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.
 
It Is the Lord!
Charles Edward Mudie (1818–1890)
 
MORN breaketh;—O’er the Sea of Galilee
  The light is still uncertain. On the shore
There standeth One who looketh patiently
  Towards a group of fishers bending o’er
  Their empty net. They drop that net once more        5
Into the sea. Spending the night in toil,
  They have caught nothing … they who heretofore
Never cast net in vain. With patient moil
They spread their net once more, and yet they take no spoil.
 
They do not heed the Stranger on the coast        10
  Watching their fruitless labour.—Ah, how nigh
The Lord may be to those who love Him most,
  And they not know Him! Sorrow dims the eye,
  And dulls the ear, and clouds each faculty
Of holy observation; even though        15
  His well-known voice is heard, it passeth by
Unrecognised. A solitary “No”
Is all their sad response. O dull of heart and slow!
 
O doubly dull and slow of heart! He spake
  A promise to be with them when they met        20
Again, beside the Galilean Lake,
  Or anywhere; and now they are beset
  With doubt and care and grief! Their eyes are wet
With faithless tears! They do not know the Lord;—
  But still at His command they drop their net        25
Once more into the deep, when lo! ’tis stored
With a great shoal of fish at His prevailing word.
 
O mighty Word! No sooner is it spoken,
  Than the deep sea its silver treasure brings;
And marvel more,—each mesh is still unbroken,        30
  Through all the net, down to its slenderest strings!
  Each eager fisher marvels while he clings
To his huge living burthen, “Who is He
  Who speaks one word, and lo! these wondrous things
Are wrought; our empty net is filled, and we        35
Long-wearied watchers, win this treasure from the sea?”
 
Of Power Divine, of Love most manifest,
  Can earth or heaven one clearer sign afford?
So shall he see Him first who loves Him best;
  And John be first to cry, “It is the Lord!”        40
  John sees with love’s keen eyes; his sweet reward
Is to see clearly. Peter’s is to feel
  Joy in quick action;—so, without a word,
He leaps into the waters.—Ere the keel
Touches the shore, he at the Master’s feet doth kneel.        45
 
Love sees, Zeal hastens; but with love as true
  And zeal as fervent, all with joy behold
Their gracious Saviour, and will hasten too
  To kiss His feet;—and yet not lose their hold
  Of all that their great net doth now enfold        50
Of Christ-given treasure. Not till on the shore
  Their freight is landed and its number told,
Will they leave working.—They will praise Him more
When they have made true record of that wondrous store!
 
So loving eyes may see the Saviour’s face        55
  Sooner than others, Blessed are those eyes!
And zealous feet run quick to His embrace,
  O blessed feet to win so rich a prize!—
  But while we these commend, they too are wise
Who ply the labouring oar, or hold the net,        60
  Or count their converts with a glad surprise;
For all were needed, and are needed yet,
And all from His dear lips sweet commendation get.
 
O Church to-day! If, in that morn’s grey light,
  Those dim-eyed fishers recognised the Lord,        65
What shall we say, who, with still clearer sight,
  Behold His glory,—as with conquering word
  He brings, not fish but nations, to be stored
Within His mighty net? What can we say
  But “Lord, ’tis Thou!” Be evermore adored        70
Whether we look, or run, or work, or play,
  “It is the Lord!—Command us Saviour, every way!”
 
 
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