Then laid on him th’ inverted tree,
Which firm embraced with heart and arm,
Might cast o’er hope and memory,
O’er life and death, its awful charm.
With brightening heart he bears it on,
His passport through this eternal gates,
To his sweet home—so nearly won,
He seems, as by the door he waits,
The unexpressive notes to hear
Of angel song and angel motion,
Rising and falling on the ear
Like waves in Joy’s unbounded ocean. —
His dream is changed—the Tyrant’s
Calls to that last of glorious deeds —
But as he rises to rejoice,
Not Herod but an Angel leads.
He dreams he sees a lamp flash bright,
Glancing around his prison room —
But ’tis a gleam of heavenly light
That fills up all the ample gloom.
The flame, that in a few short years
Deep through the chambers of the dead
Shall pierce, and dry the fount of tears,
Is waving o’er his dungeon-bed.
Touched he upstarts—his chains unbind —
Through darksome vault, up massy stair,
His dizzy, doubting footsteps wind
To freedom and cool moonlight air.
Then all himself, all joy and calm,
Though for a while his hand forego,
Just as it touched, the martyr’s palm,
He turns him to his task below;
The pastoral staff, the keys of Heaven,
To wield a while in grey-haired might,
Then from his cross to spring forgiven,
And follow Jesus out of sight.
ST. JAMES’S DAY
Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father. St. Matthew xx. 23.
Sit down and take thy fill of joy
At God’s right hand, a bidden guest,
Drink of the cup that cannot cloy,
Eat of the bread that cannot waste.
O great Apostle! rightly now
Thou readest all thy Saviour meant,
What time His grave yet gentle brow
In sweet reproof on thee was bent.
“Seek ye to sit enthroned by me?
Alas! ye know not what ye ask,
The first in shame and agony,
The lowest in the meanest task —
This can ye be? and came ye drink
The cup that I in tears must steep,
Nor from the ’whelming waters shrink
That o’er Me roll so dark and deep?”
“We can—Thine are we, dearest Lord,
In glory and in agony,
To do and suffer all Thy word;
Only be Thou for ever nigh.” —
“Then be it so—My cup receive,
And of My woes baptismal taste:
But for the crown, that angels weave
For those next Me in glory placed,
“I give it not by partial love;
But in My Father’s book are writ
What names on earth shall lowliest prove,
That they in Heaven may highest sit.”
Take up the lesson, O my heart;
Thou Lord of meekness, write it there,
Thine own meek self to me impart,
Thy lofty hope, thy lowly prayer.