Home  »  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century  »  John Keble (1792–1866)

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

By The Christian Year (1827). I. Morning (“Hues of the rich”)

John Keble (1792–1866)

  • “His compassions fail not. They are new every morning.”
  • —Lamentations iii. 22, 23.

  • HUES of the rich unfolding morn,

    That, ere the glorious sun be born,

    By some soft touch invisible

    Around his path are taught to swell;—

    Thou rustling breeze so fresh and gay,

    That dancest forth at opening day,

    And brushing by with joyous wing,

    Wakenest each little leaf to sing;—

    Ye fragrant clouds of dewy steam,

    By which deep grove and tangled stream

    Pay, for soft rains in season given,

    Their tribute to the genial heaven;—

    Why waste your treasures of delight

    Upon our thankless, joyless sight;

    Who day by day to sin awake,

    Seldom of Heaven and you partake?

    Oh, timely happy, timely wise,

    Hearts that with rising morn arise!

    Eyes that the beam celestial view,

    Which evermore makes all things new!

    New every morning is the love

    Our wakening and uprising prove;

    Through sleep and darkness safely brought,

    Restored to life, and power, and thought.

    New mercies, each returning day,

    Hover around us while we pray;

    New perils past, new sins forgiven,

    New thoughts of God, new hopes of Heaven.

    If on our daily course our mind

    Be set to hallow all we find,

    New treasures still, of countless price,

    God will provide for sacrifice.

    Old friends, old scenes will lovelier be,

    As more of Heaven in each we see:

    Some softening gleam of love and prayer

    Shall dawn on every cross and care.

    As for some dear familiar strain

    Untired we ask, and ask again,

    Ever, in its melodious store,

    Finding a spell unheard before;

    Such is the bliss of souls serene,

    When they have sworn, and stedfast mean,

    Counting the cost, in all t’ espy

    Their God, in all themselves deny.

    Oh, could we learn that sacrifice,

    What lights would all around us rise!

    How would our hearts with wisdom talk

    Along Life’s dullest, dreariest walk!

    We need not bid, for cloistered cell,

    Our neighbour and our work farewell,

    Nor strive to wind ourselves too high

    For sinful man beneath the sky:

    The trivial round, the common task,

    Would furnish all we ought to ask

    Room to deny ourselves; a road

    To bring us daily nearer God.

    Seek we no more; content with these,

    Let present Rapture, Comfort, Ease,

    As Heaven shall bid them, come and go:—

    The secret this of Rest below.

    Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love

    Fit us for perfect Rest above;

    And help us, this and every day,

    To live more nearly as we pray.