"HYMN XII. " by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743 - 1825)
First Publication: Hymns in Prose for Children. by Anna Lætitia Barbauld. London: J. Johnson, 1781. pp. 89-98.
The rose is sweet, but it is surrounded with thorns: the lily of the valley [Page 90] is fragrant, but it springeth up amongst the brambles.
The spring is pleasant, but it is soon past: the summer is bright, but the winter destroyeth the beauty thereof.
The rainbow is very glorious, but it soon vanisheth away: life is good, but it is quickly swallowed up in death. [Page 91]
There is a land, where the roses are without thorns, where the flowers are not mixed with brambles.
In that land, there is eternal spring, and light without any cloud.
The tree of life groweth in the midst thereof; rivers of pleasures are there, and flowers that never fade. [Page 92]
Myriads of happy spirits are there, and surround the throne of God with a perpetual hymn.
The angels with their golden harps sing praises continually, and the cherubim fly on wings of fire!
This country is Heaven: it is the country of those that [Page 93] are good; and nothing that is wicked must inhabit there.
The toad must not spit its venom amongst turtle doves; nor the poisonous hen-bane grow amongst sweet flowers.
Neither must any one that doeth ill, enter into that good land.
This earth is pleasant, for [Page 94] it is God's earth, and it is filled with many delightful things.
But that country is far better: there we shall not grieve any more, nor be sick any more, nor do wrong any more; there the cold of winter shall not wither us, nor the heats of summer scorch us. [Page 95]
In that country there are no wars nor quarrels, but all love one another with dear love.
When our parents and friends die, and are laid in the cold ground, we see them here no more; but there we shall embrace them again, and live with them, and be separated no more. [Page 96]
There we shall meet all good men, whom we read of in holy books.
There we shall see Abraham, the called of God, the father of the faithful; and Moses, after his long wanderings in the Arabian desart; and Elijah, the prophet of God; and Daniel, who escaped the lion's den; and there the son of Jesse, the [Page 97] shepherd king, the sweet singer of Israel.
They loved God on earth; they praised him on earth; but in that country they will praise him better, and love him more.
There we shall see Jesus, who is gone before us to that happy place; and there we shall behold the glory of the high God. [Page 98]
We cannot see him here, but we will love him here: we must be now on earth, but we will often think on heaven.
That happy land is our home: we are to be here but for a little while, and there for ever, even for ages of eternal years.