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.
Songs of Day and Night.
VI. The Cross
By Alexander B. Grosart (1835–1899)
Col. i. 20; ii. 14.

ONCE a thing of woe and shame,
  Lo! the Cross now towers sublime;
Gath’ring lustre to its name,
  In the onward march of TIME;
Rais’d ’twixt malefactors twain,        5
  “In the place call’d Calvary”;
Who may gauge the deep disdain,
  Of men’s vengeful mockery?
Thorns—but grapes upon them blush;
  Gall—yet sweeter far than honey;        10
Thirst—and “living waters” gush;
  Poor—but rich beyond all money;
Helpless all, in hands and feet,
  Yet saves one, the lion’s prey;
Terrible—but oh, how sweet!        15
  Darkness—and yet clearest Day.
Branded—and thrice glorious;
  Naked—yet the “white robe” weaves;
Conquerèd—and victorious;
  Weak—yet the vast world upheaves;        20
Dead—and yet source of all life;
  Woe—but symbol of all bliss;
Peace—and centre of all strife;
  Was e’er paradox like this?
Sin’s last trophy—and defeat;        25
  Wrath—and heart of Love reveals;
Law upheld—yet pardon meet;
  Justice, mercy, it unseals;
Man condemned—and yet acquitted;
  Fix’d—yet round it all revolves;        30
“Bitter tree”—where WHITE DOVE flitted;
  Mystery—and all mystery solves.
Cross of Christ! in thee I boast,
  Bearing high THE CRUCIFIED;
And my heart when anguish-tost,        35
  Finds peace only by Thy side;
Hold it up, ye men of God,
  Earth’s heart aches for your good news.
Tell it out at home, abroad,
  Bid, accept it or refuse.        40
Mighty conquests of the past,
  Shadow mightier to come;
The Lord’s promise standeth fast,
  Drawing countless myriads home;
Once a thing of woe and shame,        45
  Lo! the Cross now stands sublime;
Gath’ring lustre to its name,
  In the onward march of TIME.

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