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

The Ten Lepers

John Keble (1792–1866)

‘And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.’—LUKE XVII. 17, 18.

TEN cleans’d, and only one remain!

Who would have thought our nature’s stain

Was dyed so foul, so deep in grain?

Even He who reads the heart,—

Knows what He gave and what we lost,

Sin’s forfeit, and redemption’s cost,—

By a short pang of wonder cross’d

Seems at the sight to start:

Yet ’twas not wonder, but His love

Our wavering spirits would reprove,

That heaven-ward seem so free to move

When earth can yield no more:

Then from afar on God we cry;

But should the mist of woe roll by,

Not showers across an April sky

Drift when the storm is o’er,

Faster than those false drops and few

Fleet from the heart, a worthless dew.

What sadder scene can Angels view

Than self-deceiving tears,

Pour’d idly over some dark page

Of earlier life, through pride or rage

The record of to-day engage,

A woe for future years?

Spirits, that round the sick man’s bed

Watch’d, noting down each prayer he made,

Were your unerring roll display’d,

His pride of health to abase;

Or, when soft showers in season fall

Answering a famish’d nation’s call,

Should unseen fingers on the wall

Our vows forgotten trace;

How should we gaze in trance of fear!

Yet shines the light as thrilling clear

From heaven upon that scroll severe,

“Ten cleans’d and one remain!”

Nor surer would the blessing prove

Of humbled hearts that own Thy love,

Should choral welcome from above

Visit our senses plain:

Than by Thy placid voice and brow,

With healing first, with comfort now,

Turn’d upon him, who hastes to bow

Before Thee, heart and knee;

“O! thou, who only would’st be blest,

On thee alone My blessing rest!

Rise, go thy way in peace, possess’d

For evermore of Me.”