Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ROCK OF AGES', by EDWARD H. RICE



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ROCK OF AGES', by            
First Line: Rock of ages, cleft for me,' / thoughtlessly the maiden sang
Last Line: "let me hide myself in thee."
Subject(s): God; Religion; Theology


"ROCK of Ages, cleft for me,"
Thoughtlessly the maiden sung
Fell the words unconsciously
From her girlish, gleeful tongue;
Sang as little children sing;
Sang as sing the birds in June;
Fell the words like light leaves down
On the current of the tune, --
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."

"Let me hide myself in Thee:"
Felt her soul no need to hide, --
Sweet the song as song could be,
And she had no thought beside;
All the words unheedingly
Fell from lips untouched by care,
Dreaming not that they might be
On some other lips a prayer, --
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,"
'T was a woman sung them now,
Pleadingly and prayerfully;
Every word her heart did know.
Rose the song as storm-tossed bird
Beats with weary wing the air,
Every note with sorrow stirred,
Every syllable a prayer, --
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me," --
Lips grown aged sung the hymn
Trustingly and tenderly,
Voice grown weak and eyes grown dim, --
"Let me hide myself in Thee."
Trembling though the voice and low,
Rose the sweet strain peacefully
Like a river in its flow;
Sung as only they can sing
Who life's thorny path have passed;
Sung as only they can sing
Who bebold the promised rest, --
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,"
Sung above a coffin lid;
Underneath, all restfully,
All life's joys and sorrows hid.
Nevermore, O storm-tossed soul!
Nevermore from wind or tide,
Nevermore from billow's roll,
Wilt thou need thyself to hide.
Could the sightless, sunken eyes,
Closed beneath the soft gray hair,
Could the mute and stiffened lips
Move again in pleading prayer,
Still, aye still, the words would be, --
"Let me hide myself in Thee."




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