Home  »  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century  »  Henry Septimus Sutton (1825–1901)

Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems. IV. A Preacher’s Soliloquy and Sermon

Henry Septimus Sutton (1825–1901)

The Soliloquy

WHAT wealth to earth our God hath given!

What growing increment for heaven!

Men, women, youth, and children small,

I thank the good God for you all!

Not always was it mine to give

Such high regard to all who live;

Time was, I know, when I could go

Along the streets and scarcely see

The presences my God did show

So lavishly to me.

Around my steps,—before, behind,—

They His creative power declared;

I only heeded them, to find

The easiest path, as on I fared.

And even the innocent little ones,

Of value high o’er stars and suns,—

Evangelists, by Heaven’s decree,

Commission’d truths to teach to me

That elsewise I had never known,—

They seem’d young foreigners to be,

They never seem’d mine own.

How could I be so dull and blind?

How dared I slight God’s humankind?

I know ye nothing care for me;—

Each to each deep mysteries,

We cannot guess what we may be

Except by what a glance can seize.

Perchance we never met before,

Meet now the first and final time,

Yet are ye mine, over and o’er,

That, haply, I may help you climb

To Jesus, up the mount divine.

Oh might such high success be minel

Fain would I couch your vision dim;

Fain would I lead you up to Him!

Nay, nay, I cannot yield up one—

No little child, no youth, no man;

I cannot say, Depart from me;

I cannot say, Begone, begone,

I have no part in thee.

No part? But how? Do I not love you?

Is not this title still more strong

Than if I’d bought you all with gold?—

Love strenuous flies, a spirit above you;

Try to escape, it will outfly you,

It will embrace, ay, and defy you

To break away its gentle hold.

Because God’s love is swift and strong,

Therefore ye all to me belong.

Why do I dare love all mankind?

’Tis not because each face, each form

Is comely, for it is not so;

Nor is it that each soul is warm

With any Godlike glow.

Yet there’s no one to whom’s not given

Some little lineament of heaven,

Some partial symbol, at the least, in sign

Of what should be, if it is not, within,

Reminding of the death of sin

And life of the Divine.

There was a time, full well I know,

When I had not yet seen you so;

Time was, when few seem’d fair;

But now, as through the streets I go,

There seems no face so shapeless, so

Forlorn, but that there’s something there

That, like the heavens, doth declare

The glory of the great All-fair;

And so mine own each one I call;

And so I dare to love you all.

Glory to God, who hath assign’d

To me this mixture with mankind!

Glory to God, that I am born

Into a world, whose palace-gates

So many royal ones adorn!

Heaven’s possible novitiates,

With self-subduing freedom free,

Princely ye are, each one, to me,

Each of secret kingly blood,

Though not inheritors as yet

Of all your own right royal things,

For it were folly to forget

That they alone are queens and kings

Who are the truly good.

Yet are ye angels in disguise,

Angels who have not found your wings;

I see more in ye than ye are

As yet, while earth so closely clings;

As through a cloud that hides the skies

Undoubting science hails a star

Not to be seen by other eyes,

Yet surely among things that are,

So the dense veil of your deformities

Love gives me power away to pull.

Alas! why will ye not from sin arise,

And be Christ’s beautiful?

The Sermon

Ho! every one that thirsts, draw nigh, draw nigh!

The drink I offer, Christ’s own words supply.

Ho! every one that thirsts not, thirst, I cry;

Why will ye still neglect to drink,—and die?

See, here are living wells; why will ye scorn?

Ye unborn, why refuse ye to be born?

I call you to repent, oh hear my call!

Doth my voice reach you, through the stiff cere-clothes

That do enshroud and wrap you up withal?

Doth my shout come, a whisper in your ears,

As sounds might, travell’d from far distant spheres,

Into the ravell’d windings of a cave?

O then turn down those cerements of the grave

From round about your ears;

Let my voice be as thunder, let it roll

Into each wakening soul;

Come forth, O Lazarus! when I say so

Deem me a way where through Christ’s mandates flow,

And let each buried one attend, and know

The stone is roll’d away; Christ calls to him below.

Come forth, O Lazarus! when I say so,

Let where it lists His Holy Spirit blow,

Until each Lazarus comes forth, and know

Christ only waits to say—Loose him, and let him go!

His voice delights to set all prisoners free;

His blood, His truth, makes all sin white as wool;

Oh hear! Oh wash you, cleanse you, and so be

Christ’s own, Christ’s beautiful!