W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.
Depart from MeEdward Hayes Plumptre (18211891)
In open sea or near the shore,
They cast their nets, yet still in vain;
They found but failure evermore.
And lay them on the beach to dry:
When lo! in hour of utmost need,
They heard the voice of Jesus nigh.
That once had made their cold hearts burn,
That told them of their home above,
And bade them to their Father turn.
So large the haul of fish they take,
The meshes gape, and scarce they know
If they shall land them ere they break.
As though the veil of sense were rent,
And they, frail men, were brought too near
The scope of some divine intent.
Should flash the lightning’s sudden blaze,
Or one who watch’d by dear friend’s tomb,
See spectral form through mist and haze.
Before whose keen and piercing sight
Lie bare the hearts of quick and dead,
The world’s great Teacher, Light of Light?
The cry bursts out, “Depart from me?”
Too bright that full apocalypse
For man’s sin-darkened eyes to see.
Oh, turn Thy steps some other way;
How shall I dare Thy gaze endure?
How in Thy stainless Presence stay?”
Our skill-less, planless labours bless,
And we, for weary labour’s pains,
Reap the full harvest of success;
The latent powers that bud and grow;
Ah, can we dare our work forsake,
And follow where He bids us go?
“Fishers of men ye now must be,
Where’er the world’s wide waters reach,
By gliding stream or stormiest sea.”
So only conquer shame and fear,
And welcome, from the eternal shore,
The voice that tells “our Lord is near.”