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
The New Jerusalem
Or, the Soul’s Breathing after the Heavenly Country
 “Since Christ’s fair truth needs no man’s art,
Take this rude song in better part.”

O MOTHER dear, Jerusalem,
  When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end—
  Thy joys when shall I see?
O happy harbor of God’s saints!        5
  O sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrows can be found—
  No grief, no care, no toil.
In thee no sickness is at all,
  No hurt, nor any sore;        10
There is no death nor ugly night,
  But life for evermore.
No dimming cloud o’ershadows thee,
  No cloud nor darksome night,
But every soul shines as the sun—        15
  For God himself gives light.
There lust and lucre cannot dwell,
  There envy bears no sway;
There is no hunger, thirst, nor heat,
  But pleasures every way.        20
Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
  Would God I were in thee!
Oh! that my sorrows had an end,
  Thy joys that I might see!
No pains, no pangs, no grieving griefs,        25
  No woful night is there;
No sigh, no sob, no cry is heard—
  No well-away, no fear.
Jerusalem the city is
  Of God our king alone;        30
The Lamb of God, the light thereof,
  Sits there upon His throne.
O God! that I Jerusalem
  With speed may go behold!
For why? the pleasures there abound        35
  Which here cannot be told.
Thy turrets and thy pinnacles
  With carbuncles do shine—
With jasper, pearl, and chrysolite,
  Surpassing pure and fine.        40
Thy houses are of ivory,
  Thy windows crystal clear,
Thy streets are laid with beaten gold—
  There angels do appear.
Thy walls are made of precious stone,        45
  Thy bulwarks diamond square,
Thy gates are made of orient pearl—
  O God! if I were there!
Within thy gates no thing can come
  That is not passing clean;        50
No spider’s web, no dirt, nor dust,
  No filth may there be seen.
Jehovah, Lord, now come away,
  And end my griefs and plaints—
Take me to Thy Jerusalem,        55
  And place me with Thy saints!
Who there are crowned with glory great,
  And see God face to face,
They triumph still, and aye rejoice—
  Most happy is their case.        60
But we that are in banishment,
  Continually do moan;
We sigh, we mourn, we sob, we weep—
  Perpetually we groan.
Our sweetness mixèd is with gall,        65
  Our pleasures are but pain,
Our joys not worth the looking on—
  Our sorrows aye remain.
But there they live in such delight,
  Such pleasure and such play,        70
That unto them a thousand years
  Seems but as yesterday.
O my sweet home, Jerusalem!
  Thy joys when shall I see—
The King sitting upon His throne,        75
  And thy felicity?
Thy vineyards, and thy orchards,
  So wonderfully rare,
Are furnished with all kinds of fruit,
  Most beautifully fair.        80
Thy gardens and thy goodly walks
  Continually are green;
There grow such sweet and pleasant flowers
  As nowhere else are seen.
There cinnamon and sugar grow,        85
  There nard and balm abound;
No tongue can tell, no heart can think,
  The pleasures there are found.
There nectar and ambrosia spring—
  There music ’s ever sweet;        90
There many a fair and dainty thing
  Are trod down under feet.
Quite through the streets, with pleasant sound,
  The flood of life doth flow;
Upon the banks, on every side,        95
  The trees of life do grow.
These trees each month yield ripened fruit—
  For evermore they spring;
And all the nations of the world
  To thee their honors bring.        100
Jerusalem, God’s dwelling-place,
  Full sore I long to see;
Oh! that my sorrows had an end,
  That I might dwell in thee!
There David stands, with harp in hand,        105
  As master of the choir;
A thousand times that man were blest
  That might his music hear.
There Mary sings “Magnificat,”
  With tunes surpassing sweet;        110
And all the virgins bear their part,
  Singing around her feet.
“Te Deum,” doth Saint Ambrose sing,
  Saint Austin doth the like;
Old Simeon and Zacharie        115
  Have not their songs to seek.
