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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

Easter Day

John Keble (1792–1866)

“And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.”—LUKE XXIV. 5, 6.

OH! day of days! shall hearts set free

No “ministrel rapture,” find for thee!

Thou art the Sun of other days,

They shine by giving back thy rays:

Enthroned in thy sovereign sphere

Thou shedd’st thy light on all the year:

Sundays by thee more glorious break,

An Easter Day in every week:

And week-days, following in their train,

The fulness of thy blessing gain,

Till all, both resting and employ,

Be one Lord’s day of holy joy.

Then wake, my soul, to high desires,

And earlier light thine altar fires:

The world some hours is on her way,

Nor thinks on thee, thou blessed day:

Or if she think, it is in scorn:

The vernal light of Easter morn

To her dark gaze no brighter seems

Than Reason’s or the Law’s pale beams.

“Where is your Lord?” she scornful asks;

“Where is His hire? we know His tasks;

Sons of a King ye boast to be;

Let us your crowns and treasures see.”

We in the words of Truth reply

(An Angel brought them from the sky),

“Our Crown, our treasure is not here,

’Tis stored above the highest sphere:

“Methinks your wisdom guides amiss,

To seek on earth a Christian’s bliss;

We watch not now the lifeless stone;

Our only Lord is risen and gone.”

Yet even the lifeless stone is dear,

For thoughts of Him who late lay here;

And the base world, now Christ hath died,

Ennobled is and glorified.

No more a charnel-house, to fence

The relics of lost innocence,

A vault of ruin and decay;—

Th’ imprisoning stone is roll’d away:

’Tis now a cell, where Angels use

To come and go with heavenly news,

And in the ears of mourners say,

“Come see the place where Jesus lay:”

’Tis now a fane where Love can find

Christ everywhere embalm’d and shrin’d;

Aye gathering up memorials sweet,

Where’er she sets her duteous feet.

Oh! joy to Mary first allowed,

When roused from weeping o’er His shroud,

By His own calm, soul-soothing tone,

Breathing her name, as still His own!

Joy to the faithful Three renew’d,

As their glad errand they pursued!

Happy, who so Christ’s words convey,

That He may meet them on their way!

So is it still: to holy tears,

In lonely hours, Christ risen appears:

In social hours, who Christ would see,

Must turn all tasks to Charity.