Archive for ‘Religious’

Friday, 31 July 2020

Nearer, My God, to Thee by Sarah Fuller Flower Adams

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me,
My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear
Steps unto Heaven,
All that Thou send’st me
In mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Than, with my waking thoughts
Bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs,
Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!


Date: 1841

By: Sarah Fuller Flower Adams (1805-1848)

Thursday, 23 July 2020

A Prayer by Dániel Berzsenyi

O, God, whom no wise man in thought can reach,
Thou whom his yearning hope can barely trace;
Thy being, like the sun, pervades all life.
But human eyes can never see Thy face.

The highest heaven and ether’s Uranus
Around Thee in revolving order course;
The very worms unseen beneath the sod
Proclaim Thy wondrous wisdom and Thy force.

The myriad orbs from nothing Thou hast called,
Thy glance brings worlds to life or sends to death,
And measures the swift-flowing tides of time,
Whose ocean-waves are even as Thy breath.

Zenith and Nadir glorify Thy name,
Strong tempests breeding strife o’er sea and land.
Thunder and lightning, dews and flowering boughs,
Alike proclaim them creatures of Thy hand.

In pious guise I kneel before Thy grace;
When once my soul from its abode doth part,
And near approaches Thee, O, then, I know
I shall attain the yearning of my heart.

Till then I dry my tears and simply tread
The pathway of my life ordained by Thee —
The pathway of all good and noble souls,
Until my soul, like theirs, gains strength to flee.

Though awful, yet I view the grave’s dark night,
Which cannot all be evil, now in trust,
Because, e’en dead, Thy creatures still are Thine,
Whose gracious hands protect even bones and dust.

From: Loew, William N. (ed. and transl.), Magyar Poetry. Selections from Hungarian Poets, 1899, Author-Translator’s Edition, p. 149.

Date: 1807-1810 (original in Hungarian); 1899 (translation in English)

By: Dániel Berzsenyi (1776-1836)

Translated by: William Noah Loew (1847-1922)

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Midsummer – Sweden by Bruce Louis Dodson

This sans sunset day
twilight till dawn
another summer solstice
endless clock of seasons.

Magic hours when animals can talk
and humans dream of lovers
dress the maypole
join in celebration
gatherings of thousands

celebrate until the early morning mist.

Life on earth reborn.


Date: 2015

By: Bruce Louis Dodson (19??- )

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

To My Daughter Elizabeth by Mary Ann Hubbard Townsend Bigelow

Two flowers upon one parent stem
Together bloomed for many days,
At length a storm arose, and one
Was blighted, and cut down at noon.

The other hath transplanted been,
And flowers fair as herself hath borne;
She too has felt the withering storm,
Her strength’s decayed, wasted her form.

May he who hears the mourner’s prayer,
Renew her strength for years to come;
Long may He our Lilly spare,
Long delay to call her home.

But when the summons shall arrive
To bear this lovely flower away,
Again may she transplanted be
To blossom in eternity.

There may these sisters meet again,
Both freed from sorrow, sin, and pain;
There with united voices raise,
In sweet accord their hymns of praise;
Eternally his name t’ adore,
Who died, yet lives forevermore.

Weston, Jan. 3, 1852.

From: Bigelow, Mary Ann H. T., The Kings and Queens of England with Other Poems, 1853, S. K. Whipple and Company: Boston, pp. 19-20.

Date: 1852

By: Mary Ann Hubbard Townsend Bigelow (1792-1870)

Friday, 10 April 2020

Good Friday by Edward Reynolds Price

Or gift. Is pain an outright gift?
Is he so far gone (three-quarter million days)
That pain sufficient to polish steel
Is his one memory of human form?—
Three hours of a stormy spring afternoon,
Spiked up in a reeking suburban landfill
To drain in sight of his toothless mother,
Her younger friends: clear in his mind
Still and wished back on us, last possible link?

From: Price, Reynolds, “Good Friday” in Poetry, April 1988, p. 25.

Date: 1988

By: Edward Reynolds Price (1933-2011)

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

At Saint Patrick’s Purgatory* attributed to Donnchadh mor O’Dala

Pity me on my pilgrimage to Loch Derg!
O King of the churches and the bells—
bewailing your sores and your wounds,
but not a tear can I squeeze from my eyes!

Not moisten an eye
after so much sin!
Pity me, O King! What shall I do
with a heart that seeks only its own ease?

Without sorrow or softening in my heart,
bewailing my faults without repenting them!
Patrick the high priest never thought
that he would reach God in this way.

O lone son of Calpurn—since I name him—
O Virgin Mary, how sad is my lot!—
he was never seen as long as he was in this life
without the track of tears from his eyes.

In a narrow, hard, stone-wall cell
I lie after all my sinful pride—
O woe, why cannot I weep a tear!—
and I buried alive in the grave.

On the day of Doom we shall weep heavily,
both clergy and laity;
the tear that is not dropped in time,
none heeds in the world beyond.

I shall have you go naked, go unfed,
body of mine, father of sin,
for if you are turned Hellwards
little shall I reck your agony tonight.

O only begotten Son by whom all men were made,
who shunned not the death by three wounds,
pity me on my pilgrimage to Loch Derg
and I with a heart not softer than a stone!

*”St Patrick’s Purgatory is an ancient pilgrimage site on Station Island in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland. According to legend, the site dates from the fifth century, when Christ showed Saint patrick a cave, sometimes referred to as a pit or a well, on Station Island that was an entrance to Purgatory” (from Wikipedia).


