Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24
Words: Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope (London: James Nisbet, 1857), pages 41–43, alt.
Music: Ellers Edward J. Hopkins, in the Supplemental Tune-Book, by Robert Brown-Borthwick, 1869 (🔊 pdf nwc).
The star is not extinguished when it sets
Upon the dull horizon; it but goes
To shine in other skies, then re-appear
In ours, as fresh as when it first arose.
The river is not lost, when, o’er the rock,
It pours its flood into th’abyss below:
Its scattered force re-gathering from the shock,
It hastens onward, with yet fuller flow.
The bright sun dies not, when the shadowing orb
Of the eclipsing moon obscures its ray:
It still is shining on; and soon to us
Will burst undimmed into the joy of day.
The lily dies not, when both flower and leaf
Fade, and are strewed upon the chill sad ground:
Gone down for shelter to its mother-earth,
’Twill rise, re-bloom, and shed its fragrance round.
The dewdrop dies not, when it leaves the flower,
And passes upward on the beam of morn:
It does but hide itself in light on high,
To its loved flower at twilight to return.
The fine gold has not perished, when the flame
Seizes upon it with consuming glow:
In freshened splendor it comes forth anew,
To sparkle on the monarch’s throne or brow.
Thus nothing dies, or only dies to live:
Star, stream, sun, flower, the dew-drop, and the gold,
Each goodly thing, instinct with buoyant hope,
Hastes to put on its purer, finer mold.
Thus in the quiet joy of kindly trust,
We bid each parting saint a brief farewell:
Weeping, yet smiling, we commit their dust
To the safe keeping of the silent cell.
Softly within that peaceful resting place,
We lay their wearied limbs; and bid the clay
Press lightly on them, till the night be past,
And the far east give note of coming day.
The day of re-appearing! how it speeds!
He who is true and faithful speaks the word.
Then shall we ever be with those we love,
Then shall we be for ever with the Lord.
The shout is heard; th’archangel’s voice goes forth;
The trumpet sounds; the dead awake and sing;
The living put on glory; one glad band,
They hasten up to meet their coming king.
Short death and darkness! Endless life and light!
Short dimming; endless shining in yon sphere,
Where all is incorruptible and pure;
The joy without the pain, the smile without the tear.