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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Theodore Watts-Dunton 1832–1914

John the Pilgrim


BENEATH the sand-storm John the Pilgrim prays;

But when he rises, lo! an Eden smiles,

Green leafy slopes, meadows of camomiles,

Clasp’d in a silvery river’s winding maze:

“Water, water! Blessed be God!” he says,

And totters gasping toward those happy isles.

Then all is fled! Over the sandy piles

The bald-ey’d vultures come and stand at gaze.

“God heard me not,” says he, “blessed be God,”

And dies. But as he nears the pearly strand,

Heav’n’s outer coast where waiting angels stand,

He looks below: “Farewell, thou hooded clod,

Brown corpse the vultures tear on bloody sand,

God heard my prayer for life—blessed be God!”