1 Is this a time to plant and build,
Add house to house, and field to field,
When round our walls the battle lowers,
When mines are hid beneath our towers,
And watchful foes are stealing round
To search and spoil the holy ground?
2 Is this a time for moonlight dreams
Of love and home by mazy streams,
For Fancy with her shadowy toys,
Aërial hopes and pensive joys,
While souls are wandering far and wide,
And curses swarm on every side?
3 No—rather steel thy melting heart
To act the martyr’s sternest part,
To watch, with firm unshrinking eye,
Thy darling visions as they die,
Till all bright hopes, and hues of day,
Have faded into twilight gray.
4 Yes—let them pass without a sigh,
And if the world seem dull and dry,
If long and sad thy lonely hours,
And winds have rent thy sheltering bowers,
Bethink thee what thou art and where,
A sinner in a life of care.
5 The fire of God is soon to fall
(Thou know’st it) on this earthly ball;
Full many a soul, the price of blood,
Marked by th’ Almighty’s hand for good,
To utter death that hour shall sweep—
And will the saints in Heaven dare weep?
6 Then in His wrath shall God uproot
The trees He set, for lack of fruit,
And drown in rude tempestuous blaze
The towers His hand had deigned to raise;
In silence, ere that storm begin,
Count o’er His mercies and thy sin.
7 Pray only that thine aching heart,
From visions vain content to part,
Strong for Love’s sake its woe to hide
May cheerful wait the Cross beside,
Too happy if, that dreadful day,
Thy life be given thee for a prey.
8 natched sudden from th’ avenging rod,
Safe in the bosom of Thy God,
How wilt thou then look back, and smile
On thoughts the bitterest seemed erewhile,
And bless the pangs that made thee see
This was no world of rest for thee!
Keble, John, M.A., was born at Fairford, in Gloucestershire, on St. Mark's Day, 1792. His father was Vicar of Coln St. Aldwin's, about three miles distant, but lived at Fairford in a house of his own, where he educated entirely his two sons, John and Thomas, up to the time of their entrance at Oxford. In 1806 John Keble won a Scholarship at Corpus Christi College, and in 1810 a Double First Class, a distinction which up to that time had been gained by no one except Sir Robert Peel. In 1811 he was elected a Fellow of Oriel, a very great honour, especially for a boy under 19 years of age; and in 1811 he won the University Prizes both for the English and Latin Essays. It is somewhat remarkable that amid this brilliantly successful career,… Go to person page >