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

The Withered Fig-Tree

George Thomas Coster (1835–1912)

THE MASTER, welcome as the light,

Moved on his path of miracle;—

The lame man leaped, disease was well,

Day broke on orbs of life-long night;

The leper’s skin grew soft and clean;

The ruined brain was built afresh;

And in the spirit-vanished flesh

There stirred the life that once had been.

’Twas mercy in each mighty act

To dying bodies, anguished souls,

And that with sovereign word controls

To peace the sea by tempests racked.

Mercy! Yet see the fig-tree dead;

From deepest rootlet to the twig

That should have borne the highest fig

Quick-withered at the word He said.

He cursed that tree with death, and why?

He smote not cruel men and strong

Who smote Him with the hand and thong,

Nor looked a curse from withering eye.

I asked the blasted tree to give

The answer why, it seemed to say,

“His voice rebellious men could slay,

That bade me, fruitless, cease to live:

To show that He had power to kill

The men He came to save, and saves,

He smote them not into their graves,

But wrought in me His mortal will.”