This is the text of this hymn as it appeared in the Second Edition of William Chatterton Dix’s “Altar Songs.” He gives it the heading “Burial of the Dead”
Where rest all holy souls is known
O God to Thee, and Thee alone;
But in that dim and shadowy vale
Where fears may rise but ne’er prevail,
Thy Countenance illumes their night,
Them Thou dost stay, sole Source of light.
They know not bliss without alloy,
They have not plenitude of joy;
For this the expectant throng awaits
Like bidden guests at palace gates,
Whose hearts, by turn with hope beat fast,
Or sink at thought of self at last.
Yes, for these souls we say the prayer,
For mystic ties with them we share:
Oft as we plead Love’s Sacrifice
We hear them on our litanies,
And in that hour, some unknown spell
Links us with the Invisible.
O mystic fellowship Divine,
Bound by the one prevailing Sign!
The Altar spans death’s icy tide,
The dead seem kneeling at our side,
Angels adore the Eternal Son,
Earth, Heaven and Spirit-sphere are one.
A power more strong than death is here,
A Mystery which makes all clear:
Now faith can those cold hands embrace
Which, from their quiet resting-place,
The chalice of the Lord pass on:
Love lives, although the loved are gone.
Sweet ’tis to pray for dear ones now
For whom no selfish love can glow:
Death cannot sever ties of heart,
We’re brethren still though far apart,
All one in hope, affection, will,
They taking rest, we marching still.
Perchance, to them, in vision shown,
They tremble at the Great White Throne,
Or like the exiled saint Divine,
See Salem’s walls of jasper shine:
Her pearly gates, her streets of gold,
And glories all unknown, untold.
In us, O Lord, Thy grace increase:
To those who sleep, give rest and peace;
And when the golden Morn shall break,
And Earth to her ordeal wake,—
For Jesu’s Sake, Thine Own unite
With Thee in realms of Perfect Light.
Words: William Chatterton Dix, 1867.