The Eternal Years, by Father Frederick William Faber

• 1
How shalt thou bear the Cross that now
   So dread a weight appears?
Keep quietly to God, and think
   Upon the Eternal Years.

• 2
Austerity is little help,
   Although it somewhat cheers;
Thine oil of gladness is the thought
   Of the Eternal Years.

• 3
Set hours and written rule are good,
   Long prayer can lay our fears:
But it is better calm for thee
   To count the Eternal Years.

• 4
Rites are as balm unto the eyes,
   God’s word unto the ears:
But He will have thee rather brood
   Upon the Eternal Years.

• 5
Full many things are good for souls
   In proper times and spheres;
Thy present good is in the thought
   Of the Eternal Years.

• 6
Thy self-upbraiding is a snare,
   Though meekness it appears;
More humbling is it far for thee
   To face the Eternal Years.

• 7
Brave quiet is the thing for thee,
   Chiding thy scrupulous fears;
Learn to be real, from the thought
   Of the Eternal Years.

• 8
Bear gently, suffer like a child,
   Nor be ashamed of tears;
Kiss the sweet Cross, and in thy heart
   Sing of the Eternal Years.

• 9
Thy Cross is quite enough for thee,
   Though little it appears;
For there is hid in it the weight
   Of the Eternal Years.

• 10
And knowst thou not how bitterness
   An ailing spirit cheers?
Thy medicine is the strengthening thought
   Of the Eternal Years.

• 11
One Cross can sanctify a soul;
   Late saints and ancient seers
Were what they were, because they mused
   Upon the Eternal Years.

• 12
Pass not from flower to pretty flower;
   Time flies, and judgment nears;
Go! make thy honey from the thought
   Of the Eternal Years.

• 13
Death will have rainbows round it, seen
   Through calm contrition’s tears,
If tranquil hope but trims her lamp
   At the Eternal Years.

• 14
Keep unconstrain’dly in this thought,
   Thy loves, hopes, smiles, and tears;
Such prison-house thine heart will make
   Free of the Eternal Years.

• 15
A single practice long sustained
   A soul to God endears:
This must be thine — to weigh the thought
   Of the Eternal Years.

• 16
He practises all virtue well,
   Who his own Cross reveres,
And lives in the familiar thought
   Of the Eternal Years.