Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929 / United States)
[sung to tune: "All Saints New"]
Our fathers, in the years grown dim, reared slowly, wall by wall
A holy dwelling-place for Him, that filleth all in all.
They wrought His house of faith and prayer, the rainbow round the Throne,
A precious temple builded fair on Christ the Cornerstone.
The Angel of the Golden Reed hath found the measure strait'
He hears the Great Foundation plead for ampler wall and gate.
The living pillars of the Truth grown on from morn to morn,
And still the heresy of youth is age's creed outworn.
But steadfast is their inner shrine wrought of the heart's fine gold,
Its hunger and its thirst divine, with jewels manifold,
Red sard of pain, hope's emerald gleam, white peace, no glory missed
Of righteous life and saintly dream, Jasper to amethyst.
Spirit of Truth, forbid that we who now God's temple are
And keep the faith with minds more free, our father's fabric mar.
Better than thoughts the stars that search is self still sacrificed,
For only Love can build the church whose corner-stone is Christ.
Comments about this poem (Anniversary hymn by Katharine Lee Bates )
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