Mother Earth


MY mother earth,
From which We sprang,
And into which ere long
We shall return,
For a far higher birth,
When weakness shall put on
Immortal strength, and from the urn
Our ashes shall arise,
Meet for unfading skies;—
We look into thy depths,
And see in them,
Not death, but life;
As if an angel sat
In shining garments there,
As in the tomb of old,—
The wondrous sepulcher
Of Him who died our death,
And rose in raiment fair,
Our everlasting life.

O mother earth!
Out of whose dust I came,
And into which I am
So swiftly to return;—
On thy green turf I sit,
And, touched by it,
I seem to gather vigour to my frame.
Of life, not death, thou art the nurse;
Of all fruit-bearing things
Thou art the bounteous source.
To thee the seed goes down,
And dies in darkness; from thee springs
Again more beautiful, bright wings
From thee receiving, to arise in joy.
To thee we too go down,
And rest in silence for a little hour,
Till, like the tree or flower,
We rise anew in resurrection-power.

My mother earth!
Not even amid the snows
And ice that wrap thee round,
When frost has chilled the ground,
And winter holds thee fast
In bitter chains, and when the blast
Sweeps o’er thy shivering plains,
Shall I be kept from thy embrace,
Or shrink from thy pale marble face.
Winter has slain thee, and all life
Seems to have left thy veins.
But shall I shun the breast
Of my dead mother laid to rest?
Shall I forbear to kiss
The well-known countenance,
Or leave thee in the grasp
Of the destroying foe?

My mother earth!
Thy spring shall come again;
Thy April shall return,
And all thy May behind it, when the rain,
Mingled with happy sunshine, shall come down,
And quicken earth.
For thee the blessed hope of rising shines,
When summer shall bring gladness to the soil.
For us the hope too shines;
My mother earth!
Thou canst not be my tomb.
Thou canst not hold me in thy icy chains.
I shall arise,
When thou shalt have dissolved my dust,
And in dissolving ripened it;
Making it purer and more fit
For the eternal paradise.

My mother earth!
All beautiful around,
Fragrant in every vale;
With melody of sound
Rejoicing everywhere;
The blue above,
The green beneath;
The mighty arch,
Filled with its marvellous clouds,
Cheered by its joyous winds,
Or awed by its dread storms.
The ever-murmuring wood,
The ever-whispering grove,
The solitary glen or moor,
The wayward, wilful stream
Gushing with eager haste
Through its dark moss-green glen;
The purple of the moorland waste,
The yellow stretch of level sand,
The multitude of shining waves,
Swept shoreward to the sloping strand.

My mother earth!
How fair, and full, and great!
All beauty covers thee,
All riches fill thy depths;
O’er thee the mighty sun
Leans in the loving warmth
Of his unfailing beams;
O’er thee the mother-orb of night
Flings her unspotted veil;
And round thee gathers close
The matchless robe of flowers
That covers and adorns thy loveliness,—
The beauty of the ever-varying year.

My mother earth!
He whose creating hand
Both made and moulded thee;
He who pronounced thee good,
And gave thee that bright sun,
And these fair hills and vales,
Made thee for endless years;
Not for the melting fire,
Or the submerging flood,
Or for the abode of ill,
Or for a place of graves,
Or for a land of pain;
But for eternal joy,
For endless righteousness,
For holy blessedness,
For the great seat and home
Of everlasting light,—
Of endless love!

Horatius Bonar, The Song of the New Creation and Other Pieces, (London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1872), 32–37.

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