This is God’s-acre !  Mark ye well the word ;1
Sound it wherever His great name is heard :2
’Tis common land, no man its gates shall keep,3
Life’s wearied labourer herein may sleep.4
As one wide field, it gathers in its bound5
The strayed and steadfast soul—the lost and found.6
Within, stand various Temples, rude or fair7
Stone-shelters, guarding from sin’s ruthless air8
The shorn lamb cast upon earth’s wintry wold9
Some, meek as saints are, some with finger bold10
Pointing to heaven. All alike lead here ;11
Through each fane-portal enter corse and bier.12
Who in God’s-acre drops the seed to ground,13
In patient faith should match the shepherd hound ;14
A watcher he—no teacher, but one taught,15
Reverent, to catch his Guide’s unspoken thought ;16
The pastor-servant, quick to point our place17
A-fold—straight looking to his Master’s face !18
Silent and soft, the dews of heaven fall19
Where sin and sorrow fling aside their pall :20
There, gathered pools deep in each graven stone21
Refresh the wandering bird that wings alone22
Across God’s-acre ; till it lifts its head,23
As men give blessing for some bounty shed.24
So, even as birds do, let us drink our fill25
Of peace where all creeds ripen—thankful still :26
Content, the grave our halting-place to count,27
Till, fresh once more, our spirit-wings may mount28
Therefrom with joy to join that peaceful band29
Which swells God’s-acre in a loftier land.30