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

By III. “The sage his cup of hemlock quaffed”

William Johnson Fox (1786–1864)

THE SAGE his cup of hemlock quaffed,

And calmly drained the fatal draught:

Such pledge did Grecian justice give

To one who taught them how to live.

The Christ, in piety assured,

The anguish of His cross endured:

Such pangs did Jewish bigots try

On Him who taught us how to die.

’Mid prison-walls, the sage could trust

That men would grow more wise and just;

From Calvary’s mount the Christ could see

The dawn of immortality.

Who know to live, and know to die,

Their souls are safe, their triumph nigh:

Power may oppress and priestcraft ban;

Justice and faith are God in man.