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

We Would See Jesus

Charles Laurence Ford (1830– )

ONCE, amid the wondrous story of those thirty years and three,

When the Godhead’s veiléd Glory shone through our humanity,

Burst a sunlight transitory o’er that sorrow-darkened sea.

’Twas within the holy city, briefest space ere He deceased,

In His world-atoning pity Paschal Sacrifice and Priest,

Chaunting psalm and solemn ditty came the people to the feast.

Branch of palm before Him flinging, marched the multitude along;

Little children with their singing joined the unpresumptuous throng,

Joyous jubilates ringing filled Jerusalem with song.

Then it was from those far islands, dear to story and to fame,

From the classic vales and highlands dowered with a deathless name,

Breaking, late, the world’s cold silence, strangers with their question came.

‘We would see Him—Him whose finger stills the storm upon the wave;

Him for whom the thousands linger health and benison to crave;

Him the glorious God-like bringer of corruption from the grave.’

Oh! then, for that bitter weeping o’er His own dear nation’s doom,

Came a smile of gladness creeping like a sunbeam on the gloom,

Like a radiant angel keeping vigil o’er a dreary tomb.

For beyond the darkening vision of that lordly temple’s fall,

Of the stern day of decision, and the Roman battle-call,

Rose a gleam of light elysian, of a day that dawned for all.

When from Sinim and from Thulé, from the islands of the sea,

With their sacrifices duly, with their gold and silver free,

Owning His allegiance truly, princes to his House should flee.

And His soul through myriad ages, through the travail of the years,

Solved the riddle of the sages, heard the music of the spheres,

In the glad advancing stages of a world that knows no tears.

He who, with His Sire coeval, looked on earth as first it stood,

Saw return the hours primeval, saw the universe renewed

By the taming of the evil, and the triumph of the good:

Earth’s great murmur hushed for ever; all the strife, and all the pain,

All the fruitless wild endeavour for unsatisfying gain,

Swallowed up in joy’s broad river, swelling to a boundless main.

But a shadow dark and fearful ere that light before Him lay,

Of an agony all tearful, and a dark untrodden way

With no friendly voices cheerful, brightened by no heavenly ray.

And His human soul was troubled, like the troubling of the deep,

When the gale with force redoubled lashes in a sudden sweep

Wisps of foam that danced and bubbled, to a wild and angry leap.

And, could the Unchanging waver, seemed it as the fiend had power,

Working aye in our disfavour, man’s bright hope to overlour;

Should He say, the world’s sole Saver, “Father, save Me from this hour?”

But, while listening angels wonder, weeping o’er earth’s sinful frame,

Though His Heart be rent asunder, stands God’s purpose without blame—

Hark! amid the answering thunder, “Father, glorify Thy Name.”

Be it so! who suffers for us, answer to His prayer be given!

By the universal chorus let the firmament be riven,

While the ages travel o’er us, glorified with Him in heaven.