Lord Jesus! with what sweetness and delights,
Sure, holy hopes, high joys and quick'ning flights
Dost thou feed thine! O thou! the hand that lifts
To him, who gives all good and perfect gifts.
Thy glorious, bright Ascension (though removed
So many Ages from me) is so proved
And by thy Spirit sealed to me, that I
Feel me a sharer in thy victory.
I soar and rise
Up to the skies,
Leaving the world their day,
And in my flight,
For the true light
Go seeking all the way;
I greet thy sepulchre, salute thy grave,
That blest inclosure, where the angels gave
The first glad tidings of thy early light,
And resurrection from the earth and night.
I see that morning in thy Convert's tears,
Fresh as the dew, which but this dawning wears!
I smell her spices, and her ointment yields
As rich a scent as the now primrosed fields:
The day-star smiles, and light with thee deceased,
Now shines in all the chambers of the East.
What stirs, what posting intercourse and mirth
Of saints and angels glorify the earth?
What sighs, what whispers, busy stops and stays,
Private and holy talk fill all the ways?
They pass as at the last great day, and run
In their white robes to seek the risen Sun;
I see them, hear them, mark their haste, and move
Amongst them, with them, winged with faith and love.
Thy forty days more secret commerce here,
After thy death and funeral, so clear
And indisputable shows to my sight
As the Sun doth, which to those days gave light.
I walk the fields of Bethany which shine
All now as fresh as Eden, and as fine.
Such was the bright world, on the first seventh day,
Before man brought forth sin, and sin decay;
When like a virgin clad in flowers and green
The pure earth sat, and the fair woods had seen
No frost, but flourished in that youthful vest,
With which their great Creator had them dressed:
When Heav'n above them shined like molten glass,
While all the planets did unclouded pass;
And springs, like dissolved pearls their streams did pour,
Ne'er marred with floods, nor angered with a shower.
With these fair thoughts I move in this fair place,
And the last steps of my mild Master trace;
I see him leading out his chosen train,
All sad with tears, which like warm summer-rain
In silent drops steal from their holy eyes,
Fixed lately on the Cross, now on the skies.
And now (eternal Jesus!) thou dost heave
Thy blessed hands to bless these thou dost leave;
The cloud doth now receive thee, and their sight
Having lost thee, behold two men in white!
Two and no more: what two attest, is true,
Was thine own answer to the stubborn Jew.
Come then thou faithful witness! come dear Lord
Upon the clouds again to judge this world!
Henry Vaughan, 1621-1695
Fr Lee Kenyon
Priest, Husband, Father, Lancastrian, Mancunian