Hymn 208. Aspiring towards Heaven

Vain world be gone, nor vex my heart

With thy deluding wiles:

Hence, empty promiser, depart,

With all thy soothing smiles.

Superior bliss invites my eyes,

Delight unmix’d with woe;

Now let my nobler thoughts arise,

To joys unknown below.

Yon starry plains, how bright they shine,

With radiant specks of light;

Fair pavement of the courts divine,

That sparkles on the sight!

’Tis distance lessens every star;

Could I behold them nigh,

Bright worlds of wonder would appear

To my astonish’d eye!

Thus heavenly joys attract my eyes,

My heart the lustre warms;

But could I reach those upper skies,

How infinite their charms!

Come, Heaven-born Faith, and aid my flight,

And guide my rising thought,

Till earth, still lessening to my sight,

Shall vanish quite forgot.

But when to reach those blissful plains

Her utmost ardor tries,

And almost hears the charming strains

Of hymning angels rise:

Mortality, with painful load,

Forbids the raptur’d flight;

In vain she means Heaven’s bright abode,

And sinks to earth and night.

O let thy love, my God, my King,

My hope, my heart, inspire;

And teach my faith with stronger wing

To rise, and warm desire.

Oft let thy shining visits cheer

This dark abode of clay,

’Till I shall leave these fetters here,

And rise to endless day.

Collection of Hymns Adapted to Public Worship, no. 208 (stanzas 1-6); Poems, 1780, vol. 1, pp. 139-41; MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College, STE 3/1/1 no. 77; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 1, pp. 126-28.