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

By Sonnets. II. Reason and Faith

James Drummond Burns (1823–1864)

Psalm lxxiii. 16, 17.

HOW many are the mysteries that lie

Along life’s winding way, and vex the mind

With restless speculation, vague and blind:

In vain doth Reason hold her torch on high

To trace the round of calm Infinity,

In all its sapphire clearness; in the gloom

She gropes, until she stumbles o’er a tomb;

Earth’s roof of cloud to her is all the sky.

But Faith, while in the temple-court she keeps

Her midnight watch, sees up the azure deeps

God’s name in starry cipher written fair,—

The vision of His Wisdom, Power, and Love,

Serenely throned these drifting mists above,

Revealed unto the upward gaze of Prayer.