Scripture Verse

All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. Romans 10:21

Introduction

portrait
John B. Dykes
(1823–1876)

Words: Will­iam Bright, Hymns & Oth­er Po­ems (Lon­don, Ox­ford & Cam­bridge, Eng­land: Riv­ing­tons, 1866), pag­es 127-32. This hymn is a cen­to from The An­ge­lus at Lu­cerne.

Music: Lux Ve­ra John B. Dykes, 1870. Pub­lished in The Par­ish Hym­nal, ed­it­ed by R. Min­ton Tay­lor, 1872, num­ber 71 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
William Bright
(1824–1901)

Lyrics

Still throned in Heav’n, to men in unbelief
Christ spreads His hands all day;
They scan His claims, give judgment cold and brief,
And fearless turn away.

Once more, O peerless mystery of grace!
Thy sweet appeal renew;
Light up dark minds; win souls to Thine embrace;
High forts of doubt subdue.

Speak, till the sons of peace, with hearts unseared,
Led by that voice of Thine,
Find Him each day more glorious, more endeared,
Christ human, Christ divine.

Poem

The “Angelus” at Lucerne

On the last eve of a glad autumn week,
Waiting for friends’ return,
I marked the dying radiance faintly streak
Thy roofs and towers, Lucerne.

Then o’er the western heights that find a crown
In stern Pilatus’ head,
The glorious lake, the old historic town,
Soft shadows grew and spread.

And stillness with them came, profound, intense,
As if yon cloistral shade
Could breathe a strange sepulchral influence
All nature to pervade.

No sound of common life the silence broke;
But, with a thrilling toll,
The minster belfy raised its voice, and spoke
Straight to the heart and soul.

The summons to the week’s last Angelus!
Its wild unearthly chime
Witnessed of Him, the Word made Flesh for us
In lowliness sublime.

But whence the subtle magic of those bells?
Not such the notes that ring
From every steeple that at Easter swells
Our triumph in our King;

For though what bids us think how Gabriel came
Uplifts us to rejoice,
A depth of sadness, pity, love and shame
Spoke in that belfry’s voice.

It seemed to make confession unto God,
It seemed to plead with man
For Him whose love a patient path has trod
Since first His work began.

Woe for the wills against their Saviour set
So fiercely then as now!
Woe for the stubborn knees that will not yet
Before the Incarnate bow;

For ears that cannot brook the strong full tones
Of our unfaltering creed;
For hearts whose hardened earthliness disowns
The cross and their own need.

Still, throned in Heaven, to dupes of unbelief
He spreads His hands all day;
They scan His claims, give judgment cold and brief,
And fearless turn away.

A brave, pure soul, purest of men, perchance,
In history’s ripe award;
Wronged by the legends, born of fond romance,
That call Him God and Lord.

These walk in pride, by sparks themselves have lit,
Gross darkness soon to be;
While others in a dreamy cloudland sit,
Half asking, Art Thou He?

Once more, O peerless mystery of grace!
Thy sweet appeal renew;
Light up dark minds; win souls to Thine embrace;
High forts of doubt subdue.

Speak, till the sons of peace, with hearts unseared,
Led by that voice of Thine,
Find Him each day more glorious, more endeared,
Christ Human, Christ Divine.

William Bright
Hymns and Oth­er Po­ems, 1866