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

“Whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service”

Edward Hayes Plumptre (1821–1891)


“SMITE, smite, and spare them not;

Let them decay and rot

There in the dungeon, where the mire is deep:

Curs’d be the lips that say

Our Law shall pass away,

And God’s eternal day

Shed the clear light of truth on blinded souls that sleep.

“Thou servest Israel’s Lord;

Take the sharp two-edged sword,

Let the earth drink the vile apostate’s blood;

He trusts an empty dream,

His lips our Book blaspheme;

To him our customs seem

Things of the past, outworn, but dimly understood.

“We to that past adhere,

The onward path we fear,

We keep the faith for which our fathers bled;

We will not yield one jot,

Let zeal be fierce and hot,

Smite them, and spare them not,

Till they their faith deny, or lie among the dead.”

So spake they, Scribe and Priest,

From greatest to the least,

Yet strove in vain to check the march of Truth:

But onward still she moved,

Or hated or beloved,

To God and man approved,

Gathering her champions true, grey eld or bright-eyed youth.

And so in every age

The selfsame war we wage,

Our Master calls us thus to win His praise:

Our foes are active still,

And, as we mount the hill,

Their cries our senses thrill,

And oft the Spirit fails, and oft the footstep strays.

Fear not, O Scholar mine,

But on to Truth’s fair shrine,

They cannot stop thee, shall not turn thee back;

Be brave, but pity too,

They know not what they do,

Perchance thy prayer may woo

The nobler, purer souls to follow on thy track.

So is the victory won,

Ere sets thy spirit’s sun;

Dim eyes look out with martyr’s steadfast faith;

The promise shall not fail,

The truth shall yet prevail,

Our souls her triumph hail,

Love casting out all fear and life o’erpowering death.