W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.
When I Come again I Will Repay TheeEdward Hayes Plumptre (18211891)
Journeying through Jordan’s plain,
And question what had chancéd since he left?
What found he? Was his name
Raised high in praise and fame,
Or was he of that meed of loving heart bereft?
As strength returned, began
To murmur loud so little had been done:
“He might as well have died
On that accurs’d hill-side,
As linger on thus poor, life’s battle lost, not won.”
He fain had all concealed
The goodness of that friend of alien race;
“Was it not bitter shame
That he should bear the blame
Of kindly gifts received from one without God’s grace?”
Thought he how best to win
His petty profit from the stranger’s pay,
Afraid of spending more,
Lest, when his task was o’er,
Toil, care and silver coin might all be cast away?
Did they alike forget
All but the stranger’s hated race and creed?
“Perchance the man had made
Some ill gains in his trade,
And sought to stay God’s wrath with love’s unbidden deed.”
Once more that heartless priest
Through Jordan’s valley went with busier feet,
Did host and guest unite
To welcome with delight
And hasten to the gate great Aaron’s son to greet?
To guess the tale untold,
New stories weave in parable or life,
Vary the chosen plan,
Complete what Christ began,
And find the whole with new and wondrous meaning rife.
Good friends, for me and you,
Are not we thankless, heartless, like the rest?
We, stript and wounded lay,
And One passed by that way,
And bound our wounds and healed, in blessing doubly blest.
That power to save and bless,
Or are we silent in the face of foes?
Do we too half complain
So much was done in vain,
And fearing shame or scorn sink back to our repose?
The best gifts under Heaven,
To heal the sick, and care for wounded hearts,
Do we take pains to save
Just half of what He gave,
Stinting the wine and oil which heal the sore that smarts.
Our murmurs poor and weak,
Against His Truth and Majesty and Love,
Whispering our words of scorn,
As of a creed outworn,
And saying in our hearts, “He hears, let Him reprove”?
He comes, and will repay
Love with much love, but scorn with anger just,
Crown of true life and light
For those who love the right,
But judgment sore for those who meet Him with distrust.