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

By Hymns of Faith and Hope. I. How Long? (“My God, it is not fretfulness”)

Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

MY God, it is not fretfulness

That makes me say “How long?”

It is not heaviness of heart

That hinders me in song;

’Tis not despair of truth and right,

Nor coward dread of wrong.

But how can I, with such a hope

Of glory and of home;

With such a joy before my eyes

Not wish the time to come,—

Of years the jubilee, of days

The Sabbath and the sum?

These years, what ages they have been!

This life, how long it seems!

And how can I, in evil days,

’Mid unknown hills and streams,

But sigh for those of home and heart,

And visit them in dreams?

Yet peace, my heart; and hush, my tongue;

Be calm, my troubled breast;

Each restless hour is hastening on

The everlasting rest:

Thou knowest that the time thy God

Appoints for thee, is best.

Let faith, not fear nor fretfulness,

Awake the cry, “How long?”

Let no faint-heartedness of soul

Damp thy aspiring song:

Right comes, truth dawns, the night departs

Of error and of wrong.