A Little Te Deum Of The Commonplace

by John Oxenham

William Arthur Dunkerley

_With hearts responsive
And enfranchised eyes,
We thank Thee, Lord,--_
For all things beautiful, and good, and true;
For things that seemed not good yet turned to good;
For all the sweet compulsions of Thy will
That chased, and tried, and wrought us to Thy shape;
For things unnumbered that we take of right,
And value first when first they are withheld;
For light and air; sweet sense of sound and smell;
For ears to hear the heavenly harmonies;
For eyes to see the unseen in the seen;
For vision of The Worker in the work;
For hearts to apprehend Thee everywhere;
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For all the wonders of this wondrous world;--
The pure pearl splendours of the coming day,
The breaking east,--the rosy flush,--the Dawn,--
For that bright gem in morning's coronal,
That one lone star that gleams above the glow;
For that high glory of the impartial sun,--
The golden noonings big with promised life;
The matchless pageant of the evening skies.
The wide-flung gates,--the gleams of Paradise,--
Supremest visions of Thine artistry;
The sweet, soft gloaming, and the friendly stars;
The vesper stillness, and the creeping shades;
The moon's pale majesty; the pulsing dome,
Wherein we feel Thy great heart throbbing near;
For sweet laborious days and restful nights;
For work to do, and strength to do the work;
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For those first tiny, prayerful-folded hands
That pierce the winter's crust, and softly bring
Life out of death, the endless mystery;--
For all the first sweet flushings of the Spring;
The greening earth, the tender heavenly blue;
The rich brown furrows gaping for the seed;
For all Thy grace in bursting bud and leaf,--
The bridal sweetness of the orchard trees,
Rose-tender in their coming fruitfulness;
The fragrant snow-drifts flung upon the breeze;
The grace and glory of the fruitless flowers,
Ambrosial beauty their reward and ours;
For hedgerows sweet with hawthorn and wildrose;
For meadows spread with gold and gemmed with stars;
For every tint of every tiniest flower;
For every daisy smiling to the sun;
For every bird that builds in joyous hope;
For every lamb that frisks beside its dam;
For every leaf that rustles in the wind;
For spiring poplar, and for spreading oak;
For queenly birch, and lofty swaying elm,
For the great cedar's benedictory grace;
For earth's ten thousand fragrant incenses,--
Sweet altar-gifts from leaf and fruit and flower;
For every wondrous thing that greens and grows;
For wide-spread cornlands,--billowing golden seas;
For rippling stream, and white-laced waterfall;
For purpling mountains; lakes like silver shields;
For white-piled clouds that float against the blue;
For tender green of far-off upland slopes;
For fringing forests and far-gleaming spires;
For those white peaks, serene and grand and still;
For that deep sea--a shallow to Thy love;
For round green hills, earth's full benignant breasts;
For sun-chased shadows flitting o'er the plain;
For gleam and gloom; for all life's counter-change;
For hope that quickens under darkening skies;
For all we see; for all that underlies,--
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For that sweet impulse of the coming Spring,
For ripening Summer, and the harvesting;
For all the rich Autumnal glories spread,--
The flaming pageant of the ripening woods;
The fiery gorse, the heather-purpled hills;
The rustling leaves that fly before the wind.
And lie below the hedgerows whispering;
For meadows silver-white with hoary dew;
For sheer delight of tasting once again
That first crisp breath of winter in the air;
The pictured pane; the new white world without;
The sparkling hedgerow's witchery of lace;
The soft white flakes that fold the sleeping earth;
The cold without, the cheerier warmth within;
For red-heart roses in the winter snows;
For all the flower and fruit of Christmas-tide;
For all the glowing heart of Christmas-tide;
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For all Thy ministries,--
For morning mist, and gently-falling dew;
For summer rains, for winter ice and snow;
For whispering wind and purifying storm;
For the reft clouds that show the tender blue;
For the forked flash and long tumultuous roll;
For mighty rains that wash the dim earth clean;
For the sweet promise of the seven-fold bow;
For the soft sunshine, and the still calm night;
For dimpled laughter of soft summer seas;
For latticed splendour of the sea-borne moon;
For gleaming sands, and granite-frontled cliffs;
For flying spume, and waves that whip the skies;
For rushing gale, and for the great glad calm;
For Might so mighty, and for Love so true,
With equal mind,