Date: c1244 (original in Irish); 1938 (translation in English)

By: Donnchadh mor O’Dala (fl. c1244)

Translated by: Seán Proinsias Ó Faoláin (1900-1991)

Monday, 10 February 2020

A Drop of Sea-Water by Mahmoūd Shabestarī

Behold how this drop of sea-water
Has taken so many forms and names;
It has existed as mist, cloud, rain, dew, and mud,
Then plant, animal, and Perfect man;
And yet it was a drop of water
From which these things appeared.
Even so this universe of reason, soul, heavens, and bodies,
Was but a drop of water in its beginning and ending.

…When a wave strikes it, the world vanishes;
And when the appointed time comes to heaven and stars,
Their being is lost in not being.

From: Shabestarī, Mahmoūd and Lederer, Florence (ed.), The Secret Rose Garden of Sa’d ud din Mahmūd Shabistarī, rendered from the Persian with an Introduction, 1920, John Murray: London, p. 36.

Date: c1311 (original in Persian), 1920 (translation in English)

By: Mahmoūd Shabestarī (1288–1340)

Translated by: Florence Lederer (18??-19??)

Monday, 20 January 2020

San Miguel de la Tumba by Gonzalo de Berceo

San Miguel de la Tumba is a convent vast and wide;
The sea encircles it around, and groans on every side;
It is a wild and dangerous place, and many woes betide
The monks who in that burial place in penitence abide.
Within those dark monastic walls, amid the ocean flood
Of pious fasting monks there dwelt a holy brotherhood;
To the Madonna’s glory there an altar high was placed
And a rich and costly image the sacred altar graced.
Exalted high upon a throne, the Virgin Mother smiled,
And as the custom is, she held within her arms the Child;
The kings and wisemen of the East were kneeling by her side;
Attended was she like a queen whom God had sanctified.

Descending low before her face a screen of feathers hung,–
A moscader or fan for flies, ’tis called in vulgar tongue;
From the feathers of the peacock’s wing ’twas fashioned bright and fair,
And glistened like the heaven above when all its stars are there.
It chanced that for the people’s sins, fell lightning’s blasting stroke;
Forth from all four sacred walls the flames consuming broke;
The sacred robes were all consumed, missal and holy book;
And hardly with their lives the monks their crumbling walls forsook.

But though the desolating flame raged fearfully and wild,
It did not reach the Virgin Queen, it did not reach the Child;
It did not reach the feathery screen before her face that shone,
Nor injured in a farthing’s worth the image or the throne.
The image it did not consume, it did not burn the screen;
Even in the value of a hair they were not hurt, I ween;
Not even the smoke did reach them, nor injure more the shrine
Than the bishop, hight Don Tello, has been hurt by hand of mine


Date: 13th century (original in Spanish); 1844 (translation in English)

By: Gonzalo de Berceo (c1197-before 1264)

Translated by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Home of the Heart by Muktabai

Where never darkness comes my home I’ve made;
There my delightsome lodging ever find.
That perfect shelter cannot fail our need;
Going and coming trouble us no more.
Beyond all vision and above all spheres,
He, our delight, our inmost sould indwells.
He, Mukta says, is our heart’s only home.

From: Macnicol, Margaret (ed.), Poems by Indian Women, Selected and Rendered by Various Translators, 1923, Association Press: Calcutta and Oxford University Press: London, p. 47.

Date: 13th century (original in Marathi); 1923 (translation in English)

By: Muktabai (1279-1297)

Translated by: Margaret Grant Campbell Macnicol (18??-19??) and D. K. Laddu (?-?)

Friday, 17 January 2020

A Satyr by Elizabeth Tipper

As Dungeons are for Criminals prepar’d,
Tyburn and Gyves too is their just Reward;
So Satyr’s Lash dipt, poison’d in Disgrace,
Is fit to Scourge the Vice of Human Race.
Did not the Lamb of God, with Sacred Terror,
Reprove all Pharisaic Sins and Error?
Where’s then my Muse? Does my Poetick Vein!
Want Skill or Courage for this useful Strain?
Baptismal Vows engage Heroick Minds,
Women are valiant, tho’ of different Kinds,
And tho’ my Sex is weak, my Heart’s not so:
Lead on my Chief, I fear not where I go.
Instruct me LORD, I wait for thye Command,
Without it I dare stir nor Foot or Hand.
I begg’d again, and then my LORD reply’d,
My Precepts and Example be your Guide;
Go follow them. Strait then I call’d to mind
His Golden Rule, propitious left behind:
First cast away the Beam that hides the Light
Of thine own Eye, deluded Hypocrite;
Which, once remov’d, thou better may’st discern
The little Mote thy Brother does concern,
And with more reason ask to pull it out,
When thy clear Light dispels his darker Doubt:
But if black Vice thy Life it self betray,
And thou pretend’st to Guide the perfect Way,
‘Tis like a blind Man raving in a Heat,
Inspir’d by some ridiculous Conceit,
He’s able to lead all that go astray;
His Tongue crys out, his Feet quite miss the way;
Sometimes his Steps are right, but rarely so;
Still with invective Bawls, You falsely go.
Should this his Conduct be by Prudence try’d,
Would he be thought a Madman or a Guide?
Our Saviour, e’re such Work he did begin,
Ask’d, Which of you convinces me of Sin?
And must his spotless Life a Pattern be
Imitable for such a Worm as me?
The great Example I can never reach,
Alas! I want time more to Watch than Preach.
My Self is Task sufficient to look o’re,
I find no Moment where I need explore
The Faults of others, but my own deplore.
And now I beg, since my Design has mist,
Make me true Christian, tho’ no Satyrist.

From: Tipper, Elizabeth, The Pilgrim’s Viaticum: Or, The Destitute, but not Forlorn. Being a Divine Poem, digested from Meditations Upon the Holy Scripture, 1698, J. Wilkins: London, pp. 71-72.

Date: 1698

By: Elizabeth Tipper (fl. 1693-1698)