Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CELESTIAL COUNTRY, by BERNARD OF CLUNY



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THE CELESTIAL COUNTRY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The world is very evil
Last Line: Thou shalt be, and thou art!
Alternate Author Name(s): Bernard Of Morlaix; Morlaix, Bernard De; Bernard Of Morlay
Subject(s): Heaven; Paradise


The world is very evil,
The times are waxing late;
Be sober and keep vigil
The Judge is at the gate, --
The Judge that comes in mercy,
The Judge that comes with might,
To terminate the evil,
To diadem the right.
When the just and gentle Monarch
Shall summon from the tomb,
Let man, the guilty, tremble,
For Man, the God, shall doom!

Arise, arise, good Christian,
Let right to wrong succeed;
Let penitential sorrow
To heavenly gladness lead, --
To the light that hath no evening
That knows nor moon nor sun,
The light so new and golden,
The light that is but one.

And when the Sole-Begotten
Shall render up once more
The kingdom to the Father,
Whose own it was before
Then glory yet unheard of
Shall shed abroad its ray,
Resolving all enigmas,
An endless Sabbath-day.

For thee, O dear, dear Country!
Mine eyes their vigils keep;
For very love, beholding
Thy happy name, they weep.
The mention of thy glory
Is unction to the breast,
And medicine in sickness,
And love, and life, and rest.

O one, O only Mansion!
O Paradise of Joy,
Where tears are ever banished,
And smiles have no alloy!
Beside thy living waters
All plants are, great and small,
The cedar of the forest,
The hyssop of the wall;
With jaspers glow thy bulwarks,
Thy streets with emeralds blaze,
The sardius and the topaz
Unite in thee their rays;
Thine ageless walls are bonded
With amethyst unpriced;
Thy Saints build up its fabric,
And the corner-stone is Christ.

The Cross is all thy splendor,
The Crucified thy praise;
His laud and benediction
Thy ransomed people raise:
"Jesus, the gem of Beauty,
True God and Man," they
"The never-failing Garden,
The ever-golden Ring,;
The Door, the Pledge, the Husband,
The Guardian of his Court;
The Day-star of Salvation,
The Porter and the Port!"

Thou hast no shore, fair ocean!
Thou hast no time, bright day!
Dear fountain of refreshment
To pilgrims far away!
Upon the Rock of ages
They raise thy holy tower;
Thine is the victor's laurel
And thine the golden dower!

Thou feel'st in mystic rapture,
O Bride that know'st no guile,
The Prince's sweetest kisses,
The Prince's loveliest smile;
Unfading lilies, bracelets
Of living pearl thine own;
The Lamb is ever near thee,
The Bridegroom thine own.
The Crown is he to guerdon,
The Buckler to protect,
And he himself the Mansion,
And he the Architect.

The only art thou needest --
Thanksgiving for thy lot;
The only joy thou seekest --
The Life where Death is not.
And all thine endless leisure,
In sweetest accents, sings
The ill that was thy merit
The wealth that is thy King's!

Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest,
Beneath thy contemplation
Sink heart and voice oppressed.
I know not, O I know not,
What social joys are there!
What radiance of glory,
What light beyond compare!

And when I fain would sing them,
My spirit fails and faints;
And vainly would it image
The assembly of the Saints.

They stand, those halls of Zion,
Conjubilant with song,
And bright with many an angel,
And all the martyr throng;
The Prince is ever in them,
The daylight is serene;
The pastures of the Blessed
Are decked in glorious sheen.

There is the Throne of David,
And there, from care released,
The song of them that triumph,
The shout of them that feast;
And they who, with their leader,
Have conquered in the fight,
Forever and forever
Are clad in robes of white!

O holy, placid harp-notes
Of that eternal hymn!
O sacred, sweet reflection,
And peace of Seraphim!
O thirst, forever ardent,
Yet evermore content!
O true peculiar vision
Of God cunctipotent!
Ye know the many mansions
For many a glorious name,
And divers retributions
That divers merits claim;
For midst the constellations
That deck our earthly sky,
This star than that is brighter --
And so it is on high.

Jerusalem the glorious!
The glory of the Elect!
O dear and future vision
That eager hearts expect!
Even now by faith I see thee,
Even here thy walls discern;
To thee my thoughts are kindled,
And strive, and pant, and yearn.

Jerusalem the only,
That look'st from heaven below,
In thee is all my glory,
In me is all my woe;
And though my body may not,
My spirit seeks thee fain,
Till flesh and earth return me
To earth and flesh again.

O none can tell thy bulwarks,
How gloriously they rise!
O none can tell thy capitals
Of beautiful device!
Thy loveliness oppresses
All human thought and heart;
And none, O peace, O Zion,
Can sing thee as thou art!

New mansion of new people,
Whom God's own love and light
Promote, increase, make holy,
Identify, unite!
Thou City of the Angels!
Thou City of the Lord!
Whose everlasting music
Is the glorious decachord!

And there the band of Prophets
United praise ascribes,
And there the twelvefold chorus
Of Israel's ransomed tribes.
The lily-beds of virgins,
The roses' martyr-glow,
The cohort of the Fathers
Who kept the faith below.

And there the Sole-Begotten
Is lord in regal state, --
He, Judah's mystic Lion,
He, Lamb Immaculate.
O fields that know no sorrow!
O state that fears no strife!
O princely bowers! O land of flowers!
O realm and home of Life!

Jerusalem, exulting
On that securest shore,
I hope thee, wish thee, sing thee,
And love thee evermore!
I ask not for my merit,
I seek not to deny
My merit is destruction,
A child of wrath am I;
But yet with faith I venture
And hope upon my way;
For those perennial guerdons
I labor night and day.

The best and dearest Father,
Who made me and who saved,
Bore with me in defilement,
And from defilement laved,
When in his strength I struggle,
For very joy I leap,
When in my sin I totter,
I weep, or try to weep:
Then grace, sweet grace celestial,
Shall all its love display,
And David's Royal Fountain
Purge every sin away.

O mine, my golden Zion!
O lovelier far than gold,
With laurel-girt battalions,
And safe victorious fold!
O sweet and blessed Country,
Shall I ever see thy face?
O sweet and blessed Country,
Shall I ever win thy grace?
I have the hope within me
To comfort and to bless!
Shall I ever win the prize itself?
O tell me, tell me, Yes!

Exult! O dust and ashes!
The Lord shall be thy part;
His only, his forever,
Thou shalt be, and thou art!
Exult, O dust and ashes!
The Lord shall be thy part;
His only, His forever,
Thou shalt be, and thou art!




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