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

“When I Come again I Will Repay Thee”

Edward Hayes Plumptre (1821–1891)

AND did he come again,

Journeying through Jordan’s plain,

And question what had chancéd since he left?

What found he? Was his name

Raised high in praise and fame,

Or was he of that meed of loving heart bereft?

Perchance the wounded man,

As strength returned, began

To murmur loud so little had been done:

“He might as well have died

On that accurs’d hill-side,

As linger on thus poor, life’s battle lost, not won.”

Ere yet the wounds were healed,

He fain had all concealed

The goodness of that friend of alien race;

“Was it not bitter shame

That he should bear the blame

Of kindly gifts received from one without God’s grace?”

And he who kept the inn,

Thought he how best to win

His petty profit from the stranger’s pay,

Afraid of spending more,

Lest, when his task was o’er,

Toil, care and silver coin might all be cast away?

When host and guest were met,

Did they alike forget

All but the stranger’s hated race and creed?

“Perchance the man had made

Some ill gains in his trade,

And sought to stay God’s wrath with love’s unbidden deed.”

And when, at Paschal feast,

Once more that heartless priest

Through Jordan’s valley went with busier feet,

Did host and guest unite

To welcome with delight

And hasten to the gate great Aaron’s son to greet?

Seems it then overbold

To guess the tale untold,

New stories weave in parable or life,

Vary the chosen plan,

Complete what Christ began,

And find the whole with new and wondrous meaning rife.

Is not that story true,

Good friends, for me and you,

Are not we thankless, heartless, like the rest?

We, stript and wounded lay,

And One passed by that way,

And bound our wounds and healed, in blessing doubly blest.

And dare we now confess

That power to save and bless,

Or are we silent in the face of foes?

Do we too half complain

So much was done in vain,

And fearing shame or scorn sink back to our repose?

We, to whom Christ has given

The best gifts under Heaven,

To heal the sick, and care for wounded hearts,

Do we take pains to save

Just half of what He gave,

Stinting the wine and oil which heal the sore that smarts.

Do we in secret speak

Our murmurs poor and weak,

Against His Truth and Majesty and Love,

Whispering our words of scorn,

As of a creed outworn,

And saying in our hearts, “He hears, let Him reprove”?

Ah, friends, be sure one day

He comes, and will repay

Love with much love, but scorn with anger just,

Crown of true life and light

For those who love the right,

But judgment sore for those who meet Him with distrust.