Immortality (Smart)

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For works with similar titles, see Immortality.
XXXI. Immortality  (1771) 
by Christopher Smart
From the Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771).
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HYMN XXXI.

IMMORTALITY.


``Be of good cheer, for I, ev'n I,
      ``Have overcome the world; — [1]
The wind and tide are yours — apply
       Your oars with sails unfurl'd.

5 Sure Immortality was known
      To few, but very few,
Before I came, the corner-stone,[2]
      To build my work anew.

But now ye know it in your hearts,
10      Ye hear it with your ears; <10>
Not by dark vision[3], or by starts,
      Its evidence appears.

Sheep, blessed sheep, ye shall be brought
      To pleasures how divine!
15To joys surpassing human thought,
      And such as equal mine.

How brilliant past conceit each star
      Shall shine before the Lamb:[4]
'Tis bliss to know not what you[5] are,
20       By knowing what I AM.


1771


Notes

  1. 1-2. Said by Jesus after the Last Supper: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33).
  2. 7. the corner-stone — Christ is so called in 1 Peter 2:6—7: "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief 'corner stone', elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. / Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, 'the stone' which the builders disallowed, the same is made 'the head of the corner'..." See also Christopher Smart, Parable 43.27 and Parable 64
  3. 11. visions — in Ed. 1771
  4. 18. Lamb! — in Ed. 1786
  5. 21. ye — in Ed. 1771
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.