Home  »  The Poets’ Bible  »  St. John the Baptist Beheaded in Prison (II.)

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

St. John the Baptist Beheaded in Prison (II.)

From the Parisian Breviary

Translated by Isaac Williams

NOR shall the Prophet ’scape unharm’d;

The adultress, stung with guilt, with fury arm’d,

Fires the fierce king: ever allied

Murder and lust shall ravin side by side.

Alas, where guilty passion reigns!

Innocent hands are given to felon chains,

But that free voice which truth commands

Cannot be held with chains, nor feel the prison bands.

E’en in the dungeon’s silent gloom

He has a herald voice as from the tomb;

And bids his orphan children go

That they the Lord of life by proof may know.

The axe of death prepared to meet,

The prisoner triumphs in his dungeon seat:

The tyrant trembles, conscious sin

Keeps watch with silent scourge, and sleepless eye within.

O Lord, our hearts and hands we raise,

A sacrifice to Thee of endless praise,

Who dwellest in the infinite

Of unapproachable and blessèd light;

Where the Seraphic hosts do cry,

Holy, holy, holy, God Almighty;—

The Father, Spirit, and the Son,

The inconceivèd Three, the unutterable One.