Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VI. Human Experience
Saint Christopher
Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826–1887)
        “CARRY me across!”
The Syrian heard, rose up, and braced
His huge limbs to the accustomed toil:
“My child, see how the waters boil?
The night-black heavens look angry-faced;        5
        But life is little loss.
        “I ’ll carry thee with joy,
If needs be, safe as nestling dove:
For o’er this stream I pilgrims bring
In service to one Christ, a King        10
Whom I have never seen, yet love.”
        “I thank thee,” said the boy.
        Cheerful, Arprobus took
The burden on his shoulders great,
And stepped into the waves once more;        15
When lo! they leaping rise and roar,
And ’neath the little child’s light weight
        The tottering giant shook.
        “Who art thou?” cried he wild,
Struggling in middle of the ford:        20
“Boy as thou look’st, it seems to me
The whole world’s load I bear in thee,
Yet—” “For the sake of Christ, thy Lord,
        Carry me,” said the child.
        No more Arprobus swerved,        25
But gained the farther bank, and then
A voice cried, “Hence Christopheros be!
For carrying thou hast carried Me,
The King of angels and of men,
        The Master thou hast served.”        30
        And in the moonlight blue
The saint saw,—not the wandering boy,
But him who walked upon the sea
And o’er the plains of Galilee,
Till, filled with mystic, awful joy,        35
        His dear Lord Christ he knew.
        Oh, little is all loss,
And brief the space ’twixt shore and shore,
If thou, Lord Jesus, on us lay,
Through the deep waters of our way,        40
The burden that Christopheros bore,—
        To carry thee across.

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