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

By II. At Midnight (“Away with sorrow’s sigh”)

Isaac Williams (1802–1865)

“Jam desinant suspiria”

AWAY with sorrow’s sigh,

Our prayers are heard on high;

And through Heaven’s crystal door,

On this our earthly floor

Comes meek-eyed Peace to walk with poor mortality.

In dead of night profound,

There breaks a seraph sound

Of never-ending morn;

The Lord of glory born

Within a holy grot on this our sullen ground.

Now with that shepherd crowd

If it might be allowed,

We fain would enter there

With awful hastening fear,

And kiss that cradle chaste in reverend worship bowed.

O sight of strange surprise

That fills our gazing eyes:

A manger coldly strew’d,

And swaddling-bands so rude,

A leaning mother poor, and child that helpless lies.

Art Thou, O wondrous sight,

Of lights the very Light,

Who holdest in Thy hand

The sky and sea and land;

Who than the glorious Heavens art more exceeding bright?

’Tis so;—faith darts before,

And, through the cloud drawn o’er,

She sees the God of all,

Where Angels prostrate fall,

Adoring tremble still, and trembling still adore.

No thunders round Thee break,

Yet doth Thy silence speak

From that, Thy Teacher’s seat,

To us around Thy feet,

To shun what flesh desires, what flesh abhors to seek.

Within us, Babe divine,

Be born, and make us Thine;

Within our souls reveal

Thy love and power to heal;

Be born, and make our hearts Thy cradle and Thy shrine.