As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Zech. xi. 11.  

AT length the worst is o’er, and Thou art laid  
Deep in thy darksome bed;  
All still and cold beneath you dreary stone  
Thy sacred form is gone;  
Around those lips where power and mercy hung,  
The dews of death have clung;  
The dull earth o’er Thee, and thy foes around,  
Thou sleep’st a silent corse, in funeral fetters wound. 

Sleep’st Thou indeed? or is thy spirit fled,  
At large among the dead?  
Whether in Eden bowers thy welcome voice  
Wake Abraham to rejoice,  
Or in some drearier scene thine eye controuls  
The thronging band of souls;  
That, as thy blood won earth, thine agony  
Might set the shadowy realm from sin and sorrow free. 

Where’er Thou roam’st, one happy soul, we know,  
Seen at thy side in woe,  
Waits on thy triumph—even as all the blest  
With him and thee shall rest.  
Each on his cross, by Thee we hang a while,  
Watching thy patient smile,  
Till we have learn’d to say, "Tis justly done,  
"Only in glory, LORD, thy sinful servant own." 

Soon wilt Thou take us to thy tranquil bower  
To rest one little hour,  
Till thine elect are number’d, and the grave  
Call Thee to come and save:  
Then on thy bosom borne shall we descend,  
Again with earth to blend,  
Earth all refin’d with bright supernal fires,  
Tinctur’d with holy blood, and wing’d with pure desires. 

Meanwhile with every son and saint of thine  
Along the glorious line,  
Sitting by turns beneath thy sacred feet  
We’ll hold communion sweet,  
Know them by look and voice, and thank them all  
For helping us in thrall,  
For words of hope, and bright examples given  
To shew through moonless skies that there is light in Heaven. 

O come that day, when in this restless heart  
Earth shall resign her part,  
When in the grave with Thee my limbs shall rest,  
My soul with Thee be blest!  
But stay, presumptuous—CHRIST with thee abides  
In the rock’s dreary sides:  
He from the stone will wring celestial dew  
If but the prisoner’s heart be faithful found and true. 

When tears are spent, and Thou art left alone  
With ghosts of blessings gone,  
Think thou art taken from the cross, and laid  
In JESUS’ burial shade;  
Take Moses’ rod, the rod of prayer, and call  
Out of the rocky wall  
The fount of holy blood; and lift on high  
Thy grovelling soul that feels so desolate and dry. 

Prisoner of Hope thou art—look up and sing  
In hope of promis’d spring.  
As in the pit his father’s darling lay  
Beside the desert way,  
And knew not how, but knew his GOD would save  
Even from that living grave,  
So, buried with our LORD, we’ll close our eyes  
To the decaying world, till Angels bid us rise. 

John Keble

 

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