The Holy Mount

What though this weary earth-born flesh lie fettered

Author: Valdimar Briem; Translator: Charles Venn Pilcher
Published in 1 hymnal

Full Text

What though this weary earth-born flesh lie fettered
In prison-house of night?
The spirit rises heavenward, upward ranging
Toward the realms of light:
Up to the ray-crowned peak her Lord she follows,
With sin-purged eyes to scan
From that clear height the fair far-spreading vistas
Of God's redeeming plan.

Yea, though the flesh, far-sundered from the dawning,
Mid shades of death here lie,
The soul upon the mount of faith ascending
In prayer to heaven draws nigh.
So high that hill that in the darkling distance
Earth's troubles fade away;
Close, close at hand the high things and the holy
Stand forth in fair array.

Far, far below, down in the earth-girt valley,
Night broods upon the clod.
Look up! along the mountain crest is breaking
The glad sunrise of God.
There hidden things are plain; there, vision-gifted,
The eye may pierce the gloom
Which curtains time and space, yea, rend the blackness
That shrouds the unanswering tomb.

On earth insistent sing the siren voices
Which lure to carnal ease:
There reigns the silence of a dream, the stillness
Of the eternal peace.
Time's voices fade; in awe I hear the beating
Of God's great heart of love;
While on my breast the dews of healing quiet
Steal softly from above.

So on the mountain summit, domed in glory,
My pilgrim tent I'll raise:
'Tis good for me, thus close to God abiding,
To dwell through endless days;
To catch some beams of that divine effulgence
There from Christ's face outpoured,
Until my face transfigured glow reflecting
The glory of the Lord.

Then, when death comes, a cloud of mystic brightness
O'ershadowing shall draw near:
Within its folds soft calling, "My beloved,"
The Saviour's voice I'll hear.
Yea, though death's chill mist shroud life's flowery valley,
It hath no power to affright:
I raise mine eyes, and near me Jesus only
Stands in immortal light.

Author: Valdimar Briem

Born: Feb­ru­a­ry 1, 1848, Grund, Ice­land. Died: May 3, 1930, Stó­ri-Nú­pur, Ice­land. Briem at­tend­ed the The­o­lo­gic­al Sem­in­ary in Reyk­ja­vik, was or­dained in 1873, and in 1880 be­came pas­tor of the Stó­ri-Nú­pur par­ish, where he served for three de­cades. In 1909, he be­came vice-bi­shop of Skál­holt. The 1886 Ice­lan­dic hym­nal has 102 orig­in­al hymns by Briem, and 39 of his trans­la­tions. Lyrics: Hve dryalegur er Drott­inn (How Mar­vel­ous God’s Great­ness) Lord, Let Thy Spir­it --/  Go to person page >

Translator: Charles Venn Pilcher

Pilcher, Charles Venn. (Oxford, June 4, 1879--July 4, 1961, Sydney, Australia). Anglican. Grandnephew of Charlotte Elliott. Hertford College, Oxford, B.A., 1902; M.A., 1905; B.D., 1909; D.D., 1921. Curacies at Birmingham, 1903-1905; St. James, Toronto, 1910-1916; taught theology at Auckland Castle, England, 1905-1906, and at Wycliffe College, Toronto, 1916-1936. Elected coadjutor bishop of Sydney, Australia, at the instance of a former Wycliffe colleague, Archbishop Mowll. He composed hymn tunes and other music, and long played bass clarinet in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Also, he translated and published much devotional material from Iceland, notably Iceland Christian Classics (1950). These side interests, like his hymn writing, merely… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: What though this weary earth-born flesh lie fettered
Title: The Holy Mount
Author: Valdimar Briem
Translator: Charles Venn Pilcher
Meter: D
Language: English