THERE was a voice of wailing
In Bethany, that day;
And darkly on that mournful home,
The cloud of sorrow lay:
And deeply was the fount of grief
In woman's bosom stirred;
And thickly fell its bitter drops,
In each low-murmured word.
For never, from that blessed source,
Of perfectness above,
Was shed on earth, a purer joy,
Than in a sister's love;
And never pours the bursting heart,
A deeper, darker flow,
Than, o'er a brother's wasted form,
A sister's sacred woe.
There was a voice of joyfulness,
In Bethany, that day,
And brightly, on that happy home,
The sun of gladness lay;
And deeply was the fount of joy
In woman's bosom, stirred,
And fervent rose its grateful praise,
In each exulting word.
For purer, fuller, holier stream,
Than, in a sister's love,
Flowed never, from that blessed fount,
Of perfectness, above;
And deeper, warmer, gushing tears,
On earth, were never shed,
Than fell, that day, upon his neck,
The rescued from the dead.
Oh, ever thus, on those who love,
And humbly serve, the Lord,
His blessings, and His chastisements,
In mingled stream, are poured:
His chastisements, to bring to earth,
Each thought and purpose high;
His blessings, to lift up our hearts,
To Him, above the sky.
Then who, whate'er betide, will doubt,
That all-disposing arm,
Which guides our feet to every good,
And guards, from every harm?
Since sorrow, like that darkest hour,
That just precedes the day,
Is only sent, to fit our hearts,
For joy's unclouded ray.