Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


The Chapel

by Bayard Taylor

Like one who leaves the trampled street
For some cathedral, cool and dim,
Where he can hear in music beat
The heart of prayer, that beats for him;

And sees the common light of day,
Through painted panes transfigured, shine,
And casts his human woes away,
In presence of the Woe Divine:

So I, from life's tormenting themes
Turn where the silent chapel lies,
Whose windows burn with vanished dreams,
Whose altar-lights are memories.

There, watched by pitying cherubim,
In sacred hush, I rest awhile,
Till solemn sounds of harp and hymn
Begin to sweep the haunted aisle:

A hymn that once but breathed complaint,
And breathes but resignation now,
Since God has heard the pleading saint,
And laid His hand upon my brow.

Restored and comforted, I go
To grapple with my tasks again;
Through silent worship taught to know
The blessed peace that follows pain.


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston