“Too happy, on my silent path”: Keble’s poem for St James

St. James’s Day.

Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father.  St. Matthew xx. 23.

Sit down and take thy fill of joy
At God’s right hand, a bidden guest,
Drink of the cup that cannot cloy,
Eat of the bread that cannot waste.
O great Apostle! rightly now
Thou readest all thy Saviour meant,
What time His grave yet gentle brow
In sweet reproof on thee was bent.

“Seek ye to sit enthroned by me?
Alas! ye know not what ye ask,
The first in shame and agony,
The lowest in the meanest task—
This can ye be? and came ye drink
The cup that I in tears must steep,
Nor from the ’whelming waters shrink
That o’er Me roll so dark and deep?”

“We can—Thine are we, dearest Lord,
In glory and in agony,
To do and suffer all Thy word;
Only be Thou for ever nigh.”—
“Then be it so—My cup receive,
And of My woes baptismal taste:
But for the crown, that angels weave
For those next Me in glory placed,

“I give it not by partial love;
But in My Father’s book are writ
What names on earth shall lowliest prove,
That they in Heaven may highest sit.”
Take up the lesson, O my heart;
Thou Lord of meekness, write it there,
Thine own meek self to me impart,
Thy lofty hope, thy lowly prayer.

If ever on the mount with Thee
I seem to soar in vision bright,
With thoughts of coming agony,
Stay Thou the too presumptuous flight:
Gently along the vale of tears
Lead me from Tabor’s sunbright steep,
Let me not grudge a few short years
With thee t’ward Heaven to walk and weep:

Too happy, on my silent path,
If now and then allowed, with Thee
Watching some placid holy death,
Thy secret work of love to see;
But, oh! most happy, should Thy call,
Thy welcome call, at last be given—
“Come where thou long hast storeth thy all
Come see thy place prepared in Heaven.”

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