An Easter Hymn

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

Spake the Lord Christ - "I will arise."
It seemed a saying void and vain -
How shall a dead man rise again! -
Vain as our tears, vain as our cries.
Not one of all the little band
That loved Him this might understand.

"I will arise" - Lord Jesus said.
Hearken, amid the morning dew,
Mary, a voice that calleth you, -
Then Mary turned her golden head,
And lo! all shining at her side
Her Master they had crucified.

At dawn to his dim sepulchre,
Mary, remembering that far day,
When at his feet the spikenard lay,
Came, bringing balm and spice and myrrh;
To her the grave had made reply:
"He is not here - He cannot die."

Praetor and priest in vain conspire,
Jerusalem and Rome in vain
Torture the god with mortal pain,
To quench that seed of living fire;
But light that had in heaven its birth
Can never be put out oh earth.

"I will arise" - across the years,
Even as to Mary that grey morn,
To us that gentle voice is borne -
"I will arise." He that hath ears
O hearken well this mystic word,
Let not the Master speak unheard.

No soul descended deep in hell,
The child of sorrow, sin and death,
The immortal spirit suffereth
To see corruption; though it fell
From loftiest station in the skies,
It still to heaven again must rise.

No dream of faith, no seed of love,
No lonely action nobly done,
But is as stable as the sun,
And fed and watered from above;
From nether base to starry cope
Nature's two laws are Faith and Hope.

Safe in the care of heavenly powers,
The good we dreamed but might not do,
Lost beauty magically new,
Shall spring as surely as the flowers,
When, 'mid the sobbing of the rain,
The heart of April beats again.

Celestial spirit that doth roll
The heart's sepulchral stone away,
Be this our resurrection day,
The singing Easter of the soul:
O Gentle Master of the Wise
Teach us to say, "I will arise."

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