"HYMN XI. " by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743 - 1825)
First Publication: Hymns in Prose for Children. by Anna Lætitia Barbauld. London: J. Johnson, 1781. pp. 83-89.
I HAVE seen the flower withering on the stalk, and its bright leaves spread on the ground–I looked again, and it sprung forth afresh; the stem was crowned with new buds, and the sweetness therefore filled the air. [Page 84]
I have seen the sun set in the west, and the shades of night shut in the wide horizon: there was no colour, nor shape, nor beauty, nor music; gloom and darkness brooded around–I looked, the sun broke forth again from the east, and gilded the mountain tops; the lark rose to meet him from her low nest, and the shades of darkness fled away. [Page 85]
I have seen the insect, being come to its full size, languish, and refuse to eat: it spun itself a tomb, and was shrouded in the silken cone; it lay without feet, or shape, or power to move–I looked again, it had burst its tomb; it was full of life, and sailed on coloured wings through the soft air; it rejoiced in its new being. [Page 86]
Thus shall it be with thee, O man! and so shall thy life be renewed.
Beauty shall spring up out of ashes, and life out of the dust.
A little while shalt thou lie in the ground, as the seed lieth in the bosom of the earth: but thou shalt be raised again; and, if thou [Page 87] art good, thou shalt never die any more.
Who is he that cometh to burst open the prison doors of the tomb; to bid the dead awake, and to gather his redeemed from the four winds of heaven?
He descendeth on a fiery cloud; the sound of a trumpet goeth before him; thou- [Page 88] sands of angels are on his right hand.
It is Jesus, the Son of God; the saviour of men; the friend of the good.
He cometh in the glory of his Father; he hath received power from on high.
Mourn not therefore, child of immortality!–for the spoil-[Page 89] er, the cruel spoiler that laid waste the works of God, is subdued: Jesus hath conquered death:–child of immortality! mourn no longer.