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For maiden sweetness, and for strength of men;
For love's pure madness and its high estate;
For parentage--man's nearest reach to Thee;
For kinship, sonship, friendship, brotherhood
Of men--one Father--one great family;
For glimpses of the greater in the less;
For touch of Thee in wife and child and friend;
For noble self-denying motherhood;
For saintly maiden lives of rare perfume;
For little pattering feet and crooning songs;
For children's laughter, and sweet wells of truth;
For sweet child-faces and the sweet wise tongues;
For childhood's faith that lifts us near to Thee
And bows us with our own disparity;
For childhood's sweet unconscious beauty sleep;
For all that childhood teaches us of Thee;
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For doubts that led us to the larger trust;
For ills to conquer; for the love that fights;
For that strong faith that vanquished axe and flame
And gave us Freedom for our heritage;
For clouds and darkness, and the still, small voice;
For sorrows bearing fruit of nobler life;
For those sore strokes that broke us at Thy feet;
For peace in strife; for gain in seeming loss;
For every loss that wrought the greater gain;
For that sweet juice from bitterness out-pressed;
For all this sweet, strange paradox of life;
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For friends above; for friends still left below;
For the rare links invisible between;
For Thine unsearchable greatness; for the vails
Between us and the things we may not know;
For those high times when hearts take wing and rise
And float secure above earth's mysteries;
For that wide, open avenue of prayer,
All radiant with Thy glorious promises;
For sweet hearts tuned to noblest charity;
For great hearts toiling in the outer dark;
For friendly hands stretched out in time of need;
For every gracious thought and word and deed;
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For songbird answering song on topmost bough;
For myriad twitterings of the simpler folk;
For that sweet lark that carols up the sky;
For that low fluting on the summer night;
For distant bells that tremble on the wind;
For great round organ tones that rise and fall,
Entwined with earthly voices tuned to heaven,
And bear our hearts above the high-arched roof;
For Thy great voice that dominates the whole,
And shakes the heavens, and silences the earth;
For hearts alive to earth's sweet minstrelsies;
For souls attuned to heavenly harmonies;
For apprehension, and for ears to hear,--
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For that supremest token of Thy Love,--
Thyself made manifest in human flesh;
For that pure life beneath the Syrian sky--
The humble toil, the sweat, the bench, the saw,
The nails well-driven, and the work well-done;
For all its vast expansions; for the stress
Of those three mighty years;
For all He bore of our humanity;
His hunger, thirst, His homelessness and want,
His weariness that longed for well-earned rest;
For labour's high ennoblement through Him,
Who laboured with His hands for daily bread;
For Lazarus, Mary, Martha, Magdalene,
For Nazareth and Bethany;--not least
For that dark hour in lone Gethsemane;
For that high cross upraised on Calvary;
The broken seals,--the rolled-back stone--The Way,
For ever opened through His life in death;
For that brief glimpse vouchsafed within the vail;
For all His gracious life; and for His Death,
With low-bowed heads and hearts impassionate,
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For all life's beauties, and their beauteous growth;
For Nature's laws and Thy rich providence;
For all Thy perfect processes of life;
For the minute perfection of Thy work,
Seen and unseen, in each remotest part;
For faith, and works, and gentle charity;
For all that makes for quiet in the world;
For all that lifts man from his common rut;
For all that knits the silken bond of peace;
For all that lifts the fringes of the night,
And lights the darkened corners of the earth;
For every broken gate and sundered bar;
For every wide-flung window of the soul;
For that Thou bearest all that Thou hast made;
_We thank Thee, Lord_!
For perfect childlike confidence in Thee;
For childlike glimpses of the life to be;
For trust akin to my child's trust in me;
For hearts at rest through confidence in Thee;
For hearts triumphant in perpetual hope;
For hope victorious through past hopes fulfilled;
For mightier hopes born of the things we know;
For faith born of the things we may not know;
For hope of powers increased ten thousand fold;
For that last hope of likeness to Thyself,
When hope shall end in glorious certainty;
--_With quickened hearts
That find Thee everywhere,
We thank Thee, Lord_!

Last updated January 14, 2019