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

By The Christian Year (1827). II. Evening (“’Tis gone, that bright”)

John Keble (1792–1866)

  • “Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.”
  • —St. Luke xxiv. 29.

  • ’TIS gone, that bright and orbèd blaze,

    Fast fading from our wistful gaze;

    Yon mantling cloud has hid from sight

    The last faint pulse of quivering light.

    In darkness and in weariness

    The traveller on his way must press,

    No gleam to watch on tree or tower,

    Whiling away the lonesome hour.

    Sun of my soul! Thou Saviour dear,

    It is not night if Thou be near:

    Oh, may no earth-born cloud arise

    To hide Thee from Thy servant’s eyes!

    When round Thy wondrous works below

    My searching rapturous glance I throw,

    Tracing out Wisdom, Power, and Love,

    In earth or sky, in stream or grove;—

    Or by the light Thy words disclose

    Watch Time’s full river as it flows,

    Scanning Thy gracious Providence,

    Where not too deep for mortal sense:—

    When with dear friends sweet talk I hold,

    And all the flowers of life unfold;

    Let not my heart within me burn,

    Except in all I Thee discern.

    When the soft dew of kindly sleep

    My wearied eyelids gently steep,

    Be my last thought, how sweet to rest

    For ever on my Saviour’s breast.

    Abide with me from morn till eve,

    For without Thee I cannot live:

    Abide with me when night is nigh,

    For without Thee I dare not die.

    Thou Framer of the light and dark,

    Steer through the tempest Thine own ark:

    Amid the howling wintry sea

    We are in port if we have Thee.

    The Rulers of this Christian land,

    ’Twist Thee and us ordained to stand,—

    Guide Thou their course, O Lord, aright,

    Let all do all as in Thy sight.

    Oh! by Thine own sad burthen, borne

    So meekly up the hill of scorn,

    Teach Thou Thy Priests their daily cross

    To bear as Thine, nor count it loss!

    If some poor wandering child of Thine

    Have spurned to-day the voice divine,

    Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;

    Let him no more lie down in sin.

    Watch by the sick: enrich the poor

    With blessings from Thy boundless store

    Be every mourner’s sleep to-night,

    Like infants’ slumbers, pure and light.

    Come near and bless us when we wake

    Ere through the world our way we take

    Till in the ocean of Thy love

    We lose ourselves, in Heaven above.