John Bowring

(1792-1872 / England)

Spring: Tuesday Evening - Poem by John Bowring

'Tis now the solemn hour when spirits come
To alarm credulity-'tis now the hour
When disembodied ghosts have awful power
To burst the imprisoning portals of the tomb.
Such vain creations from the midnight's womb
Has superstition summon'd, and array'd
In all the hideous forms that fear has made.
Spirits there are indeed that walk the night,-
Not such as these-but heavenly tongues, that call,
In nature's hallow'd eloquence, on all,
To wing themselves for a diviner flight.
The wise man hears their voices: darkness, light,
To him are equally momentous things,
And each a monitory warning brings
From th' other side of death. The sun goes down;
But truth, that never sleeps, still rides sublime
Thro' all the strange vicissitudes of time-
Speaks in the noon-tide's smile, the midnight's frown.

Now in the stillness of the eve serene,
The calm of meek devotion's influence,
Upsoaring from this dark detaining scene,
Appealing from what is, and what has been,
To that which shall be-from a world of sense,
To spiritual worlds; inviting down from thence
Rays of the light that gilds heaven's holy place-
I turn my thoughts, appalling Power! to Thee.
Appalling Power! Thine awful majesty
Might scatter us in dust-but lo! Thy grace,
Milder and softer than the early dew,
Invites us to Thy presence. Lord! forgive
Thy trembling children-Father! Friend! receive
Their tribute, humble and unworthy too.

'Tis sweet, in journeying thro' this vale of tears,
To gather its fair flowers; to pay and prove
Blessings and sympathies, and acts of love,
And so to sink into the lap of years:
But sweeter, when life's evening star appears,
To see religion's holy visions bright,
Hover on wings of righteousness and light,
Smiling kind invitations from above.
What tho' a thousand or ten thousand graves
Arrest our stumbling footsteps-they are nought
But seats of rest, where the life-wearied thought
Reposes-while divinest glory waves
Her palms of triumph o'er the grassy heaps.
Life's journey is oft wearisome and wild;
And there Affliction's tired and troubled child
On nature's all-composing bosom sleeps.
There is a land where everlasting suns
Shed everlasting brightness-where the soul
Drinks from the living streams of love, that roll
By God's high throne!-myriads of glorious ones
Bring there th' accepted offering. O how blest
To look from this dark prison to that shrine,
To inhale one breath of paradise divine-
And enter into that eternal rest
Which waits the sons of God! Remote from care,
Remote from disappointment, to employ
Hours never-ending in the courts of joy,
And wear a crown of heavenly splendour there!

With such a destiny, what earthly fear,
What earthly woe shall cloud my spirit? None.
Forward, then, forward to the golden throne!
Why should our restless wishes linger here?
See from the clouds a smiling angel calls,
'Come hither, Christian!-Open is the door-
The path is straight-delay not-doubt no more-
Lo! thou art welcome to the heavenly halls.'
Father-I go!-I hear th' inviting sound-
No more shall earthly objects dim my eyes-
Away, away the world's dull vanities!
I hasten on-to heaven-to Eden bound.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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