Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HYMN, by ANNA LETITIA BARBAULD



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HYMN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Jehovah reigns: let every nation hear
Last Line: And your reward is sure.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Anna Letitia
Subject(s): Creation; God


"Ye are the salt of the earth"

Salt of the earth, ye virtuous few,
Who season human kind;
Light of the world, whose cheering ray
Illumes the realms of mind;

Where Misery spreads her deepest shade,
Your strong compassion glows;
From your blest lips the balm distils,
That softens mortal woes.

By dying beds, in prison glooms,
Your frequent steps are found;
Angels of love! you hover near,
To bind the stranger's wound.

You wash with tears the bloody page,
Which human crimes deform;
When vengeance threats, your prayers ascend,
And break the gathering storm.

As down the summer stream of vice
The thoughtless many glide;
Upward you steer your steady bark,
And stem the rushing tide.

Where guilt her foul contagion breathes,
And golden spoils allure;
Unspotted still your garments shine --
Your hands are ever pure.

Whene'er you touch the poet's lyre,
A loftier strain is heard;
Each ardent thought is your's alone,
And every burning word.

Your's is the large expansive thought,
The high heroic deed;
Exile and chains to you are dear;
To you 'tis sweet to bleed.

You lift on high the warning voice,
When public ills prevail;
Your's is the writing on the wall,
That turns the tyrant pale.

The dogs of hell your steps pursue,
With scoff, and shame, and loss;
The hemlock bowl 'tis your's to drain,
To taste the bitter cross.

E'en yet the steaming scaffolds smoke
By Seine's polluted stream;
With your rich blood the fields are drench'd
Where Polish sabres gleam.

E'en now, through those accursed bars,
In vain we send our sighs;
Where, deep in Olmutz' dungeon glooms,
The patriot martyr lies.

Yet your's is all thro' hist'ry's rolls
The kindling bosom feels;
And at your tomb, with throbbing heart,
The fond enthusiast kneels.

In every faith, thro' every clime,
Your pilgrim steps we trace;
And shrines are drest, and temples rise,
Each hallow'd spot to grace.

And Paeans loud, in every tongue,
And choral hymns resound;
And length'ning honours hand your name
To time's remotest bound.

Proceed! your race of glory run,
Your virtuous toils endure!
You come, commission'd from on high,
And your reward is sure.





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