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.
Mediæval Hymns and Sequences. Hora Novissima.
III. “Brief life is here our portion”
By John Mason Neale, trans. (1818–1866)
(From “Bernard of Clugny”)
(Selected Passages)

BRIEF life is here our portion;
  Brief sorrow, short-liv’d care;
The life that knows no ending,
  The tearless life, is there.
O happy retribution!        5
  Short toil, eternal rest;
For mortals and for sinners
  A mansion with the blest!
That we should look, poor wand’rers,
  To have our Home on high!        10
That worms should seek for dwellings
  Beyond the starry sky!
To all one happy guerdon
  Of one celestial grace;
For all, for all who mourn their fall,        15
  Is one eternal place:
And martyrdom hath roses
  Upon that heavenly ground:
And white and virgin lilies
  For virgin-souls abound.        20
Their grief is turned to pleasure;
  Such pleasure, as below
No human voice can utter,
  No human heart can know:
And after fleshly scandal,        25
  And after this world’s night,
And after storm and whirlwind,
  Is calm, and joy, and light.
And now we fight the battle,
  But then shall wear the crown        30
Of full and everlasting
  And passionless renown:
And now we watch and struggle,
  And now we live in hope,
And Syon, in her anguish,        35
  With Babylon must cope:
But He Whom now we trust in
  Shall then be seen and known,
And they that know and see Him
  Shall have Him for their own.        40

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