W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.
When He beheld the CityEdward Hayes Plumptre (18211891)
Which leads from Jordan up to Olivet;
And they who earlier dreams could not forget
Were flushed with eager hope.
The marble temple in the sunset gleamed,
And golden light upon its turrets streamed,
As on the stainless snow.
But He, the King, looks on as one in grief;
To heart o’erburdened weeping brings relief
The unbidden tear-drops start:
In this thy day the things that make for peace;”
Alas! no strivings now can work release,
The night is closing now.
Thy temple-courts and palaces of pride,
Thy pleasant pictures and thy markets wide,
Is written now “Too late.”
The waking up to life of higher mood,
The knowledge of the only Wise and Good,
Within thy portals seen;
The last faint light by blackening clouds is hid;
Thy heaped-up sins each hope of grace forbid,
The sky is all o’ercast;
Will burst the storm that lays thee low in dust,
Till shrine and palace, homes of hate and lust,
Are wrapt in fiery shroud.
He looks on Churches, Nations, and he grieves,
When each its own true path of wisdom leaves,
To work completest ill.
Church of the Basils, Clement, Athanase,
How art thou fallen, holiest turned to base,
The greatest to the least!
From endless wranglings of a wisdom vain,
And so the sword of Islam smote in twain
Thy glory and thy pride.
Throned in the West, the Seven proud hills thy home,
Heir of the might of old imperial Rome,
What end for thee is seen?
The call to turn from darkness to the light,
From fraud and force, false creed and idol rite,
To Truth’s keen searching ray.
What made for life, and purity, and peace,
And now each year the guilt and gloom increase,
Sure presage of great woe.
Thou fain would’st queen it o’er the nations round,
And now they bring thy Babel to the ground,
And thou in dust art laid.
Church of our fathers, wilt thou close thine eyes,
Turn from the light, refusing to be wise,
Till sleep of death is Thine?
Distrust of all the progress of the years,
Vain clinging to the past, and groundless fears,
Is this thy final state?
Ere all thy foes shall hem thee round about;
False friends within, and tempest storms without,
All signs their warning give.
As they behold upon the sea of glass,
The mirrored forms of Earth’s great story pass,
Like shadows o’er the deep.
O’er barren strife, false zeal, and wasted strength:
Wilt thou not wake, arise, and claim at length,
The life that shall not fail?
Though thick the mist, and dark the future’s path,
And all around are signs of gathering wrath,
The light is with thee yet.
Bridge the broad gulf that widens every hour,
Face coming dangers, keep thy ancient dower,
Unite the new and old.