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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

December 20

The Little Church round the Corner

By A. E. Lancaster

  • When George Holland, the well-known actor, died on Dec. 20, 1870, one of his friends called upon the minister of a church on Fifth Avenue to make arrangements for the funeral. On learning what the dead man’s profession had been the minister refused to allow the funeral to be held at his church, but said “there is a little church around the corner where they will do what you want.” This was the Church of the Transfiguration, which has ever since been known by that name.

  • “BRING him not here, where our sainted feet

    Are treading the path of glory;

    Bring him not here, where our Saviour sweet

    Repeats for us his story.

    Go, take him where such things are done

    (For he sat in the seat of the scorner),

    To where they have room, for we have none,—

    To the little church round the corner.”

    So spake the holy man of God,

    Of another man, his brother,

    Whose cold remains, ere they sought the sod,

    Had only asked that a Christian rite

    Might be read above them by one whose light

    Was, “Brethren, love one another;”

    Had only asked that a prayer be read

    Ere his flesh went down to join the dead,

    While his spirit looked with suppliant eyes,

    Searching for God throughout the skies.

    But the priest frowned “No,” and his brow was bare

    Of love in the sight of the mourner,

    And they looked for Christ and found him—where?

    In that little church round the corner.

    Ah! well, God grant when with aching feet,

    We tread life’s last few paces,

    That we may hear some accents sweet,

    And kiss, to the end, fond faces.

    God grant that this tired flesh may rest

    (’Mid many a musing mourner),

    While the sermon is preached and the rites are read

    In no church where the heart of love is dead,

    And the pastor’s a pious prig at best,

    But in some small nook where God’s confessed,—

    Some little church round the corner.