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

The Lost Piece

Edward Hayes Plumptre (1821–1891)

“I have found the piece which I had lost.”—LUKE XV. 9.

ONE missing from the hoard!

The nine bright shekels gleaming in the chest!

Ah, can it be restored?

Will eyes know slumber or the eyelids rest,

Till it be found again,

And all the savings of each lonely hour,

Fruit of much toil and pain,

Be hidden in the vault below the tower?

With earthen lamp in hand,

She looks through chinks and crannies of the house,

The floor well strewn with sand,

The pathways of the spider and the mouse.

She fails, and fain would weep;

It is not in the vaulted upper room;

And yet she still must sweep;

Perchance it lies within the court-yard’s gloom.

At last a sudden gleam,

A chink of metal on the sanded floor;

It is not then a dream,

She grasps the long-lost wanderer from her store.

More joy in finding that

Than when she earned the nine and laid them by,

Beneath the woven mat,

Or where the stalks of flax and barley lie.

Then hastes she to the well,

Where at the sunset maids and matrons meet;

Her joy she needs must tell,

To every friend that treads the village street.

With eager, trembling voice

She bids them track each step of all her round:

“Come, come, with me rejoice;

The palm-stamped skekel that was lost is found.”

Ah, Mother mine, Christ’s Church,

Dost thou not hear the lesson meant for thee,

Wilt thou not seek and search?

Why sitt’st thou idly as the moments flee?

Rise, sweep thou till thou find,

Find the true coin that came from God’s own mint,

Bearing on sense and mind,

His image and the legend’s clear imprint.

God’s great and wondrous Name

That lost soul hears, and wilt thou calmly wait,

In coward sloth and tame,

Delay thy searching till ’tis all too late?

Too soon the outline clear

Is waned and worn, the legend half effaced,

And, fainter year by year,

At last the primal likeness scarce is traced.

Ah, sweep the chambers well,

Lest the lost coin should drop thro’ gaping floor,

And lying where it fell,

Rest in the deep thick darkness evermore.

Rise, seek and thou shalt find:

The man retains some likeness to the boy.

Hope still remains behind,

And o’er thy treasure-trove the hearts of Angels joy.