James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

June 24

Saint John the Baptist

By William Drummond (1585–1649)

June 24, St. John’s Day

THE LAST and greatest Herald of Heaven’s King,

Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,

Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,

Which he more harmless found than man, and mild.

His food was locusts, and what there doth spring,

With honey that from virgin hives distilled;

Parched body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing

Made him appear, long since from earth exiled.

There burst he forth; All ye whose hopes rely

On God, with me amid these deserts mourn,

Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!

—Who listened to his voice, obeyed his cry?

Only the echoes, which he made relent,

Rung from their flinty caves, Repent! Repent!