Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
My Walk to Church
By Horatio Nelson Powers (1826–1890)
[Born in Amenia, N. Y., 1826. Died at Piermont, N. Y., 1890. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 1888.]

BREATHING the summer-scented air
  Along the bowery mountain way,
Each Lord’s-day morning I repair
  To serve my church, a mile away.
Below, the glorious river lies—        5
  A bright, broad-breasted, sylvan sea—
And round the sumptuous highlands rise,
  Fair as the hills of Galilee.
Young flowers are in my path. I hear
  Music of unrecorded tone.        10
The heart of Beauty beats so near,
  Its pulses modulate my own.
The shadow on the meadow’s breast
  Is not more calm than my repose
As, step by step, I am the guest        15
  Of every living thing that grows.
Ah, something melts along the sky,
  And something rises from the ground,
And fills the inner ear and eye
  Beyond the sense of sight and sound.        20
It is not that I strive to see
  What Love in lovely shapes has wrought—
Its gracious messages to me
  Come, like the gentle dews, unsought.
I merely walk with open heart        25
  Which feels the secret in the sign;
But, oh, how large and rich my part
  In all that makes the feast divine!
Sometimes I hear the happy birds
  That sang to Christ beyond the sea,        30
And softly His consoling words
  Blend with their joyous minstrelsy.
Sometimes in royal vesture glow
  The lilies that He called so fair,
Which never toil nor spin, yet show        35
  The loving Father’s tender care.
And then along the fragrant hills
  A radiant presence seems to move,
And earth grows fairer as it fills
  The very air I breathe with love.        40
And now I see one perfect face,
  And hastening to my church’s door,
Find Him within the holy place
  Who, all my way, went on before.

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