Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Brief Life is Here Our Portion
By Bernard of Cluny (Twelfth Century)
BRIEF life is here our portion,
  Brief sorrow, short-lived 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 wanderers,
  To have our home on high!        10
That worms should seek for dwellings
  Beyond the starry sky!
And now we fight the battle,
  And then we wear the Crown
Of full and everlasting        15
  And passionless renown:
Then glory, yet unheard of,
  Shall shed abroad its ray;
Resolving all enigmas,
  An endless Sabbath-day.        20
Then, then, from his oppressors
  The Hebrew shall go free,
And celebrate in triumph
  The year of Jubilee:
And the sun-lit land that recks not        25
  Of tempest or of fight
Shall fold within its bosom
  Each happy Israelite.
’Midst power that knows no limit,
  And wisdom free from bound,        30
The Beatific Vision
  Shall glad the Saints around;
And peace, for war is needless,
  And rest, for storm is past,
And goal from finished labor,        35
  And anchorage at last.
There God, my King and Portion,
  In fullness of His Grace,
Shall we behold forever,
  And worship face to face;        40
There Jacob into Israel,
  From earthlier self estranged,
And Leah into Rachel
  Forever shall be changed;
There all the halls of Syon        45
  For aye shall be complete:
And in the land of Beauty
  All things of beauty meet.
To thee, O dear, dear country!
  Mine eyes their vigils keep;        50
For very love, beholding
  Thy happy name, they weep:
The mention of Thy glory
  Is unction to the breast,
And medicine in sickness,        55
  And love, and life, and rest.
O one, O onely mansion!
  O Paradise of joy!
Where tears are ever banished,
  And smiles have no alloy:        60
Beside thy living waters
  All plants are, great and small;
The cedar of the forest,
  The hyssop of the wall;
With jaspers glow thy bulwarks,        65
  Thy streets with emeralds blaze;
The sardius and the topaz
  Unite in thee their rays;
Thine ageless walls are bonded
  With amethyst unpriced;        70
Thy saints build up its fabric,
  And the Corner-stone is CHRIST.
Thou hast no shore, fair Ocean!
  Thou hast no time, bright Day!
Dear fountain of refreshment        75
  To pilgrims far away!
Upon the Rock of Ages
  They raise thy holy Tower.
Thine is the Victor’s laurel,
  And thine the golden dower.        80
Thou feel’st in mystic rapture,
  O Bride that know’st no guile,
The Prince’s sweetest kisses,
  The Prince’s loveliest smile.
Unfading lilies, bracelets        85
  Of living pearl, thine own;
The Lamb is ever near thee,
  The Bridegroom thine alone;
And all thine endless leisure
  In sweetest accents sings        90
The ills that were thy merit,
  The joys that are thy King’s.
Jerusalem the golden!
  With milk and honey blest,
Beneath thy contemplation        95
  Sink heart and voice opprest;
I know not, oh, I know not
  What social joys are there,
What radiancy of glory,
  What light beyond compare;        100
And when I fain would sing them,
  My spirit fails and faints,
And vainly would it image
  The assembly of the Saints.
They stand, those halls of Syon,        105
  All jubilant with song,
And bright with many an Angel,
  And many a Martyr throng;
The Prince is ever in them,
  The light is aye serene;        110
The Pastures of the Blessed
  Are decked in glorious sheen;
There is the Throne of David,
  And there, from toil released,
The shout of them that triumph,        115
  The song of them that feast;
And they, beneath their Leader,
  Who conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever
  Are clad in robes of white.        120
Jerusalem the glorious!
  The glory of the elect,
O dear and future vision
  That eager hearts expect:
Ev’n now by faith I see thee,        125
  Ev’n here thy walls discern;
To thee my thoughts are kindled
  And strive and pant and yearn:
Jerusalem the onely,
  That look’st from Heav’n below,        130
In thee is all my glory,
  In me is all my woe:
And though my body may not,
  My spirit seeks thee fain;
Till flesh and earth return me        135
  To earth and flesh again.
O Land that seest no sorrow!
  O State that fear’st no strife!
O princely bowers! O Land of flowers!
  O realm and Home of Life!        140

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