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

By Sonnets and Other Poems, Chiefly Religious (1890). II. First Sorrow

Joseph John Murphy (1827–1894)

THE DAYS of childhood—were they golden?

We see them through a golden haze

Of memory; but, when near beholden,

Were they indeed such golden days?

No, not of gold those early hours,

Although their passing pleased us well;

They were but lovely vernal flowers,

Fading and withering ere they fell.

But when our earliest grief was blended

With trembling faith, our hearts to melt;

When childhood’s careless joys were ended,

And life’s reality was felt;

When first we cried to God alone;—

That was indeed the golden hour!

Then seed of heavenly life was sown

In weakness, to be raised in power.

The richest store of heavenly gain

May spring from deepest earthly loss.

The holiest joy has roots in pain—

Eternal glory in the Cross.