There Magdalene hath left her moan,
  And cheerfully doth sing,
With all blest saints whose harmony
  Through every street doth ring.        120
Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
  Thy joys fain would I see;
Come quickly, Lord, and end my grief,
  And take me home to Thee;
Oh! paint Thy name on my forehead,        125
  And take me hence away,
That I may dwell with Thee in bliss,
  And sing Thy praises aye.
Jerusalem, the happy home—
  Jehovah’s throne on high!        130
O sacred city, queen, and wife
  Of Christ eternally!
O comely queen with glory clad,
  With honor and degree,
All fair thou art, exceeding bright—        135
  No spot there is in thee!
I long to see Jerusalem,
  The comfort of us all;
For thou art fair and beautiful—
  None ill can thee befall.        140
In thee, Jerusalem, I say,
  No darkness dare appear—
No night, no shade, no winter foul—
  No time doth alter there.
No candle needs, no moon to shine,        145
  No glittering star to light;
For Christ, the king of righteousness,
  For ever shineth bright.
A lamb unspotted, white and pure,
  To thee doth stand in lieu        150
Of light—so great the glory is
  Thine heavenly king to view.
He is the King of kings beset
  In midst His servants’ sight:
And they, His happy household all,        155
  Do serve Him day and night.
There, there the choir of angels sing—
  There the supernal sort
Of citizens, which hence are rid
  From dangers deep, do sport.        160
There be the prudent prophets all,
  The apostles six and six,
The glorious martyrs in a row,
  And confessors betwixt.
There doth the crew of righteous men        165
  And matrons all consist—
Young men and maids that here on earth
  Their pleasures did resist.
The sheep and lambs, that hardly ’scaped
  The snare of death and hell,        170
Triumph in joy eternally,
  Whereof no tongue can tell;
And though the glory of each one
  Doth differ in degree,
Yet is the joy of all alike        175
  And common, as we see.
There love and charity do reign,
  And Christ is all in all,
Whom they most perfectly behold
  In joy celestial.        180
They love, they praise—they praise, they love;
  They “Holy, holy,” cry;
They neither toil, nor faint, nor end,
  But laud continually.
Oh! happy thousand times were I,        185
  If, after wretched days,
I might with listening ears conceive
  Those heavenly songs of praise,
Which to the eternal king are sung
  By happy wights above—        190
By savèd souls and angels sweet,
  Who love the God of love.
Oh! passing happy were my state,
  Might I be worthy found
To wait upon my God and king,        195
  His praises there to sound;
And to enjoy my Christ above,
  His favor and His grace,
According to His promise made,
  Which here I interlace:        200
“O Father dear,” quoth He, “let them
  Which Thou hast put of old
To me, be there where lo! I am—
  Thy glory to behold;
Which I with Thee, before the world        205
  Was made in perfect wise,
Have had—from whence the fountain great
  Of glory doth arise.”
Again: “If any man will serve
  Thee, let him follow me;        210
For where I am, he there, right sure,
  Then shall my servant be.”
And still: “If any man loves me,
  Him loves my Father dear,
Whom I do love—to him myself        215
  In glory will appear.”
Lord, take away my misery,
  That then I may be bold
With Thee, in Thy Jerusalem,
  Thy glory to behold;        220
And so in Zion see my king,
  My love, my Lord, my all—
Where now as in a glass I see,
  There face to face I shall.
Oh! blessèd are the pure in heart—        225
  Their sovereign they shall see;
O ye most happy, heavenly wights,
  Which of God’s household be!
O Lord, with speed dissolve my bands,
  These gins and fetters strong;        230
For I have dwelt within the tents
  Of Kedar over long.
Yet search me, Lord, and find me out!
  Fetch me Thy fold unto,
That all Thy angels may rejoice,        235
  While all Thy will I do.
O mother dear! Jerusalem!
  When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end,
  Thy joys when shall I see?        240
Yet once again I pray Thee, Lord,
  To quit me from all strife,
That to Thy hill I may attain,
  And dwell there all my life—
With cherubim and seraphim        245
  And holy souls of men,
To sing Thy praise, O God of hosts!
  Forever and amen!

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