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

By Frederick William Faber (1814–1863)


THOUGH heaven’s above and earth’s below,
  Yet are they but one state,
And each the other with sweet skill
  Doth interpenetrate.
Yea, many a tie and office blest,        5
  In earthly lots uneven,
Hath an immortal place to fill,
  And is the root of heaven.
And surely Sundays bright and calm,
  So calm, so bright as this,        10
Are tastes imparted from above
  Of higher Sabbath bliss.
We own no gloomy ordinance,
  No weary Jewish day,
But weekly Easters, ever bright        15
  With pure domestic ray;
A feast of thought, a feast of sight,
  A feast of joyous sound,
A feast of thankful hearts, at rest,
  From labour’s wheel unbound;        20
A day of such homekeeping bliss
  As on the poor may wait,
With all such lower joys as best
  Befit his human state.
He sees among the hornbeam boughs        25
  The little sparkling flood;
The mill-wheel rests, a quiet thing
  Of black and mossy wood.
He sees the fields lie in the sun,
  He hears the plovers crying;        30
The plough and harrow, both upturned,
  Are in the furrows lying.
In simple faith, he may believe
  That earth’s diurnal way
Doth, like its blessèd Maker, pause        35
  Upon this hallowed day.
And should he ask, the happy man!
  If heaven be aught like this;—
’Tis heaven within him, breeding there
  The love of quiet bliss.        40
Oh, leave the man, my fretful friend!
  To follow Nature’s ways,
Nor breathe to him that Christian feasts
  Are no true holy days.
Is earth to be as nothing here,        45
  Where we are sons of earth!
May not the body and the heart
  Share in the spirit’s mirth?
When thou hast cut each earthly hold
  Whereto his soul may cling,        50
Will the poor creature left behind
  Be more a heavenly thing?
Heaven fades away before our eyes,
  Heaven fades within our heart,
Because in thought our heaven and earth        55
  Are cast too far apart.