St. Bartholomew

By John Keble

Hold up thy mirror to the sun,
And thou shalt need an eagle’s gaze,
So perfectly the polished stone
Gives back the glory of his rays:

Turn it, and it shall paint as true
The soft green of the vernal earth,
And each small flower of bashful hue,
That closest hides its lowly birth.

Our mirror is a blessed book,
Where out from each illumined page
We see one glorious Image look
All eyes to dazzle and engage,

The Son of God:  and that indeed
We see Him as He is, we know,
Since in the same bright glass we read
The very life of things below.

Eye of God’s word! where’er we turn
Ever upon us! thy keen gaze
Can all the depths of sin discern,
Unravel every bosom’s maze:

Who that has felt thy glance of dread
Thrill through his heart’s remotest cells,
About his path, about his bed,
Can doubt what spirit in thee dwells?

“What word is this?  Whence know’st thou me?”
All wondering cries the humbled heart,
To hear thee that deep mystery,
The knowledge of itself, impart.

The veil is raised; who runs may read,
By its own light the truth is seen,
And soon the Israelite indeed
Bows down t’ adore the Nazarene.

So did Nathanael, guileless man,
At once, not shame-faced or afraid,
Owning Him God, who so could scan
His musings in the lonely shade;

In his own pleasant fig-tree’s shade,
Which by his household fountain grew,
Where at noon-day his prayer he made
To know God better than he knew.

Oh! happy hours of heavenward thought!
How richly crowned! how well improved!
In musing o’er the Law he taught,
In waiting for the Lord he loved.

We must not mar with earthly praise
What God’s approving word hath sealed:
Enough, if might our feeble lays
Take up the promise He revealed;

“The child-like faith, that asks not sight,
Waits not for wonder or for sign,
Believes, because it loves, aright –
Shall see things greater, things divine.

“Heaven to that gaze shall open wide,
And brightest angels to and fro
On messages of love shall glide
‘Twixt God above and Christ below.”

So still the guileless man is blest,
To him all crooked paths are straight,
Him on his way to endless rest
Fresh, ever-growing strengths await.

God’s witnesses, a glorious host,
Compass him daily like a cloud;
Martyrs and seers, the saved and lost,
Mercies and judgments cry aloud.

Yet shall to him the still small voice,
That first into his bosom found
A way, and fixed his wavering choice,
Nearest and dearest ever sound.