In her bicentennial year, here is one of the Victorian poet’s lesser-known works, a sensuously descriptive address to the Christian God
Thick orchards, all in white
The time of the singing of birds is come.
Thick orchards, all in white,
Stand ‘neath blue voids of light,
And birds among the branches blithely sing,
For they have all they know;
There is no more, but so,
All perfectness of living, fair delight of spring.
Only the cushat dove
Makes answer as for love
To the deep yearning of man’s yearning breast;
And mourneth, to his thought,
As in her notes were wrought
Fulfill’d in her sweet having, sense of his unrest.
Not with possession, not
With fairest earthly lot,
Cometh the peace assured, his spirit’s quest;
With much it looks before,
With most it yearns for more;
And ‘this is not our rest,’ and ‘this is not our rest.’
Give Thou us more. We look
For more. The heart that took
All spring-time for itself were empty still;
Its yearning is not spent
Nor silenced in content,
Till He that all things filleth doth it sweetly fill.
Give us Thyself. The May
Dureth so short a day;
Youth and the spring are over all too soon;
Content us while they last,
Console us for them past,
Thou with whom bides for ever life, and love, and noon.