Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, COWPER'S CONSOLATION, by PHOEBE CARY

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COWPER'S CONSOLATION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: He knew what mortals know when tried
Last Line: God took his own!
Subject(s): Consolation; Cowper, William (1731-1800); Death; Poetry & Poets; Dead, The

HE knew what mortals know when tried
By suffering's worst and last extreme;
He knew the ecstacy allied
To bliss supreme.

Souls, hanging on his melody,
Have caught his rapture of belief;
The heart of all humanity
Has felt his grief.

In sweet compassion and in love
Poets about his tomb have trod;
And softly hung their wreaths above
The hallowed sod.

His hymns of victory, clear and strong,
Over the hosts of sin and doubt,
Still make the Christian's battle-song,
And triumph-shout.

Tasting sometimes his Father's grace,
Yet for wise purposes allowed
Seldom to see the "smiling face"
Behind the cloud;

Surely when he was left the prey
Of torments only Heaven can still,
"God moved in a mysterious way"
To work his will.

Yet many a soul through life has trod
Untroubled o'er securest ground,
Nor knew that "closer walk with God"
His footsteps found.

With its great load of grief to bear,
The reed, though bruised, might not break;
God did not leave him to despair,
Nor quite forsake.

The pillow by his tear-drops wet,
The stoniest couch that heard his cries,
Had near a golden ladder set
That touched the skies.

And at the morning on his bed,
And in sweet visions of the night,
Angels, descending, comforted
His soul with light.

Standing upon the hither side,
How few of all the earthly host
Have signaled those whose feet have trod
The heavenly coast.

Yet his it was at times to see,
In glimpses faint and half-revealed,
That strange and awful mystery
By death concealed.

And, as the glory thus discerned
His heart desired, with strong desire;
By seraphs touched, his sad lips burned
With sacred fire.

As ravens to Elijah bare,
At morn and eve, the promised bread;
So by the spirits of the air
His soul was fed.

And, even as the prophet rose
Triumphant on the flames of love,
The fiery chariot of his woes
Bore him above.

Oh, shed no tears for such a lot,
Nor deem he passed uncheered, alone;
He walked with God, and he was not,
God took his own!

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