A Waking Joy

Is it because it is not thou I see,

But only my poor, blotted fancy of thee?

Oh! never till thyself reveal thy face,

Shall I be flooded with life’s vital grace.

Oh make my mirror-heart thy shining-place,

And then my soul, awaking with the morn,

Shall be a waking joy, eternally new-born.

— George MacDonald

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Waiting Watchful for Thy Will

O master, my desires to work, to know,

To be aware that I do live and grow—

All restless wish for anything not thee,

I yield, and on thy altar offer me.

Let me no more from out thy presence go,

But keep me waiting watchful for thy will—

Even while I do it, waiting watchful still.

— George MacDonald

Because Thou Knowest

I cannot tell why this day I am ill;

But I am well because it is thy will—

Which is to make me pure and right like thee.

Not yet I need escape—’tis bearable

Because thou knowest. And when harder things

Shall rise and gather, and overshadow me,

I shall have comfort in thy strengthenings.

When My Heart Sinks

Help me, my Father, in whatever dismay,

Whatever terror in whatever shape,

To hold the faster by thy garment’s hem;

When my heart sinks, oh, lift it up, I pray;

Thy child should never fear though hell should gape,

Not blench though all the ills that men affray

Stood round him like the Roman round Jerusalem.
George MacDonald

My Only Day


Afresh I seek Thee.

Lead me once more I pray–

Even should it be against my will, Thy way.

Let me not feel Thee foreign any hour,

or shrink from Thee as an estranged power.

Through doubt, through faith, through bliss, through stark dismay;

Through sunshine, wind, or snow, or fog, or shower–

Draw me to Thee who are my only Day.
—George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

Till my Love Loves Burningly

Lo, Lord, thou know’st, I would not anything

That in the heart of God holds not its root;

Nor falsely deem there is any life at all

That doth in him nor sleep nor shine nor sing;

I know the plants that bear the noisome fruit

Of burning and of ashes and of gall—

From God’s heart torn, rootless to man’s they cling.

Life-giving love rots to devouring fire;

Justice corrupts to despicable revenge;

Motherhood chokes in the dam’s jealous mire;

Hunger for growth turns fluctuating change;

Love’s anger grand grows spiteful human wrath,

Hunting men out of conscience’ holy path;

And human kindness takes the tattler’s range.


Nothing can draw the heart of man but good;

Low good it is that draws him from the higher—

So evil—poison uncreate from food.

Never a foul thing, with temptation dire,

Tempts hellward force created to aspire,

But walks in wronged strength of imprisoned Truth,

Whose mantle also oft the Shame indu’th.
Love in the prime not yet I understand—
Scarce know the love that loveth at first hand:

Help me my selfishness to scatter and scout;

Blow on me till my love loves burningly;

Then the great love will burn the mean self out,

And I, in glorious simplicity,

Living by love, shall love unspeakably.

—George MacDonald

Master, Thou Workest 

Master, thou workest with such common things—Low souls, weak hearts, I mean—and hast to use,

Therefore, such common means and rescuings,

That hard we find it, as we sit and muse,

To think thou workest in us verily:

Bad sea-boats we, and manned with wretched crews—

That doubt the captain, watch the storm-spray flee.

— George MacDonald