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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

“Fared Sumptuously Every Day”

Edward Hayes Plumptre (1821–1891)

O CLOTHED in purple, flushed with wine,

Keen-eyed for beauty, skilled in art,

That only lack the sense divine,

The beatings of a human heart,

Draw near and list the strange and wondrous tale,

The hidden things of death that lie behind the veil.

Ye watch the sparkling wine-beads float

In crystal cup, with languid eyes,

Each shade of savour duly note,

As painter marks a sunset’s skies,

Praise the wrought bronze, and smiling Hebe’s bust,

Where sculptor’s cunning hands meet the eye’s wandering lust.

Art’s treasures, gems and gold, ye heap,

Toils of far lands, and distant time

On couch of softest down ye sleep,

And list to poet’s strains sublime,

Ye carve the cedar column, gild the floor,

And Lazarus, clothed in rags, lies starving at your door.

Ye have your joy, while life is fresh,

Ye pamper eye and ear and taste,

Meet every wish of world and flesh,

And heedless live in wanton waste;

Your revel mirth still waxes more and more,

Yet Lazarus, worn and pale, lies starving at your door.

So is it now, but soon or late,

There comes the chill of darkness born;

Your house is left you desolate,

Ye linger in an age outworn,

And no faint pulses of a former sense

Can soothe the gnawing pain of weariness intense.

Then shall ye ask, but all in vain,

For strength to catch the fleeting hours;

Ah, who will give you once again

Life’s glowing dawn, its opening flowers?

Renew in age when every leaf is sere,

The brightness of your youth, the springtide of the year?

And oh, if this be presage true,

Of that which lies beyond the tomb,

If there no breadth of sky is blue,

But darkness all and deepening gloom;

If Dives lifts in pain his weary eyes,

And Lazarus rests at last in groves of Paradise,

Oh learn ye, learn; be wise in time,

Set heart and soul on things above,

See glory in the strife with crime,

See beauty in each act of love;

Above all charm of art and man’s device,

Set ye the smile of God, the bliss beyond all price.

For those whose hearts are tuned aright,

God’s world will ope its treasures rare,

New glories when the dawn is bright,

New wonders in each floweret fair;

Seek beauty only and ye fail to find;

Seek good, and beauty floats to eye and ear and mind.

Full soon the laugh of revel mirth

Dies out; the blazing thorns grow cold;

The heirs of Heaven are heirs of earth,

They taste the joy that grows not old;

E’en with the world’s false mammon make they friends,

And in the tents abide whose glory never ends.