Tabb’s Poetry II


In every seed to breathe the flower,
   In every drop of dew
To reverence a cloistered star
   Within the distant blue;
To wait the promise of the bow,
   Despite the cloud between,
Is Faith—the fervid evidence
   Of loveliness unseen. 


He cannot as he came depart—
   The Wind that woos the Rose;
Her fragrance whispers in his heart
   Wherever hence he goes. 

All in All

   We know Thee, each in part—
      A portion small;
   But love Thee, as Thou art—
      The All in all:
For Reason and the rays thereof
Are starlight to the noon of Love. 

Bartimeus to the Bird

Had I no revelation but thy voice—
   No word but thine—
Still would my soul in certitude rejoice
   That love divine
Thy heart, his hidden instrument, employs,
   To waken mine. 

My Portion

I know not what a day may bring;
For now ’tis Sorrow that I sing,
   And now ’tis Joy.
In both a Father’s hand I see;
For one renews the Man in me,
   And one the Boy.

John B. Tabb



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“Faith”: Later Lyrics, p. 100, Poetry, p. 222. August 1895. Cloistered: enclosed or sequestered; a cloister is a place of religious seclusion, especially a convent or monastery, or some enclosed area in either.

“Influence”: Later Lyrics, p. 62; Poetry, p. 328. November 1897.

“All in All”: Later Lyrics, p. 106; Poetry, p. 221. December 1897.

“Bartimeus to the Bird”: Later Lyrics, p. 89; Poetry, p. 42. November 1898. Bartimeus: Greek, son of Timeus; timeus means perfect, admirable, honorable; it is the name of the blind beggar in the Gospel story related in Mark 10:46-52.

“My Portion”: Later Poems, p. 34; Poetry, p. 146. September 1909. This is one of Father Tabb’s last poems.

A convert to the Catholic faith, Rev. John Banister Tabb (1845-1909) was a priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, and Professor of English at St. Charles’ College, Ellicott City, Maryland. Poems selected, arranged, and annotated by E.L. Core.
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