A grand stairway do these clouds appear
As they heavenward rise, tier upon tier,
With clearly-marked space of blue between,
Compared with which human art looks mean.
Do the angels tread this grand staircase,
When they come to earth to bless our race,
And lend their aid to each struggling soul
As he ascends toward the heavenly goal?
Was this the ladder by Jacob seen,
That reached from heaven to the mattress green
On which he lay all the lonely night
Till God afforded the blessed sight,
And made him feel, tho' an exile here,
His father's God would be ever near--
The servant's cry would to heaven arise,
And blessings fall from the bending skies?
But no staircase do the angels need;
They come to earth at a greater speed,
Not step by step, nor on eagle's wing,
Nor beams of light do their message bring.
Though heaven be far beyond mortal ken,
Assisted by all the arts of men,
A moment's time and the space is passed,
And heaven's best gifts at our feet are cast.
Not a cloud stairway, nor ladder long,
Connects this earth with the land of song;
The Saviour bends from the opening skies--
He smiles in love, and our souls arise.
As flakes of steel to the magnet fly,
And mists ascend to the sun on high,
So we are drawn by the cords of love
From the earth below to thrones above.
O lift me up from my bed of clay,
To dwell with Thee in the realms of day.
If 'tis Thy will I should tarry still,
Prepare me, Lord, for Thy Holy Hill.