John Keble

Here you will find the Poem Cathchism of poet John Keble


Oh! say not, dream not, heavenly notes
 To childish ears are vain,
That the young mind at random floats,
 And cannot reach the strain.

Dim or unheard, the words may fall,
 And yet the heaven-taught mind
May learn the sacred air, and all
 The harmony unwind.

Was not our Lord a little child,
 Taught by degrees to pray,
By father dear and mother mild
 Instructed day by day?

And loved He not of Heaven to talk
 With children in His sight,
To meet them in His daily walk,
 And to His arms invite?

What though around His throne of fire
 The everlasting chant
Be wafted from the seraph choir
 In glory jubilant?

Yet stoops He, ever pleased to mark
 Our rude essays of love,
Faint as the pipe of wakening lark,
 Heard by some twilight grove:

Yet is He near us, to survey
 These bright and ordered files,
Like spring-flowers in their best array,
 All silence and all smiles.

Save that each little voice in turn
 Some glorious truth proclaims,
What sages would have died to learn,
 Now taught by cottage dames.

And if some tones be false or low,
 What are all prayers beneath
But cries of babes, that cannot know
 Half the deep thought they breathe?

In His own words we Christ adore,
 But angels, as we speak,
Higher above our meaning soar
 Than we o'er children weak:

And yet His words mean more than they,
 And yet He owns their praise:
Why should we think, He turns away
 From infants' simple lays?