The dayspring from on high hath visited us. Luke 1:78
Words: Christian von Rosenroth, 1664 (Morgenglanz der Ewigkeit). Translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth, Lyra Germanica (London & New York: George Newnes & Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1855), pages 168–69.
If you know where to get a good picture of von Rosenroth or Ahle (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels), would you ?
Dayspring of eternity!
Dawn on us this morning-tide.
Light from light’s exhaustless sea,
Now no more Thy radiance hide,
And dispel with glorious might
All our night.
Let the morning dew of love
On our sleeping conscience rain;
Gentle comfort from above
Flow through life’s long parched plain
Water daily us Thy flock
From the rock.
Let the glow of love destroy
Cold obedience faintly given,
Wake our hearts to love and joy
With the flushing eastern heaven,
Let us truly rise ere yet
Life hath set.
Brightest Star of eastern skies,
Let that fatal morn appear,
When our bodies too shall rise
Free from all that pained them here,
Strong their joyful course to run
As the sun.
To yon world be Thou our light,
O Thou glorious Sun of Grace;
Lead us through the tearful night,
To yon fair and blessèd place,
Where to joy that never dies
We shall rise.
Out of the dark we come, nor know
Into what outer dark we go.
Wings sweep across the stars at night,
Sweep and are lost in flight,
And down the star-strewn windy lanes the sky
Is empty as before the wings went by.
We dare not lift our eyes, lest we should see
The utter quiet of eternity;
So, in the end, we come to this:
We cannot brook the wide sun’s might,
We are alone and chilled by night;
We stand, atremble and afraid,
Upon the small worlds we have made;
Fearful, lest all our poor control
Should turn and tear us to the soul;
A dread, lest we should be denied
The price we hold our raged pride;
So in the end we cast them by
For a gaunt cross against the sky.
To those who question is the fine reward
Of the brave heart who fights with broken sword
In the dark night against an unseen enemy;
There is not any hope of victory.
While sweat is sweet and earthly ways and toil,
The touch of shoulders, scent of new-turned soil,
Striving itself amid the thrusting throng,
And love that comes with white hands strong;
But on itself the long path turns again,
To find at length the hill of pain.
Such only do we know and see;
Starlight and evening mystery,
Sunlight on peaks and dust-red plain,
Thunder and the quick breath of rain,
Stirring of fields and all the lovely things
That season after season brings;
Young dawn and quiet night
And the earth’s might.
But all our wisdom and our wisdom’s plan
End in the lonely figure of a Man.
Maxwell Struthers Burt
In the High Hills, 1914