Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

Our Father’s Business: - Poem by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

HOLMAN HUNT'S PICTURE OF 'CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE.'

O CHRIST-CHILD, Everlasting, Holy One,
Sufferer of all the sorrow of this world,
Redeemer of the sin of all this world,
Who by Thy death brought'st life into this world,--
O Christ, hear us!

This, this is Thou. No idle painter's dream
Of aureoled, imaginary Christ,
Laden with attributes that make not God;
But Jesus, son of Mary; lowly, wise,
Obedient, subject unto parents, mild,
Meek--as the meek that shall inherit earth,
Pure--as the pure in heart that shall see God.

O infinitely human, yet divine!
Half clinging childlike to the mother found,
Yet half repelling--as the soft eyes say,
'How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not
That I must be about my Father's business?'
As in the Temple's splendors mystical,
Earth's wisdom hearkening to the all-wise One,
Earth's closest love clasping the all-loving One,
He sees far off the vision of the cross,
The Christ-like glory and the Christ-like doom.

Messiah! Elder Brother, Priest and King,
The Son of God, and yet the woman's seed;
Enterer within the veil; Victor of death,
And made to us first fruits of them that sleep;
Saviour and Intercessor, Judge and Lord,--
All that we know of Thee, or knowing not
Love only, waiting till the perfect time
When we shall know even as we are known--
O Thou Child Jesus, Thou dost seem to say
By the soft silence of these heavenly eyes
(That rose out of the depths of nothingness
Upon this limner's reverent soul and hand)
We too should be about our father's business--
O Christ, hear us!

Have mercy on us, Jesus Christ, our Lord!
The cross Thou borest still is hard to bear;
And awful even to humblest follower
The little that Thou givest each to do

Of this Thy Father's business; whether it be
Temptation by the devil of the flesh,
Or long-linked years of lingering toil obscure,
Uncomforted, save by the solemn rests
On mountain-tops of solitary prayer;
Oft ending in the supreme sacrifice,
The putting off all garments of delight,
And taking sorrow's kingly crown of thorn,
In crucifixion of all self to Thee,
Who offeredst up Thyself for all the world.
O Christ, hear us!

Our Father's business:--unto us, as Thee,
The whole which this earth-life, this hand-breadth span
Out of our everlasting life that lies
Hidden with Thee in God, can ask or need.
Outweighing all that heap of petty woes--
To us a measure huge--which angels blow
Out of the balance of our total lot,
As zephyrs blow the winged dust away.

O Thou who wert the Child of Nazareth,
Make us see only this, and only Thee,
Who camest but to do thy Father's will,
And didst delight to do it. Take Thou then
Our bitterness of loss,--aspirings vain,
And anguishes of unfulfilled desire,

Our joys imperfect, our sublimed despairs,
Our hopes, our dreams, our wills, our loves, our all,
And cast them into the great crucible
In which the whole earth, slowly purified,
Runs molten, and shall run--the Will of God.
O Christ, hear us!
:;;;
An Autumn Psalm For 1860
NO shadow o'er the silver sea,
That as in slumber heaves,
No cloud on the September sky,
No blight on any leaves,
As the reaper comes rejoicing,
Bringing in his sheaves.

Long, long and late the spring delayed,
And summer, dank with rain,
Hung trembling o'er her sunless fruit,
And her unripened grain;
And, like a weary, hopeless life,
Sobbed herself out in pain.

So the year laid her child to sleep,
Her beauty half expressed;
Then slowly, slowly cleared the skies,
And smoothed the seas to rest,
And raised the fields of yellowing corn
O'er Summer's buried breast;

Till Autumn counterfeited Spring,
With such a flush of flowers,
His fiery-tinctured garlands more
Than mocked the April bowers,
And airs as sweet as airs of June
Brought on the twilight hours.

O holy twilight, tender, calm!
O star above the sea!
O golden harvest, gathered in
With late solemnity,
And thankful joy for gifts nigh lost
Which yet so plenteous be;--

Although the rain-cloud wraps the hill,
And sudden swoop the leaves,
And the year nears his sacred end,
No eye weeps--no heart grieves:
For the reaper came rejoicing,
Bringing in his sheaves.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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