These three poems were included at the front of Irving’s first book of Lectures on the book of Revelation.

The Warning of the Church
A Parable

They tell of one of England’s noblest peers,
Who sought within the shades of humble life
Retreat from sorrow, and for comfort found,
What for man’s comfort was by God ordain’d,
A woman of a tender, loyal heart;
Whom for his wedded wife he joyful took,
Nor aught reveal’d of his name and line,
But brought her, all unconscious, to his home,
And there did plant her, partner of his state.
But ah! she loved him over-much, and thought
His home dishonour’d in his lowly wife,
And, like a flower transplanted, droop’d, and died.

—But, thankless Church, thou’rt ready to reject
The Son of God, because in lowliness
He came to woo thee, lowly; laid aside
His heavenly glory, and in mortal weeds
Found access to thy prison, all in thine ear
To pipe soft strains of consolation, meet
T’assuage thy sufferings, and thy love to win;
Then broke thy bonds, thy captors captive led;
And by His Father crowned Lord of all,
Sent thee His Holy Spirit from on high,—
Pledge of His love, of thy inheritance
The earnest;—call’d thee in His throne to sit,
And placed upon thy head creation’s crown.

But ah! strange mock! thy pride is sore displeased
Because He came in mortal, sinful flesh,
From sin and sickness sore to raise its state
And high enthrone it in the height of heaven:
As kings are sometimes wont, in their own guise
To woo and wed fair maids, who to a crown
Did ne’er aspire, nor dream of royal love.

—If thus, O graceless, thankless, heartless Church!
Thou spurn that meanness, which was undergone
To purchase thy redemption: Fear, then, oh fear,
Lest unto thee it fare as heretofore
To Michal, David’s wife, who scorn’d her lord
For dancing with the throng before God’s Ark,
And for her cold and saucy pride was writ
Thenceforward childless, and was doom’d to see
Another wife advanced into her room,
Herself cast out, though daughter of a king;
A base adult’ress raised into her room.

So thou shalt be cast out, O Gentile Church,
Born to a kingdom, for thy saucy pride,
And the adult’ress bond-wife, Jacob’s seed,
Shall sit, and share in earth King David’s throne!


Across the page from the poem above was the following poem:

The Invocation

Come now to me once more, Lord of my reason,
Prince of light, most glorious Son of God;
Come, help me to unfold in fit discourse
Those marvellous visions of Thy coming
Writ in th’ Apocalypse. In Thy right hand,
Where is the hiding of Thy power, I rest,
Thy willing tool; employ me as Thou wilt.
I am an angel of Thy church—give me
My charge, great Bishop; a star—enlighten me,
Amidst the darkness of this cloudy night,
To struggle through the wrack brew’d in the heavens
By Satan, prince o’ th’ air, and guide Thy saints.
Fain would I keep some ray of hope above
The horizon, like some lonely watchman,
Who, far off at sea, doth trim his beacon light
To lead lost seamen to their haven of rest.


On the flip side of this page was another poem, unnamed. It’s simply a prayer for holy unction:

A Prayer

Be not cast down, my soul; my heart
    Be stirred up with love;
My mind, dwell ever in that light
    Which cometh from above.

For unction of the Holy One,
    My God, I look to Thee;
That I may rightly know all things
    Which in Thy counsel be.

And what I know, that I may tell
    With words of heavenly grace,
Do Thou, O Word, inform my lips;
    For I do seek Thy face.

Leave a Reply

Please answer this small math test (it helps prevent robots from spamming the comments): * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.