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One thought of holy ecstasy
Breaks on my spirit's sight
Like a bright, flashing meteor
Athwart the skies at night;
'Tis not of all the glory
Eternity may hold,
That centuries unmeasured
Shall wondrously unfold;
'Tis not of all the music
Angelic choirs shall pour,
Like rolling ocean billows,
To break on either shore;
My thoughts turn back bewildered,
Too weak to comprehend
The unsolved mighty problem
Of the never-ending end;
But sometimes vaguely, dimly,
I seam to realize
One glimpse of all the glory
Unseen by mortal eyes;
One burst of matchless music,
That souls redeemed hath stirred;
One sweep of that grand melody,
That ear hath never heard.
Thou saint, who circling cycles
Hath borne through seas of bliss,
I ask not of your triumphs
From such a world as this;
But thou, exultant spirit,
Freed from a world of woe,
Who the first glimpse of Heaven
Hath journeyed out to know,
Tell me what thrill of rapture,
Of happiness divine,
Hath thrilled and swayed and overflowed
That human heart of thine?
The dungeon bars behind thee,
The palace gates before,
Thou, entering to the presence
Of God forevermore,
One burst of Heavenly light,
And all beyond thee--glory,
And all behind thee--night;
Life's give of sin and misery,
Earth's dower of blight and ban,
How seem they, when a glimpse of Heaven
Enters the heart of man?
Oh, all the strife and discord
Of years that seemed so long,
The sound of earthly voices
That thrilled the world with song,
The glare of earthly grandeur,
The pleasure and the pain,
Life with its doubtful portion
Of blessing and of bane,
Left like a heavy burden
All in the vanished past,
To rise above corruption,
A grave-stone at the last!
Needs it a vast forever,
With joy its grief to drown,
The power of endless ages,
To bid it crumble down?
Oh, when within the presence
Of glory and grace,
We hear archangel trumpets,
Behold the Saviour's face,
Before the crown is brought us,
Before the palm we wave,
Before we have forgotten
The darkness of the grave;
When with a song of triumph
The chains of death are riven,
The clouds of years will melt before,
One little glimpse of Heaven!