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

“They know not what They do”

Thomas Toke Lynch (1818–1871)


TO-DAY they “know not what they do;”

To-morrow, when they see

Their deed, how cruel, must they rue

Wrong done half-wittingly?

When trembling they for mercy sue,

Wilt Thou severely say,

“Your hands in blood ye did imbrue;

Die, then:” and turn away?

No, that be far from Thee, to break

These penitents so bruised,

Whose hearts for that wild error ache,

They did with minds confused:

Their sin, that made the dull earth shake,

The speechless heavens grow black,

Thy Mercy quite away can take,

When Love comes conqueror back,—

Love, stronger than the grave and hell,

Than fire and frozen death,—

To be Life’s cool, eternal well,

Life’s mild, eternal breath.

Sweet sap within the Cross shall swell,

Green branches round it twine,

That heavenly fruits to earth may tell

This sorrow was divine.