Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Amenophis and Other Poems (1892).
I. At Ephesus
By Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–1897)
                … Vidi un veglio solo
Venir dormendo con la faccia arguta.

            OF those that saw Him, when
            On common earth He trod
            The life of man with men,
            I only, only, breathe,
Who lean’d upon His breast, and knew that He was God.        5
            As some strange thing that lies
            Surviving all his kind,
            I, ’neath the radiant skies,
            Crawl baby-weak once more,
Stranded upon my hundred years of life, and blind.        10
            And as that beast could tell
            Of old incredible shapes
            That peopled lake and dell;
            Seas, where rocks climb the sky,
And azure ice-hills where the parch’d Sahara gapes:—        15
            So John can testify,
            Alone of living men,
            By seeing of the eye
            And hearing of the ear,
That very God as man breathed, died, and rose again.        20
            It was the time foreshown;
            Like a new sun o’er earth,—
            Beyond all wonders known
            Wonder most wonderful,—
The Well-Belovèd came, the Babe of heavenly birth.        25
            He did the deeds, He spoke
            The words past human wit:
            Then gently slipp’d the yoke
            Of flesh, and went to God;—
And we our treasure found, only when losing it.        30
            Yet, though the Word withdrew,
            The Paraclete remain’d;
            Christ’s nearness oft we knew;
            Enough to guide our life
From thought of how He spoke, and how He loved, we gain’d.        35
            And once, ’tis said, o’er one
            As though born out of time
            The glory-vision shone,
            Journeying Damascus-way;
Who lived in Christ, and died in some far westward clime.        40
            Of breathing witnesses
            Survives now none but I;
            Who heard the Master bless
            The bread and wine of life;
Saw Him and touch’d, betwixt the sepulchre and the sky.        45
            —But though the faith of Sight
            By natural law must fail,
            A heavenlier higher light
            Upon the soul will dawn;
The unseen outshine the seen; the faith of Faith prevail.        50
            The things of sense are much;
            But more the things of mind:
            What we but see or touch
            Less real, durable, true,
Than that invisible all-sustaining Life behind:        55
            As one of Athens taught
            In his own ethnic way,
            That all things here were nought
            But shadowy images
Of forms that in the eternal Wisdom living lay.        60
            When these dim eyes are closed,
            Children! Remember well
            The word that John imposed
            With his last lips on you,—
To walk henceforth by faith, and grasp the invisible.        65
            What if no more the Lord
            Before the last dread day
            Be seen, yet shall His word
            Its might and music keep;
Shall find fit echo in the heart of heart for aye.        70
            As, in due transit, by
            The milestone-years ye go,
            Though star-like fix’d on high
            The cross and He thereon
Down Time’s gray avenue further, fainter, show:—        75
            If then the Lord delays,
            O yet ye need not fear,
            Faint hearts of latter days!
            Time cannot touch the love
To which a thousand years but one brief hour appear.        80
            As age on age unrolls,
            If faith her light withdraw
            From present-bounded souls
            Who only dare believe
What they themselves have seen, or hold for Nature’s law;        85
            Or those who will not raise,
            E’en as they cry for light,
            Their heads o’er life’s hot haze,
            Nor care to see the stars,
Mute witnesses for God, nor dawning after night:—        90
            Yet oft in that dark hour
            When first the unseen is felt,
            The Word will come in power,
            The so-far-off draw nigh,
Christ’s living love the long doubt-frozen bosom melt.        95
            —O living Love, so near
            On earth, so near above,
            In Thy good time appear,
            Take all Thy children home,—
Who love, yet know Thee not;—who, faithful, bow, and love!        100
            —My little children true!
            Before these lips are dumb
            They leave this word for you,—
            Love one another! And
Again, Love one another!… Enough; He calls; I come.        105

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