I. How blest the minds, which daily rise
To worlds unseen beyond the skies,
And lose this vale of tears!
On heav'n-taught pinions while they soar,
And joys unknown to sense explore,
How low the cares of mortal life! how mean its bliss appears!
II. O for the wings of faith and love,
To bear my thoughts and hopes above
These little scenes of care!
Above these gloomy mists which rise,
And pain my heart, and cloud my eyes,
To see the dawn of heav'nly day, and breathe celestial air.
III. Yet higher would I stretch my flight,
And reach the sacred courts of light
[p.94] Where my Redeemer reigns:
Far-beaming from his radiant throne
Immortal splendours, joys unknown,
With never-fading lustre shine, o'er all the blissful plains.
IV. Ten thousand times ten thousand tongues
There join in rapture-breathing songs,
And tune the golden lyre
To Jesus their exalted Lord;
Dear name, how lov'd! and how ador'd!
His charms awake the heav'nly strain, and ev'ry note inspire.
V. No short-liv'd pleasure there beguiles,
But perfect bliss for ever smiles,
With undeclining ray:
Thither my thoughts would fain ascend,
But ah! to dust and earth they bend,
Fetter'd with empty vanities, and chain'd to lifeless clay.
VI. Dear Lord, and shall I ever be
So far from bliss, so far from thee,
[p.95] An exile from the sky?
O break these chains, my wishes fire,
And upward bid my heart aspire;
Without thy aid I cannot rise,
O give me wings to fly.
Anne Steele was the daughter of Particular Baptist preacher and timber merchant William Steele. She spent her entire life in Broughton, Hampshire, near the southern coast of England, and devoted much of her time to writing. Some accounts of her life portray her as a lonely, melancholy invalid, but a revival of research in the last decade indicates that she had been more active and social than what was previously thought. She was theologically conversant with Dissenting ministers and "found herself at the centre of a literary circle that included family members from various generations, as well as local literati." She chose a life of singleness to focus on her craft. Before Christmas in 1742, she declined a marriage proposal from contemporar… Go to person page >