Ada Cambridge (21 November 1844 – 19 July 1926 / St Gemans, Norfolk)
After our Likeness.
Before me now a little picture lies—
A little shadow of a childish face,
Childishly sweet, yet with the dawning grace
Of thought and wisdom on her lips and eyes.
Fair, oval, broad-brow'd face—small, delicate head—
Transparent skin, with blue veins shining through—
All the soft outlines, beautiful and true,
Bring me the echo of the words “God said.”
Made “in our image”—sure 'tis that we see,
God's likeness, in the fair face of a child,
By the world's sin and passion undefiled—
Ay, as I look, it seems quite plain to me.
The light wherein the little features shine,
Strange, mystic light, so undefined and faint,
So far too pure for any words to paint—
'Tis a reflection of the Face divine.
Some day the earthly shadows will be cast
Across that sunshine—it may be to dim
A while the visible countenance of Him;
But 'twill be there—the likeness—to the last.
Some day the lucid waters, in which lie
Pictured those glorious lineaments, will be
Stirred up and troubled like a stormy sea;—
But they will yet re-settle—by-and-by.
They will re-settle when the soul is still'd,
Its passions, its wild longings, and its pain;
The pure reflection will shine out again
When earth's hopes are relinquish'd, unfulfill'd.
They will re-settle in those after-years
When life's hard lessons have been conned and learn'd;
Then this child's beauty will have all return'd,
More lovely for the trouble and the tears.
They will re-settle in the calm of death,
When the sweet eyes are laid asleep, and when
The heart is hush'd. Truly God's likeness then—
The mirror clear, unsullied by a breath.
Ah! while I look, and trace each tender line,
I think most of the day when I shall see
The dear face in that perfect purity,
Its mortal features clothed with the divine.
This self-same face, but with the image bright,
Nevermore undefined, and faint, and dim;
This self-same face, yet like the face of Him,
In glory and in beauty infinite.
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