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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

Saint John Baptist

William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585–1649)

THE LAST and greatest Herald of Heaven’s King

Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,

Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,

Which he than man more harmless found, and mild.

His food was locusts, and what there doth spring

With honey that from virgin hives distill’d;

Parch’d body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing

Made him appear, long since from earth exiled.

There burst he forth: ‘All ye whose hopes rely

On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn;

Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!’

—Who listen’d to his voice, obey’d his cry?

Only the echoes, which he made relent,

Rung from their flinty caves, ‘Repent! Repent!’