W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.
St. StephenJohn Keble (17921866)
Stream upward ere he glow in sight,
And watching by his future flight
Set the clear heavens on fire;
So on the King of Martyrs wait
Three chosen bands, in royal state,
And all earth owns, of good and great,
Is gather’d in that choir.
One calmly yields his willing breath,
Nor slow, nor hurrying, but in faith
Content to die or live:
And some, the darlings of their Lord,
Play smiling with the flame and sword,
And, ere they speak, to His sure word
Unconscious witness give.
By perfect robes of triumph known,
And likest Him in look and tone,
The holy Stephen kneels,
With stedfast gaze, as when the sky
Flew open to his fainting eye,
Which, like a fading lamp, flash’d high,
Seeing what death conceals.
Was present to his raptur’d sight,
Even as reflected streams of light
Their solar source betray—
The glory which our God surrounds,
The Son of Man, th’ atoning wounds—
He sees them all—and earth’s dull bounds
Are melting fast away.
Could stamp the Saviour’s likeness true,
Or with His love so deep imbrue
Man’s sullen heart and gross.
“Jesu, do Thou my soul receive:
Jesu, do Thou my foes forgive:”
He who would learn that prayer, must live
Under the holy Cross.
Must glide in air like gentle dove,
From yon unclouded depths above
Must draw his purer breath;
Till men behold his angel face
All radiant with celestial grace,
Martyr all o’er, and meet to trace
The lines of Jesus’ death.