Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
Van Elsen
By Frederick George Scott (1861–1944)
 
GOD spake three times and saved Van Elsen’s soul;
He spake by sickness first and made him whole;
      Van Elsen heard Him not,
      Or soon forgot.
 
God spake to him by wealth; the world outpoured        5
Its treasures at his feet, and called him Lord;
      Van Elsen’s heart grew fat
      And proud thereat.
 
God spake the third time when the great world smiled,
And in the sunshine slew his little child;        10
      Van Elsen like a tree
      Fell hopelessly.
 
Then in the darkness came a voice which said,
‘As thy heart bleedeth, so my heart hath bled,
      As I have need of thee,        15
      Thou needest me.’
 
That night Van Elsen kissed the baby feet,
And kneeling by the narrow winding sheet,
      Praised Him with fervent breath
      Who conquered death.        20
 
 
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