Peace (Smart)

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Hymn XXIII. Peace  (1771) 
by Christopher Smart
From the Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771).
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                  HYMN XXIII.                  

PEACE.


The Mount of Olives was thy seat,[1]
      O Angel, heav'nly fair;
And thou, sweet Peace, didst often meet
      Thy Prince[2] and Saviour there.

5 But now abroad condemn'd to roam,
      From Salem lov'd and bless'd;[3]
A quiet conscience is thine home,
      In every faithful breast.

Thou didst Augustus first inspire,
10       That bloody war should cease;[4]
And to Melchisedec retire,
      The Sov'reign of our peace.[5]

O come unto the Church repair,
      And her defects review;
15 Of old thou plantedst olives there,[6]
      Which to redundance grew.[7]

Sustain the pillars of the state,
      Be health and wealth conjoin'd;
And in each house thy turtles mate,[8]
20       To multiply mankind.


1771


Notes

  1. 1. The Mount of Olives was thy seat...The Mount of Olives the mount in east Jerusalem that has sacred connotation in Bible. Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 24-25), including the Olivet discourse.
  2. 3-4. ...didst often meet / Thy Prince...The Prince of Peace is a title for Jesus Christ given in Isaiah 9:6.
  3. 6. From Salem lov'd and bless'd... — Salem traditionally identified as Jerusalem, and means "peace".
  4. 9-10. Thou didst Augustus first inspire / That bloody war should cease..." The rule of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana, or Roman peace. Despite continuous frontier wars, and one year-long civil war over the imperial succession, the Mediterranean world remained at peace for more than two centuries. (See: Wikipedia).
  5. 11-12. And to Melchisedec retire,/ The Sov'reign of our peace...Melchisedec traditionally explained as King of righteousness, and also King of Salem that means "King of Peace".
  6. 15. Of old thou plantest olives there... — The olive branch or leaf carried by a white dove is a sign of peace. "And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth." (Genesis 8:11).
  7. 16. ...Which to redundance grew... — probably Smart suggests here that there is too much peace in the Church. (DS).
  8. 19. ...And in each house thy turtles mate… — “Turtle”, here “ Turtledove”, emblem of love perhaps because of biblical references like follows: ”The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land…” Song of Solomon 2:12.


This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.