needle points, and knows not why;
And, under the ever-changing clouds of doubt,        35
When others cry,
“The stars, if stars there were,
Are quench’d and out!”
To him, uplooking t’ward the hills for aid,
Appear, at need displayed,        40
Gaps in the low-hung gloom, and bright in air,
Orion or the Bear.