Monday in Holy Week 2007
The Tree of the Cross
Blest is he that seeketh rest
In God's pastures green and quiet,
In the shadow of the Cross,
Far from worldly toil and riot;
He is safe, on holy ground,
Though the tempest rage around.
Sun by day and moon by night
Shall not there have power to harm him,
Hellish foes with subtle wiles
Can not there succeed to charm him;
No true ill can him betide
Who beneath the Cross doth bide.
With the fruit that Tree doth bear
He his hunger keen relieveth,
Closest union with his God
Through that wondrous food receiveth.
Sweetest fruit, how blest is he
Who doth taste it worthily!
With the dew Christ's Wounds distil
There his fainting soul he easeth,
Even as the panting hart
At the brook its thirst appeaseth;
Christ's sweet Blood may well make whole
Every weak and parched soul.
Come, then, to the Cross all ye
Who do faint beneath your burden;
Rest beneath that Tree, and seek
There your labor's ample guerdon—
Peace, which nowhere can be found
Save upon that hallow'd ground.
Let me dwell beneath Thy Cross,
Lord, in life and death, I pray Thee;
Let no hostile powers thence
Drive me, Lord; do not gainsay me,
Who on earth no comfort own
Save Thy death and Cross alone!
Johann Scheffler a.k.a. Angelus Silesius (1624-1677)
anonymous translation from German
The Catholic Anthology: The World's Great Catholic Poetry (1940), ed. Thomas Walsh and George N. Shuster, pp. 210f.
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Love, the Tempter
(Season of Lent)
Oh, tempt me not! I love too well this snare
Of silken cords.
Nay, Love, the flesh is fair;
So tempt me not! This earth affords
Too much delight;
Withdraw Thee from my sight,
Lest my weak soul break free
And throw me back to Thee!
Thy Face is all too marred. Nay, Love, not I
I did not that! Doubtless Thou hadst to die:
Others did faint for Thee; but I faint not.
Only a little while hath sorrow got
The better of me now; for Thou art grieved,
Thinking I need Thee. Oh, Christ, lest I fall
Weeping between Thy Feet, and give Thee all:
Oh, Christ, lest love condemn me unreprieved
Into Thy bondage, be it not believed
That Thou hast need of me!
Dost Thou not know
I never turned aside to mock Thy Woe?
I had respect to Thy great love for men:
Why wilt Thou, then,
Question of each new lust
"Are these not ashes, and is this not dust?"
Ah, Love, Thou hast not eyes
To see how sweet it is!
Each for himself be wise:
Mock not my bliss!
Ere Thou cam'st troubling, was I not content?
Because I pity Thee, and would be glad
To go mine own way, and not leave Thee sad,
Is all my comfort spent?
Go Thine own ways, nor dream Thou needest me!
Yet if, again, Thou on the bitter Tree
Wert hanging now, with none to succour Thee
Or run to quench Thy sudden cry of thirst,
Would not I be the first
Ah, Love, the prize!
To lift one cloud of suffering from Thine Eyes?
Oh, Christ, let be!
Stretch not Thine ever-pleading Hands thus wide,
Nor with imperious gesture touch Thy Side!
Past is Thy Calvary. By the Life that died,
Oh, tempt not me!
Nay, if Thou weepest, then must I weep too,
Sweet Tempter, Christ! Yet what can I undo,
I, the undone, the undone,
To comfort Thee, God's Son?
Oh, draw me near, and, for some lowest use,
That I may be
Lost and undone in Thee,
Me from mine own self loose!
Laurence Housman (b. 1864)
The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917), ed. D. H. S. Nicholson and A. H. E. Lee, pp. 491f.
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Holy Sonnets VII
At the round earths imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
From death, you numberlesse infinities
Of soules, and to your scattred bodies goe,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom warre, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despaire, law, chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe,
But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
For, if above all these, my sinnes abound,
'Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach mee how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou'hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.
The Complete English Poems (1985), ed. C. A. Patrides, pp. 438f.
(See also modernized.)
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Mon. 04/02/07 06:12:58 AM
Categorized as Literary & Religious.