O day of life, of light, of love!
The only day dealt from above!
A day so fresh, so bright, so brave,
’Twill show us each forgotten grace,
And make the dead, like flowers, arise
Youthful and fair to see new skies.
All other days, compared to thee,
Are but Light’s weak minority;
They are but veils, and cypress drawn
Like clouds, before thy glorious dawn.
O come! arise! shine! do not stay,
Dearly lov’d day!
The fields are long since white, and I
With earnest groans for freedom cry;
My fellow-creatures too say “Come!”
And stones, though speechless, are not dumb.
When shall we hear that glorious voice
Of life and joys?
That voice, which to each secret bed
Of my Lord’s dead,
Shall being true day, and make dust see
The way to immortality?
When shall those first white pilgrims rise,
Whose holy, happy histories
– Because they sleep so long – some men
Count but the blots of a vain pen?
Dear Lord! make haste!
Sin every day commits more waste;
And Thy old enemy, which knows
His time is short, more raging grows.
Nor moan I only – though profuse –
Thy creature’s bondage and abuse;
But what is highest sin and shame,
The vile despite done to Thy name;
The forgeries, which impious wit
And power force on Holy Writ,
With all detestable designs,
That may dishonour those pure lines.
O God! though mercy be in Thee
The greatest attribute we see,
And the most needful for our sins;
Yet, when Thy mercy nothing wins
But mere disdain, let not man say
“Thy arm doth sleep”, but write this day
Thy judging one: descend, descend!
Make all things news, and without end!
Henry Vaughan, 1621-1695
Fr Lee Kenyon