Long-suffering of God

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XXIX. Long-suffering of God  (1771) 
by Christopher Smart
From the Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771).
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HYMN XXIX.

LONG-SUFFERING Of GOD.


One hundred feet from off the ground
       That noble Aloe blows;[1]
But mark ye by what skill profound
       His charming grandeur rose.

5 One hundred years of patient care
       The gard'ners did bestow,
Toil and hereditary pray'r
       Made all this glorious shew.

Thus man goes on from year to year,
10        And bears no fruit at all;
But gracious God, still unsevere,
       Bids show'rs of blessings fall.

The beams of mercy, dews of grace,
       Our Saviour still supplies —
15 Ha! ha! the soul regains her place,
       And sweetens all the skies.


1771


Notes

  1. 1-2. One hundred feet from off the ground / That noble Aloe blows... — Regarding these two lines Karina Williamson notes that “the American Aloe was famed for its size but one hundred feet is an exaggeration.” She continues regarding the line 5: “An account of a giant specimen appeared in Gentl. Mag., 1759: described as the largest ever seen in England, it was said to be 104 years old, ‘and it is thought it will be 40 feet high’ (p. 291).
          There is information that slow-growing Aloe bainesii, also known as Tree aloe, in its native climes of South Africa can reach to 18m (54ft) high.
          Aloe is mentioned in the Bible as part of the mixture being used for the anointing of the body of Jesus Christ after his death: “And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.” John 19:39.
          Aloe also is mentioned by Christopher Smart in his “Jubilate Agno” (Fragment D): “Let Pearson, house of Pearson rejoice with the American Aloe. I pray for the soul of Frances Burton.”
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.