by Ada Cambridge
"He asked life of thee, and thou gavest him a long life, even for ever and ever."
Life-length of days-the time to work and strive
In his Lord's vineyard; to bring heavenly light
Into the drear, dark places of the earth,
And make them fair and fruitful in His sight.
Life-it seem'd all so bright and beautiful once!
It lay spread out before his kindling eyes,
A land of sunny hills, in white mist veil'd,
Of sweet green valleys under summer skies.
Such tender light and tender shadows there!
No dazzling blaze, no savage blots of gloom,
No keen-cut outline of the barren cliff,
No glaring waste,-but all one gentle bloom
Of happy, innocent hope,-a morning tint
Of pearly grey and gold, with just a shade
Of bright cloud-colour, giving life to it,-
He saw not then the havoc death had made.
But soon the white mist melted in the heat
Of noonday, and the wasted fields lay bare-
Vineyard of Eden-like a bright face, scarred
With sin and shame and weariness and care.
And his vague aspiration took a shape.
"Grant me, dear Lord, if it seem good to Thee,
To labour here, with manhood's utter strength,-
O Lord, good Lord, intrust this work to me!
"Let me have time to toil-a long, long day-
To dig and delve and root out wasteful weeds,
To cut down briars and thorns, and help to plough
Furrows where angels may sow heavenly seeds.
"Give me to foster, with my faith and love,
Frail, early flowers, that fear to droop and fade!
Father, I will not shrink for bleeding hands,
For heat nor cold-I do not feel afraid!"
His voice was heard-his will accepted. God
Gave deep and true fulfilment to his prayer,-
Life-life eternal, which should nevermore
The taint of death, or sin, or sorrow bear!
Oh pray, ye blind ones, as the beggar pray'd
When He of Nazareth pass'd by! Oh pray
With simple faith and worship,-fear ye not
God's gracious ear will deafly turn away.
Ye know He bids us to tell out our wants,
Knowing them all; give up to Him your will,
And trust Him-trust Him. In his wondrous love
He deigns the lowliest longing to fulfil.
Ay, and with that fulfilment which we ne'er
Shall grasp or fathom-till we come to see
Our strange, mysterious human life unveil'd
In the clear daylight of eternity.
The beggar ask'd for sight-Christ answer'd him,
For his faith's sake, and gave him sight indeed.
Just so his silent hands and darken'd eyes
Were lifted once, for grace of "life" to plead.
And God fulfilled his prayer as utterly!
He gave him life-the life of saints above,
Beyond all earthly dreaming sweet and glad-
An endless life in His eternal love!
Last updated January 14, 2019