Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | May 21, 2010

The Sowers.

IN the morning sow thy seed, now stay thy hand at even-
        ing hour,
Never asking which shall prosper–both may yield thee
        fruit and flower;
Thou shalt reap of that thou sowest; though thy grain be
        small and bare,
God shall clothe it as He pleases, for the harvest full and
Though it sink in turbid waters, hidden from thy yearning
It shall spring in strength and beauty, ripening in celestial
Ever springing, ever ripening;–not alone in earthly soil,
Not alone among the shadows, where the weary workers
Gracious first-fruits there may meet thee of the reaping-
        time begun;
But upon the Hill of Zion, ‘neath the Uncreated Sun,
First the fulness of the blessing shall the faithful labourer
Gathering fruit to life eternal, harvest of Eternity.

Let us watch awhile the sowers, let us mark their tiny
Scattered oft in doubt and trembling, sown in weakness or
        in pain;
Then let Faith, with radiant finger, lift the veil from un-
        seen things.
Where the golden sheaves are bending and the harvest
        anthem rings.

     ‘Such as I have I sow, it is not much,’
        Said one who loved the Master of the field;
     ‘Only a quiet word, a gentle touch
        Upon the hidden harp-strings, which may yield
     No quick response; I tremble, yet I speak
     For Him who knows the heart, so loving, yet so weak.’

     And so the words were spoken, soft and low,
        Or traced with timid pen; yet oft they fell
     On soil prepared, which she would never know
         Until the tender blade sprang up, to tell
     That not in vain, her labour had been spent;
     Then with new faith and hope more bravely on she went.

     ‘I had much need to sow,’ said one; ‘I planned
        To fill broad furrows, and to watch it spring
     And water it with care.  But now the hand
        Of Him to whom I sought great sheaves to bring,
     Is laid upon His labourer, and I wait,
     Weak, helpless, useless, at His palace gate.

     Now I have nothing, only day by day
        Grace to sustain me till the day is done;
     And some sweet passing glimpses by the way
        Of Him, the Altogether Lovely One;
     And some strange things to learn, unlearnt before,
     That make the suffering light, if it but teach me more.

     Yet, from the hush of that secluded room,
        Forth floated wing’ed seeds of thought and prayer;
     These, reaching many a desert place to bloom,
        And pleasant fruit an hundred-fold to bear;
     Those, wafted heavenward with song and sigh,
     To fall again with showers of blessing from on high.

     ‘What can I sow?’ thought one, to whom God gave
        Sweet notes and skilful fingers.  ‘Can my song
     Be cast upon the waters, as they lave
        My feet with grateful echo, soft and long,
     Or break in sunny spray of fair applaud?
     Shall this be found one day as fruit to Thee, my God?’

     He sang, and all were hushed.  Oh, sweeter fall
        The notes that pour from fervant fount of love,
     Than studied flow of sweetest madrigal!
        He sang of One who listened from above,
     He cast the song at His belov’ed feet;–
     Some said ‘How strange!’  And others felt, ‘How

     Another stood, with basket stored indeed,
        And powerful hand both full and faithful found,
     And cast God’s own imperishable seed
        Upon the darkly heaving waste around:
     Yet oft in weariness, and oft in woe,
     Did that good sower store, and then go forth to sow. 

     The tide of human hearts still ebbed and flowed,
        Less like the fruitful flood than barren sea;
     He saw not where it fell, and yet he sowed:
        ‘Not void shall it return,’  said God, ‘to Me!’
     The precious seed, so swiftly borne away,
     A singing reaper’s hand shall fill with sheaves one day.

     Another watched the sowers longingly,
        ‘I cannot sow such seed as they,’ he said;
     ‘No shining grain of thought is given to me,
        No fiery words of power bravely sped:
     Will others give me of their bounteous store?
     My hand may scatter that, if I can do no more.’

     So by the wayside he went forth to sow
        The silent seeds, each wrapped in fruitful prayer,
     With glad humility; content to know
        The volume lent, the leaflet culled with care,
     The message placed in stranger hands, were all
     Beneath His guiding eye who notes the sparrow’s fall.


     An opening blossom, bright with early dew,
        Whose rosy lips had touched the Living Spring
     Before the thirst of earth was felt; who knew
        The children’s Saviour, and the children’s King,
     Said, “What can I sow, mother?’  ‘Darling boy,
     Show all how glad He makes you; scatter love and joy!’

     That sparkling seed he took in his small hand,
        And dropped it tenderly beside the flow
     Of sorrows that he could not understand,
        And cast it lovingly upon the snow
     That shrouded aged hearts, and joyously
     Upon the dancing waves of playmates’ thoughtless glee. 

     ‘What seed have I to sow?’ said one.  ‘I lie
        in stilled and darkened chamber, lone and low;
     The silent days and silent nights pass by
        In monotone of dimness.  Could I throw
     Into the nearest furrow one small seed,
     It would be life again, a bless’ed life indeed!’

     And so she lay through lingering month and year,
        No word for Him to speak, no work to do;
     Only to suffer and be still, and hear
        That yet the Golden Gate was not in view;
     While hands of love and skill, this charge to keep,
     Must leave the whitening plain, where others now would reap.


Such the sowing; what the reaping?  Many a full and
        precious ear
Waved and ripened, fair and early, for the patient sowers
Not without some gracious witness of God’s faithfulness
        and love
Toiled they, waiting for the coming of the harvest-home
Word, and prayer, and song, and leaflet, found, though
        after many days,
Quickening energy and courage, brightening  hope and
        wakening praise.  

Frances Ridley Havergal from THE POETICAL WORKS



  1. Love this! Added you to my devo link list on


  2. I was seeking some poetry from Miss Havergal as a gift for another and just stumbled upon your site. Yet, what an encouragement these verses are to me. I feel blessed. Thank you.

    • Larry: I haven’t had much time this summer to work on this blog but it is very iimportant to me. This poem is very special and few would recognize the truth and value of it. Try the United Kingdom version of and you will find some real treasures of F.R.H. Be sure the Poetical Works of Frances Ridley Havergal are from Nisbet publishers and you will have the best. . .I have a friend who is working on The Complete Works of Frances Ridley Havergal, soon to be published. If you will send me your address at, I will send you a review book of some of the works of F.R.H. God bless you, Larry. Sherry Goodwin

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