Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
II. Sunday (“There is a Sabbath”)
By Frederick William Faber (1814–1863)
THERE is a Sabbath won for us,
  A Sabbath stored above,
A service of eternal calm,
  An altar-rite of love.
There is a Sabbath won for us,        5
  Where we shall ever wait
In mute or voiceful ministries
  Upon the Immaculate.
There shall transfigured souls be filled
  With Christ’s Eternal Name,        10
Dipped, like bright censers, in the sea
  Of molten glass and flame. 1
Yet set not in thy thoughts too far
  Our Heaven and Earth apart,
Lest thou shouldst wrong the Heaven begun        15
  Already in thy heart.
Though Heaven’s above and Earth’s below,
  Yet are they but one state,
And each the other with sweet skill
  Doth interpenetrate.        20
Yea, many a tie and office blest,
  In earthly lots uneven,
Hath an immortal place to fill,
  And is a root of Heaven.
And surely Sundays bright and calm,        25
  So calm, so bright as this,
Are tastes imparted from above
  Of higher Sabbath bliss.
We own no gloomy ordinance,
  No weary Jewish day,        30
But weekly Easters, ever bright
  With pure domestic ray;
A feast of thought, a feast of sight,
  A feast of joyous sound,
A feast of thankful hearts, at rest,        35
  From labour’s wheel unbound;
A day of such homekeeping bliss
  As on the poor may wait,
With all such lower joys as best
  Befit his human state.        40
He sees among the hornbeam boughs
  The little sparkling flood;
The mill-wheel rests, a quiet thing
  Of black and mossy wood.
He sees the fields lie in the sun,        45
  He hears the plovers crying;
The plough and harrow, both upturned,
  Are in the furrows lying.
In simple faith he may believe
  That earth’s diurnal way        50
Doth, like its blessed Maker, pause
  Upon this hallowed day.
And should he ask, the happy man!
  If Heaven be aught like this:—
’Tis Heaven within him, breeding there        55
  The love of quiet bliss.
Oh leave the man, my fretful friend!
  To follow nature’s ways,
Nor breathe to him that Christian feasts
  Are no true holydays.        60
Is Earth to be as nothing here,
  When we are sons of Earth?
May not the body and the heart
  Share in the spirit’s mirth?
When thou hast cut each earthly hold        65
  Whereto his soul may cling,
Will the poor creature left behind
  Be more a heavenly thing?
Heaven fades away before our eyes,
  Heaven fades within our heart,        70
Because in thought our Heaven and Earth
  Are cast too far apart.
Note 1. Apoc. xv. 2. [back]

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