Anna Laetitia Barbauld

(20 June 1743 – 9 March 1825 / Leicestershire, England)

Where A Crowd Of Pilgrims Toil - Poem by Anna Laetitia Barbauld

The world is not their friend, nor the world's law.

Lo where a crowd of pilgrims toil
Yon craggy steeps among!
Strange their attire, and strange their mien,
As wild they press along.
Their eyes with bitter streaming tears
Now bend towards the ground,
Now rapt, to heaven their looks they raise,
And bursts of song resound.
And hark! a voice from 'midst the throng
Cries, “Stranger, wouldst thou know
Our name, our race, our destined home,
Our cause of joy or woe,—
“Our country is Emanuel's land,
We seek that promised soil;
The songs of Zion cheer our hearts,
While strangers here we toil.
“Oft do our eyes with joy o'erflow,
And oft are bathed in tears;
Yet nought but heaven our hopes can raise,
And nought but sin our fears.
“The flowers that spring along the road
We scarcely stoop to pluck;
We walk o'er beds of shining ore,
Nor waste one wishful look:
“We tread the path our Master trod,
We bear the cross he bore;
And every thorn that wounds our feet
His temples pierced before:
“Our powers are oft dissolved away
In ecstasies of love;
And while our bodies wander here,
Our souls are fixed above:
“We purge our mortal dross away,
Refining as we run;
But while we die to earth and sense,
Our heaven is begun.”

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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