Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
“Forever with the Lord”
James Montgomery (1771–1854)
  FOREVER with the Lord!
  Amen! so let it be!
Life from the dead is in that word,
  And immortality.
  Here in the body pent,        5
  Absent from him I roam,
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
  A day’s march nearer home.
  My Father’s house on high,
  Home of my soul! how near,        10
At times, to faith’s foreseeing eye
  Thy golden gates appear!
  Ah! then my spirit faints
  To reach the land I love,
The bright inheritance of saints,        15
  Jerusalem above!
  Yet clouds will intervene,
  And all my prospect flies;
Like Noah’s dove, I flit between
  Rough seas and stormy skies.        20
  Anon the clouds depart,
  The winds and waters cease;
While sweetly o’er my gladdened heart
  Expands the bow of peace!
  Beneath its glowing arch,        25
  Along the hallowed ground,
I see cherubic armies march,
  A camp of fire around.
  I hear at morn and even,
  At noon and midnight hour,        30
The choral harmonies of heaven
  Earth’s Babel tongues o’erpower.
  Then, then I feel that he,
  Remembered or forgot,
The Lord, is never far from me,        35
  Though I perceive him not.
  In darkness as in light,
  Hidden alike from view,
I sleep, I wake, as in his sight
  Who looks all nature through.        40
  All that I am, have been,
  All that I yet may be,
He sees at once, as he hath seen,
  And shall forever see.
  “Forever with the Lord;”        45
  Father, if ’t is thy will,
The promise of that faithful word
  Unto thy child fulfil!
  So, when my latest breath
  Shall rend the veil in twain,        50
By death I shall escape from death,
  And life eternal gain.

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