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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.


Gerard Moultrie (1829–1885)

“THERE are twelve hours in the day. If any man work in the daytime

Such an one stumbleth not, for he seeth the daylight around him:

If a man walk in the night, he stumbleth on in his blindness,

There is no light in him, and this is the cause that he stumbleth.

Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I must go to awake him.”

“Lord, if he sleep it is well: for hard is the path of the wayworn;

Stones and thorns lie around it, and wearily children of Adam

Turn from the labours of life with its care, with its toil, with its sorrow,

When the bright Angel of God takes post for the night by their pillow.”

“Lazarus sleepeth in death, and we must go and behold him.

I for your sakes am glad that I was not there when he slumbered,

Now will I stablish your faith.”

’Twas thus in mystical warning

Spake the Christ with his own as they gazed on the stream of the Jordan.

They understood him not as he stood on the verge of his Passion,

Waiting till death should weave the crown of thorns for his garland,

Crown which shall bud with the blossoms of life in the valley of Hades,

E’en in the realms of Death, when Death himself is defeated.

They understood him not. Full well the soul of the Saviour

Saw before him the shades of Gethsemane; saw the full chalice

Which he must drink alone, ere they could know that in Jesus

Death is the gate of life, the passage to joys immortal.

“Lazarus sleepeth. I go to awake him.” Child of the Virgin,

Speak to us thus? Ah, speak to us thus, when we too shall slumber

After the fever of life in the grave of peaceful awaiting.

“I am the Resurrection, and I am the Life for believers;

Whoso believeth in me, although he were dead, yet he liveth.

Death hath no more dominion o’er him that liveth in Jesus.”

Thus as the years roll on, the voice of the priest in the churchyard

Sweetly greets the departed who come to rest in its bosom,

Bosom pregnant with life—Seed land for the Lord of the harvest,

When he shall send his Angels to bear the sheaves to his garner.

“I am the Resurrection, and I am the Life for believers,”

Spake the sweet voice of the Christ, as he stood by the grave of the loved one.

He slept calm and still, and his soul was gone to the mansion

Where the departed await the trumpet call to the Judgment.

Silent and undisturbed he roamed through the ivory moonlight,

Bathing in light the dim meadows of Asphodel; far in the distance

Saw he the shadowy forms of the patriarch fathers of Hades,

Wearily waiting the summons of him who cometh in triumph,

Breaking the brazen gates and their bars of iron asunder.

Hark! ’tis the voice of the Master! He calleth thee! Soul of the sleeper,

Thee alone doth he call; Come forth! Come forth! Come forth! he commands thee;

“Lazarus, come thou forth!”
He feels the grave-clothes around him,

Swathing yet once more the form of his earthly corruption,

As his obedient spirit re-enters the clay of the body.

“Lazarus, come thou forth! thou must sup with me ere my Passion:

Life and Death must sit down together at Bethany. Think not

Thy life’s work complete, nor that death again can infold thee

Ere thou hast stood in the darkness beneath the cross of thy Saviour,

Guiding the souls of the recognized dead when the grave shall return them

Here to receive the blessing which quick and dead must inherit,

Under the outspread arms, the bleeding hands of Atonement.”