Saturday, 9 July 2011

The slow watches of the night

I love verse two of this hymn, which is by Frederick Lucian Hosmer (1840-1929). The slow watches of the night, and weary days, and long times of waiting... all belong as much to God as the kingdom that will come.

(This is one of those hymns where punctuation is very important. Miss out those speech marks in the first line, and it becomes an extremely puzzling statement...)

"Thy kingdom come!" on bended knee
the passing ages pray;
and faithful souls have yearned to see
on earth that kingdom's day.

But the slow watches of the night
not less to God belong;
and for the everlasting right
the silent stars are strong.

And lo, already on the hills
the flags of dawn appear;
gird up your loins, ye prophet souls,
proclaim the day is near:

The day to whose clear shining light
all wrong shall stand revealed,
when justice shall be throned in might,
and every heart be healed;

When knowledge, hand in hand with peace,
shall walk the earth abroad;
the day of perfect righteousness,
the promised day of God.

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