Verse > Anthologies > W. Garrett Horder, ed. > The Poets’ Bible: New Testament
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W. Garrett Horder, comp.  The Poets’ Bible: New Testament.  1895.
 
Besought to depart
John Keble (1792–1866)
 
‘When they saw Him, they besought Him to depart out of their coasts.’—MATT. VIII. 34.

      THEY know th’ Almighty’s power,
  Who, waken’d by the rushing midnight shower,
      Watch for the fitful breeze
  To howl and chafe amid the bending trees,
      Watch for the still white gleam        5
  To bathe the landscape in a fiery stream,
  Touching the tremulous eye with sense of light
Too rapid and too pure for all but Angel sight.
 
      They know th’ Almighty’s love,
  Who, when the whirlwinds rock the topmost grove,        10
      Stand in the shade, and hear
  The tumult with a deep exulting fear,
      How, in their fiercest sway,
  Curb’d by some power unseen, they die away,
  Like a bold steed that owns his rider’s arm,        15
Proud to be check’d and sooth’d by that o’er-mastering charm.
 
      But there are storms within
  That heave the struggling heart with wilder din,
      And there is power and love
  The maniac’s rushing frenzy to reprove,        20
      And when he takes his seat,
  Cloth’d and in calmness, at his Saviour’s feet, 1
  Is not the power as strange, the love as blest,
As when He said, ‘Be still,’ and ocean sank to rest?
 
      Woe to the wayward heart,        25
  That gladlier turns to eye the shuddering start
      Of Passion in her might,
  Than marks the silent growth of grace and light;—
      Pleas’d in the cheerless tomb
  To linger, while the morning rays illume        30
  Green lake, and cedar tuft, and spicy glade,
Shaking their dewy tresses now the storm is laid.
 
      The storm is laid—and now
  In His meek power He climbs the mountain’s brow,
      Who bade the waves go sleep,        35
  And lash’d the vex’d fiends to their yawning deep.
      How on a rock they stand,
  Who watch His eye, and hold His guiding hand!
  Not half so fix’d, amid her vassal hills,
Rises the holy pile that Kedron’s valley fills.        40
 
      And wilt thou seek again
  Thy howling waste, thy charnel-house and chain,
      And with the demons be,
  Rather than clasp thine own Deliverer’s knee?
      Sure ’tis no heav’n-bred awe        45
  That bids thee from His healing touch withdraw;
  The world and He are struggling in thine heart,
And in thy reckless mood thou bidd’st thy Lord depart.
 
      He, merciful and mild,
  As erst, beholding, loves His wayward child;        50
      When souls of highest birth
  Waste their impassion’d might on dreams of earth,
      He opens Nature’s book,
  And on His glorious Gospel bids them look,
  Till by such chords, as rule the choirs above,        55
Their lawless cries are tun’d to hymns of perfect love.
 
Note 1. Mark v. 15; iv. 39. [back]
 
 
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