How long, O Lord? Revelation 6:10
Words: Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope (London: James Nisbet, 1857), pages 55–57.
Do they still linger, these slow treading ages?
How long must we still bear their cold delay!
Streak after streak the glowing dawn presages;
And yet it breaks not—the expected day!
Each tossing year, with prophet lip hath spoken,
Prepare your praises, earth awake and sing!
And yet yon dome of blue remains unbroken,
No tidings yet of the descending King!
Darkness still darkens; nearer now and nearer
The lightnings gleam; the sea’s scorched billows moan;
And the sere leaf of earth is growing serer;
Creation droops, and heaves a bitter groan.
O storm and earthquake, wind and warring thunder,
Your hour is coming! One wild outburst more,
One other day of war, and wreck, and plunder,
And then your desolating reign is o’er.
These plains are not your battlefield for ever;
That glassy deep was never made for you;
These mountains were not built for you to shiver;
These buds are not for your rude hands to strew.
Flee and give back to earth its verdant gladness,
The early freshness of its unsoiled dew;
Take hence your sackcloth, with its stormy sadness;
And let these wrinkled skies their youth renew.
Give back that day of days, the seventh and fairest,
When, like a gem new-set, earth flung afar
Her glory, of creation’s gems the rarest,
Sparkling in beauty to each kindred star.
Come back, thou holy love, so rudely banished,
When evil came, and hate, and fear, and wrong;
Return, thou joyous light, so quickly vanished;
Revive, thou life that death has quenched so long.
Re-fix, re-knit the chain so harshly broken,
That bound this lower orb to yon bright Heaven;
Hang out on high the ever golden token,
That tells of earth renewed and man forgiven.
Withdraw the veil that has for ages hidden
That upper kingdom from this nether sphere;
Renew the fellowship so long forbidden;
O God, Thyself take up Thy dwelling here!