When the Hands Must Loose That Now So Fondly Clasp

I spend a surprising amount of time reading through old hymnals and collections of poetry—rather a strange hobby, I suppose. There is a lot that’s familiar and a lot that’s terrible. Every now and again, though, I come across a poem that is new to me and that I find especially enjoyable. That was the case with this one written by Caroline Noel in honor of her husband. It reflects on the joy they experience in one another and the reality that they must someday part. I trust it will bless you as it did me.

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When I give thanks to God, for all
His priceless gifts to me,
Believe that then, among the chief,
I give Him thanks for thee.

For all the love that He has rained
Upon me, from thine eyes,
That shine like stars above my storms,
Calm, though they sympathize.

And if one day the hands must loose,
That now so fondly clasp,
Yet, e’en though parted, both will be
Within the same strong grasp.

One on Christ’s bosom gently laid,
The other safely led
A longer road, unto the land
Where live the blessed Dead.

There meeting, who can guess the gleam
Of rapture, that will rise,
When we the light of that fair realm
See in each other’s eyes?

O deep unspeakable repose
Of knowing, that for aye
All that disturbed and hindered love
Has wholly passed away!

Sin, sickness, sorrow, chills of age,
And pangs of mortal fear,
Can never reach the land where Christ
Has wiped away each tear.

For Death has no dominion there,
Where Sin has never trod,
But souls transfigured, live and love,
Within the Life of God.

Then fear we not to trust His Word,
And cherish Love’s increase;
Since e’en its sharpest throes must pass
Into Eternal Peace.