Friday, February 3, 2012

When Presidents Were Patriots & Poets

John Quincy Adams, the  6th President of the United States, once wrote, "Could I have chosen my own genius and condition, I would have made myself a great poet.”  Indeed, after his death, many of his poems were collected and published in Poems of Religion and Society (1848).  Here’s one of my favorite of his devotional lyrics that combines his artistry and Christian confession.

The Hour-Glass
Alas!  How swift the moments fly!
How flash the years along!
Scarce here, yet gone already by,
The burden of a song.
See childhood, youth, and manhood pass,
And age, with furrowed brow; rime was—
Time shall be—drain the glass
But where in Time is now?
Time is the measure but of change;
No present hour is found;
The past, the future, fill the range
Of Time's unceasing round.
Where, then, is now?
In realms above,
With God's atoning Lamb,
In regions of eternal love,
Where sits enthroned I AM.
Then, pilgrim, let thy joys and tears
On Time no longer lean;
But henceforth all thy hopes and fears
From earth's affections wean:
To God let votive accents rise;
With truth, with virtue, live;
So all the bliss that Time denies
Eternity shall give.

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