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

By George Crabbe (1754–1832)

The Pilgrim

PILGRIM, 1 burden’d with thy sin,
Come the way to Zion’s gate,
There, till Mercy let thee in,
Knock, and weep, and watch, and wait.
    Knock!—He knows the sinner’s cry:        5
    Weep!—He loves the mourner’s tears:
    Watch!—for saving grace is nigh:
    Wait—till heavenly light appears.
Hark! it is the Bridegroom’s voice;
Welcome, pilgrim, to thy rest;        10
Now within the gate rejoice,
Safe, and seal’d, and bought, and blest!
    Safe—from all the lures of vice,
    Seal’d—by signs the chosen know,
    Bought—by love and life the price,        15
    Blest—the mighty debt to owe.
Holy pilgrim! what for thee
In a world like this remain?
From thy guarded breast shall flee
Fear, and shame, and doubt, and pain.        20
    Fear—the hope of heaven shall fly,
    Shame—from glory’s view retire:
    Doubt—in certain rapture die,
    Pain—in endless bliss expire.
Note 1. The Rev. George Crabbe, the son of a salt-master at Aldeburgh, who at twenty-six went up to London to seek his fortune in literature, fared no less hardly there than Chatterton, but was older and had less of the pride of genius. After repulses in high quarters where he had solicited patronage, he appealed to Burke, who befriended him, and henceforth his life was a smooth one. He was a close observer of the Suffolk peasantry, and his “Tales from the Hall” are life-like studies of great power and pathos. The poem here given is from “Sir Eustace Grey.” It is supposed to be a Methodist hymn, remembered in a madhouse, and Crabbe half apologises for it in a note: “The verses are not intended to make any religious persuasion appear ridiculous; though evidently enthusiastic in language, they are not meant to convey any impropriety of sentiment.” Would that Crabbe had more often allowed himself in such enthusiasm! The lines appear to be modelled on a poem of Herbert’s, “Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life.” [back]