Skip to comments.Chesterton's Hymns and Others
Posted on 04/30/2002 8:21:15 AM PDT by history_matters
O God of earth and altar
O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.
From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honor, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!
Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.
Words: Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1906
This phrase sounds very familiar to me, but I know I've never seen the hymn before; maybe Chesterton uses the phrase somewhere in his prose?
In any case, especially timely.
Hymn for the Church Militant
Great God, that bowest sky and star,
Bow down our towering thoughts to thee,
And grant us in a faltering war
The firm feet of humility.
Lord, we that snatch the swords of flame,
Lord, we that cry about Thy ear,
We too are weak with pride and shame,
We too are as our foemen are.
Yea, we are mad as they are mad,
Yea, we are blind as they are blind,
Yea, we are very sick and sad
Who bring good news to all mankind.
The dreadful joy Thy Son has sent
Is heavier than any care;
We find, as Cain his punishment,
Our pardon more than we can bear.
Lord, when we cry Thee far and near
And thunder through all lands unknown
The gospel into every ear,
Lord, let us not forget our own.
Cleanse us from ire of creed or class,
The anger of the idle kings;
Sow in our souls, like living grass,
The laughter of all lowly things.
A Christmas Carol
by G.K. Chesterton, 1900
The Christ Child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)
The Christ Child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star
(O stern and cunning are the Kings,
But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ Child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)
The Christ Child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him
And all the stars looked down.
Lead, Kindly Light
Lead, kindly Light; amid th'encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long thy power hast blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o're crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those Angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Speaking of history....