The Bright-Haired Morn Is Glowing

  The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of
righteousness. Proverbs xvi. 31.

~The Rev. John Keble

THE bright-haired morn is glowing
O’er emerald meadows gay,
With many a clear gem strewing
The early shepherd’s way.
Ye gentle elves, by Fancy seen
Stealing away with night
To slumber in your leafy screen,
Tread more than airy light.

And see what joyous greeting
The sun through heaven has shed,
Though fast yon shower be fleeting,
His beams have faster sped.
For lo! above the western haze
High towers the rainbow arch
In solid span of purest rays:
How stately is its march!

Pride of the dewy morning!
The swain’s experienced eye
From thee takes timely warning,
Nor trusts the gorgeous sky.
For well he knows, such dawnings gay
Bring noons of storm and shower,
And travellers linger on the way
Beside the sheltering bower.

E’en so, in hope and trembling
Should watchful shepherd view
His little lambs assembling,
With glance both kind and true;
’Tis not the eye of keenest blaze,
Nor the quick-swelling breast,
That soonest thrills at touch of praise—
These do not please him best.

But voices low and gentle,
And timid glances shy,
That seem for aid parental
To sue all wistfully,
Still pressing, longing to be right,
Yet fearing to be wrong,—
In these the Pastor dares delight,
A lamb-like, Christ-like throng.

These in Life’s distant even
Shall shine serenely bright,
As in th’ autumnal heaven
Mild rainbow tints at night,
When the last shower is stealing down,
And ere they sink to rest,
The sun-beams weave a parting crown
For some sweet woodland nest.

The promise of the morrow
Is glorious on that eve,
Dear as the holy sorrow
When good men cease to live.
When brightening ere it die away
Mounts up their altar flame,
Still tending with intenser ray
To Heaven whence first it came.

Say not it dies, that glory,
’Tis caught unquenched on high,
Those saintlike brows so hoary
Shall wear it in the sky.
No smile is like the smile of death,
When all good musings past
Rise wafted with the parting breath,
The sweetest thought the last.