W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.
St. PeterJohn Keble (17921866)
Watch by thine own forgiven friend;
In sharpest perils faithful prov’d,
Let his soul love thee to the end.
His slumber on the eve of death?
And wherefore smiles he in his sleep
As one who drew celestial breath?
Can his soul choose but be at rest?
Sorrow hath fled away, and pain
Dares not invade the guarded nest.
For his wing’d thoughts are soaring high
Where never yet frail heart was known
To breathe in vain affection’s sigh.
Have seal’d Thy welcome and his love—
One look lives in him, and endears
Crosses and wrongs where’er he rove:
To win him to himself and Thee,
Sweetening the sorrow of his fall,
Which else were rued too bitterly.
The memory of that kindly glance;—
The Angel watching by divines
And spares awhile his blissful trance.
His vision wafts him back, to talk
With Jesus, ere his flight he take,
As in that solemn evening walk,
The Shepherd, He whose name is Good,
Did His dear lambs and sheep commend,
Both bought and nourished with His blood.
Which, firm embrac’d with heart and arm,
Might cast o’er hope and memory,
O’er life and death, its awful charm.
His passport through th’ eternal gates,
To his sweet home—so nearly won,
He seems, as by the door he waits,
Of angel song and angel motion,
Rising and falling on the ear
Like waves in Joy’s unbounded ocean.—
Calls to that last of glorious deeds;
But as he rises to rejoice,
Not Herod but an Angel leads.
Glancing around his prison room—
But ’tis a gleam of heavenly light
That fills up all the ample gloom.
Deep through the chambers of the dead
Shall pierce, and dry the fount of tears,
Is waving o’er his dungeon bed.
Through darksome vault, up massy stair,
His dizzy, doubting footsteps wind
To freedom and cool moonlight air.
Though for awhile his hand forego,
Just as it touch’d the martyr’s palm,
He turns him to his task below;
To wield awhile in grey-hair’d might,
Then from his cross to spring forgiven,
And follow Jesus out of sight.