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.
The Christian Year (1827).
IX. “Bless’d are the pure in heart”
By John Keble (1792–1866)
(The Purification)
  “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
—St. Matthew v. 8.    

    BLESS’D are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see our God,
The secret of the Lord is theirs,
    Their soul is Christ’s abode.
    Might mortal thought presume        5
    To guess an angel’s lay,
Such are the notes that echo through
    The courts of Heaven to-day.
    Such the triumphal hymns
    On Sion’s Prince that wait,        10
In high procession passing on
    Towards His temple-gate.
    Give ear, ye kings—bow down,
    Ye rulers of the earth—
This, this is He: your Priest by grace,        15
    Your God and King by birth.
    No pomp of earthly guards
    Attends with sword and spear,
And all-defying, dauntless look,
    Their monarch’s way to clear;        20
    Yet are there more with Him
    Than all that are with you—
The armies of the highest Heaven,
    All righteous, good, and true.
    Spotless their robes and pure,        25
    Dipped in the sea of light,
That hides the unapproachèd shrine
    From men’s and angels’ sight.
    His throne, thy bosom blest,
    O mother undefiled—        30
That throne, if aught beneath the skies,
    Beseems the sinless child.
    Lost in high thoughts, “whose son
    The wondrous Babe might prove,”
Her guileless husband walks beside,        35
    Bearing the hallowed dove;
    Meet emblem of His vow,
    Who, on this happy day,
His dove-like soul—best sacrifice—
    Did on God’s altar lay.        40
    But who is he, by years
    Bowed, but erect in heart,
Whose prayers are struggling with his tears?
    “Lord, let me now depart.
    “Now hath Thy servant seen        45
    Thy saving health, O Lord;
’Tis time that I depart in peace,
    According to Thy word.”
    Yet swells the pomp: one more
    Comes forth to bless her God;        50
Full fourscore years, meek widow, she
    Her heaven-ward way hath trod.
    She who to earthly joys
    So long had given farewell,
Now sees, unlooked for, Heaven on earth,        55
    Christ in His Israel.
    Wide open from that hour
    The temple-gates are set,
And still the saints rejoicing there
    The holy Child have met.        60
    Now count His train to-day,
    And who may meet Him, learn;
Him child-like sires, meek maidens find,
    Where pride can nought discern.
    Still to the lowly soul        65
    He doth Himself impart,
And for His cradle and His throne
    Chooseth the pure in heart.

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