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The Vision Of Echard
by [?]


The Benedictine Echard
Sat by the wayside well,
Where Marsberg sees the bridal
Of the Sarre and the Moselle.

Fair with its sloping vineyards
And tawny chestnut bloom,
The happy vale Ausonius sunk
For holy Treves made room.

On the shrine Helena builded
To keep the Christ coat well,
On minster tower and kloster cross,
The westering sunshine fell.

There, where the rock-hewn circles
O’erlooked the Roman’s game,
The veil of sleep fell on him,
And his thought a dream became.

He felt the heart of silence
Throb with a soundless word,
And by the inward ear alone
A spirit’s voice he heard.

And the spoken word seemed written
On air and wave and sod,
And the bending walls of sapphire
Blazed with the thought of God.

“What lack I, O my children?
All things are in my band;
The vast earth and the awful stars
I hold as grains of sand.

“Need I your alms? The silver
And gold are mine alone;
The gifts ye bring before me
Were evermore my own.

“Heed I the noise of viols,
Your pomp of masque and show?
Have I not dawns and sunsets
Have I not winds that blow?

“Do I smell your gums of incense?
Is my ear with chantings fed?
Taste I your wine of worship,
Or eat your holy bread?

“Of rank and name and honors
Am I vain as ye are vain?
What can Eternal Fulness
From your lip-service gain?

“Ye make me not your debtor
Who serve yourselves alone;
Ye boast to me of homage
Whose gain is all your own.

“For you I gave the prophets,
For you the Psalmist’s lay
For you the law’s stone tables,
And holy book and day.

“Ye change to weary burdens
The helps that should uplift;
Ye lose in form the spirit,
The Giver in the gift.

“Who called ye to self-torment,
To fast and penance vain?
Dream ye Eternal Goodness
Has joy in mortal pain?

“For the death in life of Nitria,
For your Chartreuse ever dumb,
What better is the neighbor,
Or happier the home?

“Who counts his brother’s welfare
As sacred as his own,
And loves, forgives, and pities,
He serveth me alone.

“I note each gracious purpose,
Each kindly word and deed;
Are ye not all my children?
Shall not the Father heed?

“No prayer for light and guidance
Is lost upon mine ear
The child’s cry in the darkness
Shall not the Father hear?

“I loathe your wrangling councils,
I tread upon your creeds;
Who made ye mine avengers,
Or told ye of my needs;

“I bless men and ye curse them,
I love them and ye hate;
Ye bite and tear each other,
I suffer long and wait.

“Ye bow to ghastly symbols,
To cross and scourge and thorn;
Ye seek his Syrian manger
Who in the heart is born.

“For the dead Christ, not the living,
Ye watch His empty grave,
Whose life alone within you
Has power to bless and save.

“O blind ones, outward groping,
The idle quest forego;
Who listens to His inward voice
Alone of Him shall know.

“His love all love exceeding
The heart must needs recall,
Its self-surrendering freedom,
Its loss that gaineth all.

“Climb not the holy mountains,
Their eagles know not me;
Seek not the Blessed Islands,
I dwell not in the sea.

“Gone is the mount of Meru,
The triple gods are gone,
And, deaf to all the lama’s prayers,
The Buddha slumbers on.

“No more from rocky Horeb
The smitten waters gush;
Fallen is Bethel’s ladder,
Quenched is the burning bush.