Sunday, January 2, 2011

Elizabeth Rundle Charles

Today is the birthday of Elizabeth Rundle Charles, born in 1838 in Tavistock, in the county of Devon. She was raised in the Church of England, and would write more than twenty-five books, including several popular books on various aspects of church history.

Her hymns and poems were published in several different places, and she also translated several hymns from various languages. This text comes from her collection The Women of the Gospels: The Three Wakings and Other Poems (1859).

Come and rejoice with me!
For once my heart was poor;
But I have found a treasury
Of love, an endless store.

Come and rejoice with me!
For I have found a Friend
Who knows my heart's most secret depths
Yet loves me without end.

I knew not of this love
Which God had loved so long,
This love, so faithful and so deep,
So tender and so strong.

And now I know it all,
Have heard and known God's Voice,
And hear it still from day to day --
Can I enough rejoice?

Elicabeth Rundle Charles, 1859; alt.
John Goss, 1872

That same collection also contained a poem entitled New Years' Hymn, probably not a surprising topic for her to write about given her birthday. Its first stanza reads:

What marks the dawning of the year
From any other morn?
No festal garb doth Nature wear
Because a Year is born.

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