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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Hymns. II. Sunday (“There is a Sabbath”)

Frederick William Faber (1814–1863)

THERE is a Sabbath won for us,

A Sabbath stored above,

A service of eternal calm,

An altar-rite of love.

There is a Sabbath won for us,

Where we shall ever wait

In mute or voiceful ministries

Upon the Immaculate.

There shall transfigured souls be filled

With Christ’s Eternal Name,

Dipped, like bright censers, in the sea

Of molten glass and flame.

Yet set not in thy thoughts too far

Our Heaven and Earth apart,

Lest thou shouldst wrong the Heaven begun

Already in thy heart.

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,

In earthly lots uneven,

Hath an immortal place to fill,

And is a root of Heaven.

And surely Sundays bright and calm,

So calm, so bright as this,

Are tastes imparted from above

Of higher Sabbath bliss.

We own no gloomy ordinance,

No weary Jewish day,

But weekly Easters, ever bright

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;

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

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;

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 blessed Maker, pause

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.

Oh leave the man, my fretful friend!

To follow nature’s ways,

Nor breathe to him that Christian feasts

Are no true holydays.

Is Earth to be as nothing here,

When 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,

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

Are cast too far apart.