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).
X. “Where is it mothers learn their love?”
By John Keble (1792–1866)
(Holy Baptism)

WHERE is it mothers learn their love?—
  In every Church a fountain springs
    O’er which th’ Eternal Dove
      Hovers on softest wings.
What sparkles in that lucid flood        5
  Is water, by gross mortals eyed:
    But seen by Faith, ’tis blood
      Out of a dear Friend’s side.
A few calm words of faith and prayer,
  A few bright drops of holy dew,        10
  Shall work a wonder there
      Earth’s charmers never knew.
O happy arms, where cradled lies,
  And ready for the Lord’s embrace,
    That precious sacrifice,        15
      The darling of His grace!
Blest eyes, that see the smiling gleam
  Upon the slumbering features glow,
    When the life-giving stream
      Touches the tender brow!        20
Or when the holy cross is signed,
  And the young soldier duly sworn
    With true and fearless mind
      To serve the Virgin born.
But happiest ye, who sealed and blest        25
  Back to your arms your treasure take,
    With Jesus’ mark impressed
      To nurse for Jesus’ sake:
To whom—as if in hallowed air
  Ye knelt before some awful shrine—        30
    His innocent gestures wear
    A meaning half divine:
By whom Love’s daily touch is seen
  In strengthening form and freshening hue,
    In the fixed brow serene,        35
      The deep yet eager view.—
Who taught thy pure and even breath
  To come and go with such sweet grace?
    Whence thy reposing Faith,
      Though in our frail embrace?        40
O tender gem, and full of Heaven!
  Not in the twilight stars on high,
    Not in moist flowers at even
      See we our God so nigh.
Sweet one, make haste and know Him too,        45
  Thine own adopting Father love,
    That like thine earliest dew
      Thy dying sweets may prove.

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