115. Those Eternal Bowers

Those eternal bowers
Man hath never trod,
Those unfading flowers
Round the Throne of GOD:
Who may hope to gain them
After weary fight?
Who at length attain them
Clad in robes of white?

He, who gladly barters
All on earthly ground;
He who, like the Martyrs,
Says, ‘I WILL be crowned:’
He, whose one oblation
Is a life of love;
Clinging to the nation
Of the Blest above.

Shame upon you, legions
Of the Heavenly King,
Denizens of regions
Past imagining!
What! with pipe and tabor
Fool away the light,
When He bids you labour,—
When He tells you,—‘Fight!’

While I do my duty,
Struggling through the tide,
Whisper Thou of beauty
On the other side!
Tell who will the story
Of our now distress:
Oh the future glory!
Oh the loveliness!

Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Author: John of Damascus, Saint (780)

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