Christ My Song - 1011
It is said that the exile who chances to hear - On Sacred Music
(Charlotte Elliott/Johannes Thomas Rüegg)
On Sacred Music.
1. It is said that the exile who chances to hear
in the land of the stranger his own native tongue,
or some strain that in childhood delighted his ear,
though he listen with rapture, yet weeps o'er the song.
2. For then what bright visions appear to this view!
What scenes of enchantment rise quickly around!
The land where the first breath of freedom he drew,
his home, his loved kindred, he seems to have found.
3. But though sweet the delusion, not long can it last:
in a moment the lovely deceptions are flown:
with the sounds that produced them too quickly thy passed,
and the exile still finds himself sad and alone.
4. And is not the Christian an exile on earth?
And is not sweet music the language of heaven,
of that land whence the spirit received her bright birth,
and from whence the bright grant of her freedom was given?
5. And thus, while he listens to anthems of praise,
or some soft-stealing melody falls on his ear,
those regions of joy he in spirit surveys,
and seems the sweet song of the ransomed to hear.
6. Nay, he seems to have entered that haven of rest,
to have bidden farewell to temptations and woes;
already he joins the bright bands of the blessed,
already partakes their eternal repose.
7. But the charm is soon broken; the sounds die away;
no mandate, as yet, is sent down of release:
he mourns to perceive still so distant the day,
when suff'rings and labours for ever shall cease.
8. That day of delight, when, an exile no more,
his country, his home, his loved friends he regains,
tunes his harp to the chorus oft longed for before,
where "sorrow and sighing" ne'er blend with the strains.
Charlotte Elliott, Selections from the Poems of Charlotte Elliott, 132-134.