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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Brief Life is Here Our Portion

By Bernard of Cluny (Twelfth Century)

BRIEF life is here our portion,

Brief sorrow, short-lived care:

The Life that knows no ending,

The tearless Life, is there:

O happy retribution,

Short toil, eternal rest!

For mortals and for sinners

A mansion with the Blest!

That we should look, poor wanderers,

To have our home on high!

That worms should seek for dwellings

Beyond the starry sky!

And now we fight the battle,

And then we wear the Crown

Of full and everlasting

And passionless renown:

Then glory, yet unheard of,

Shall shed abroad its ray;

Resolving all enigmas,

An endless Sabbath-day.

Then, then, from his oppressors

The Hebrew shall go free,

And celebrate in triumph

The year of Jubilee:

And the sun-lit land that recks not

Of tempest or of fight

Shall fold within its bosom

Each happy Israelite.

’Midst power that knows no limit,

And wisdom free from bound,

The Beatific Vision

Shall glad the Saints around;

And peace, for war is needless,

And rest, for storm is past,

And goal from finished labor,

And anchorage at last.

There God, my King and Portion,

In fullness of His Grace,

Shall we behold forever,

And worship face to face;

There Jacob into Israel,

From earthlier self estranged,

And Leah into Rachel

Forever shall be changed;

There all the halls of Syon

For aye shall be complete:

And in the land of Beauty

All things of beauty meet.

To thee, O dear, dear country!

Mine eyes their vigils keep;

For very love, beholding

Thy happy name, they weep:

The mention of Thy glory

Is unction to the breast,

And medicine in sickness,

And love, and life, and rest.

O one, O onely mansion!

O Paradise of joy!

Where tears are ever banished,

And smiles have no alloy:

Beside thy living waters

All plants are, great and small;

The cedar of the forest,

The hyssop of the wall;

With jaspers glow thy bulwarks,

Thy streets with emeralds blaze;

The sardius and the topaz

Unite in thee their rays;

Thine ageless walls are bonded

With amethyst unpriced;

Thy saints build up its fabric,

And the Corner-stone is CHRIST.

Thou hast no shore, fair Ocean!

Thou hast no time, bright Day!

Dear fountain of refreshment

To pilgrims far away!

Upon the Rock of Ages

They raise thy holy Tower.

Thine is the Victor’s laurel,

And thine the golden dower.

Thou feel’st in mystic rapture,

O Bride that know’st no guile,

The Prince’s sweetest kisses,

The Prince’s loveliest smile.

Unfading lilies, bracelets

Of living pearl, thine own;

The Lamb is ever near thee,

The Bridegroom thine alone;

And all thine endless leisure

In sweetest accents sings

The ills that were thy merit,

The joys that are thy King’s.

Jerusalem the golden!

With milk and honey blest,

Beneath thy contemplation

Sink heart and voice opprest;

I know not, oh, I know not

What social joys are there,

What radiancy of glory,

What light beyond compare;

And when I fain would sing them,

My spirit fails and faints,

And vainly would it image

The assembly of the Saints.

They stand, those halls of Syon,

All jubilant with song,

And bright with many an Angel,

And many a Martyr throng;

The Prince is ever in them,

The light is aye serene;

The Pastures of the Blessed

Are decked in glorious sheen;

There is the Throne of David,

And there, from toil released,

The shout of them that triumph,

The song of them that feast;

And they, beneath their Leader,

Who conquered in the fight,

For ever and for ever

Are clad in robes of white.

Jerusalem the glorious!

The glory of the elect,

O dear and future vision

That eager hearts expect:

Ev’n now by faith I see thee,

Ev’n here thy walls discern;

To thee my thoughts are kindled

And strive and pant and yearn:

Jerusalem the onely,

That look’st from Heav’n below,

In thee is all my glory,

In me is all my woe:

And though my body may not,

My spirit seeks thee fain;

Till flesh and earth return me

To earth and flesh again.

O Land that seest no sorrow!

O State that fear’st no strife!

O princely bowers! O Land of flowers!

O realm and Home of Life!