When in My Silent Solitary Walk

WHEN in my silent solitary walk,
I sought a strain not all unworthy Thee,
My heart, still ringing with wild worldly talk,
Gave forth no note of holier minstrelsy.

Prayer is the secret, to myself I said,
Strong supplication must call down the charm,
And thus with untuned heart I feebly prayed,
Knocking at Heaven’s gate with earth-palsied arm.

Fountain of Harmony! Thou Spirit blest,
By whom the troubled waves of earthly sound
Are gathered into order, such as best
Some high-souled bard in his enchanted round

May compass, Power divine! Oh, spread Thy wing,
Thy dovelike wing that makes confusion fly,
Over my dark, void spirit, summoning
New worlds of music, strains that may not die.

Oh, happiest who before thine altar wait,
With pure hands ever holding up on high
The guiding Star of all who seek Thy gate,
The undying lamp of heavenly Poesy.

Too weak, too wavering, for such holy task
Is my frail arm, O Lord; but I would fain
Track to its source the brightness, I would bask
In the clear ray that makes Thy pathway plain.

I dare not hope with David’s harp to chase
The evil spirit from the troubled breast;
Enough for me if I can find such grace
To listen to the strain, and be at rest.


~The Rev. John Keble