Project Canterbury

Christian Ballads

By A. Cleveland Coxe, D.D.

New York: D. Appleton, 1865.


My Beloved is gone down into His garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.--Canticles.


I KNOW--I know
Where the green leaves grow,
When the woods without are bare;
Where a sweet perfume
Of the woodland's bloom,
Is afloat on the winter air!
When tempest strong
Hath howled along,
With his war-whoop wild and loud,
Till the broad ribs broke
Of the forest oak,
And his crown of glory bowed;
I know--I know
Where the green leaves grow,
Though the groves without are bare,
Where the branches nod,
Of the trees of GOD,
And wild vines flourish fair.


For a fragrant crown
When the LORD comes down,
Of the deathless green we braid,
O'er the altar bright,
Where the tissue white
Like winter snow is laid,
And we think 'tis meet
The LORD to greet
As wise men did of old,
With the spiceries
Of incense-trees,
And hearts like the hoarded gold.
And so we shake
The snowy flake
From cedar and myrtle fair;
And the boughs that nod
On the hills of GOD,
We raise to His glory there.


I know--I know
Where blossoms blow
The earliest of the year;
Where the passion-flower
With a mystic power,
Its thorny crown doth rear;
Where crocus breathes,
And fragrant wreaths
Like a censer flu the gale;
Where cowslips burst
To beauty first,
And the lily of the vale:
And snow-drops white;
And pansies bright
As Joseph's coloured vest;
And laurel-tod
From the woods of GOD,
Where the wild-bird builds her nest.


For, oh! we fling
Each fragrant thing
In the path of the newly-wed;
And, when we weep,
Put flowers to sleep,
On the breast of the early dead.
And the altar's lawn,
At morning's dawn,
We deck at Easter-tide,
And the font's fair brim;
To tell of Him
Who liveth though He died!
Of flowers he spake;
And for His sake
Whose text was the lilies' bloom,
We search abroad
For the flowers of GOD,
To give Him their sweet perfume.


I know--I know
Where the waters flow
in a marble font and nook,
When the frosty sprite
In his strange delight
Hath fettered the brawling brook;
When the dancing stream
With its broken gleam,
Is locked in its rocky bed;
And the sing-song fret
Of the rivulet
Is hash as the melted lead;
Oh then I know
Where the waters flow
As fresh as the spring-time flood,
When the Spongy sod
Of the fields of GOD,
And the hedges are all in bud.


For the flowing Font
Rids Frost avaunt,
And the Winter's troop so wild;
And still 'twill gush
In a free full flush,
At the cry of a little child.
Oh rare the gleam
Of the blessed stream
In the noon of a winter day,
When the ruby stain
Of the coloured pane,
Falls in, with holy ray!
For then I think
Of the brimming brink,
And the urns, at the voice divine,
Like Moses' rod
And the rocks of GOD,
That flushed into ruddy wine.


I know--I know
No place below,
Like the home I fear and love;
Like the stilly spot
Where the world is not,
But the nest of the Holy Dove.
For there broods He
'Mid every tree
That grows at the Christmas-tide,
And there, all year,
O'er the font so clear,
His hovering wings abide!
And so, I know
No place below
So meet for the bard's true lay,
As the alleys broad
Of the Church of GOD,
Where Nature is green for aye.

Project Canterbury