Saturday, 20 November 2010

On Northern Shores our lot is cast ...

A Hymn by Blessed John Henry Newman in praise of St Philip Neri

On Northern shores our lot is cast,
Where faithful hearts are few;
Still are we Philip’s children dear,
And Peter’s soldiers true.

Founder and Sire! to mighty Rome,
Beneath St. Peter's shade,
Thy early vow of loyal love
And ministry was paid.

The solemn porch and portal high
Of Peter was thy home;
The world’s Apostle he, and thou
Apostle of his Rome.

And first in the old Catacombs,
In galleries long and deep,
Where martyr Popes had ruled the flock,
And slept their glorious sleep,

There didst thou pass the nights in prayer,
Until at length there came,
Down on thy breast, new lit for thee,
The Pentecostal flame;-

Then, in that heart-consuming love,
Didst walk the city wide,
And lure the noble and the young
From Babel’s pomp and pride;

And gathering them within thy cell,
Unveil the lustre bright
And beauty of thy inner soul,
And gain them by the sight.

And thus to Rome, for Peter's faith
Far known, thou didst impart
The lessons of the hidden life,
And discipline of heart.

And as the Apostle, on the hill
Facing the Imperial Town,
First gazed upon his fair domain,
Then on the cross lay down,

So thou, from out the streets of Rome
Didst turn thy failing eye
Unto that mount of martyrdom,
Take leave of it, and die.

And when you died, you did but go
In other lands to dwell,
A traveller now, who in his life
Ne’er left that one bare cell.

He travelled, and he travelled on,
He crossed the swelling sea,
He sought our island’s very heart,
And here at length is he.

Glory to God, who framed a Saint,
So beautiful and sweet;
Who brought him from St. Peter’s side
And placed us at his feet.

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