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Bible Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Have You Found the Bible by Anonymous
  2. Christ's Words by Anonymous
  3. Now Barabbas Was a Robber by Adelaide Crapsey
  4. "Borne of Four." by Amos Russel Wells
  5. How to Read the Bible by Amos Russel Wells
  6. The Cup by Anonymous
  7. A Mother's Gift—The Bible by Anonymous
  8. My Mother's Bible by George P. Morris
  9. The Withered Hand—Whole by Anonymous
  10. Belshazzar had a letter by Emily Dickinson
  11. Belshazzar's Feast by Eloise Bibb
  12. The Alabaster Box by Hannah Flagg Gould
  13. The Stature of Zacchaeus by Anonymous
  14. Ruth by Thomas Hood
  15. "Of Them He Chose Twelve" by Anonymous
  16. The Crippled Beggar Speaks by Anonymous
  17. Blind Bartimeus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  18. Death of Sampson by John Milton
  19. The Garden of Gethsemane by Lucretia Maria Davidson
  20. Exit from Egyptian Bondage by Lucretia Maria Davidson
  21. The Wise Men from the East by Bliss Carman
  22. The Sending of the Magi by Bliss Carman
  23. Stilling the Waves by Lucretia Maria Davidson
  24. David and Goliath by Hannah Flagg Gould
  25. The Leaf by Hannah Flagg Gould
  26. Sisera: From Deborah's Song. Judges 5 by Hannah Flagg Gould
  27. The Burial of Moses by Cecil F. Alexander
  28. David's Lament for Absalom by N.P. Willis
  29. Holy Bible, Book Divine by John Burton
  30. Among the Rushes by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

  1. Have You Found the Bible

    by Anonymous

    Have you found the Bible
    That Josiah found?
    Have you delved for treasure
    In that holy ground?
    Have you proved its pledges
    Gloriously true?
    Have you found the Bible?
    Has the Book found you?

    Have you found the Bible
    Reaching to your heart
    Has it touched the fountain
    Where the teardrops start?
    Has it bathed your spirit
    In its cleansing dew?
    Have you found the Bible?
    Has the Book found you?

    Have you found the Bible
    Helping in your work?
    Does it give you courage
    Not to faint or shirk?
    Is it strength for all things
    You are set to do?
    Have you found the Bible?
    Has the Book found you?

    Have you found the Bible
    Ever giving light?
    Does it cheer the darkness
    Of the gloomy night?
    When the troubles thicken
    Does it pull you through?
    Have you found the Bible
    Has the Book found you?

  2. Christ's Words

    by Anonymous

    The words of Christ are fruitful seeds,
    Springing up in loving deeds.

    The words of Christ are lamps aglow,
    Showing travellers where to go.

    The words of Christ are shining goals,
    Beckoning courageous souls.

    The words of Jesus mountains are,
    From whose top we see afar.

    The words of Jesus are a fleet,
    Loaded with the finest wheat.

    The words of Jesus are a host,
    Conquering foes thut loudly boast.

    The Saviour's words are skilful guides,
    Leading up the mountain-sides.

    The Saviour's words are lashing cords,
    And flying darts and piercing swords.

    The Saviour's words are gentle rain,
    Freshening the arid plain.

    The words of Christ our life shall be,
    Here and through eternity.

  3. Now Barabbas Was a Robber

    by Adelaide Crapsey

    No guile?
    Nay, but so strangely
    He moves among us…Not this
    Man but Barabbas! Release to us
    Barabbas!

  4. "Borne of Four."

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The bearers are unsteady. Racked and worn
    With long disease, and clumsily upborne,
    What is my anguish with their stumbling feet
    And all the push aud clamor of the street!
    But any way, however rough it be.
    O good Physician, if I get to Thee!

    The crowd is great about Thee. How they press,
    Each in his own absorbing wretchedness,
    Unheeding me, the sick man borne of four,
    Halting despondent at the crowded door.
    But any way, however thronged it be,
    O good Physician, if I get to Thee!

    The outer stairway is a hill of pain,
    Torture of wasted form and beating brain,
    Narrow and difficult and high and slow,
    A demon's ladder to a mount of woe.
    But any way, however steep it be,
    O good Physician, If I get to Thee!

    Upon the roof a glaring light is spread,
    blistering underneath and overhead.
    They tear the tiles; the smarting dust is thick--
    O men, ye four, be mercifully quick!
    But any way, however hard it be,
    O good Physician, if I get to Thee!

  5. How to Read the Bible

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I'll read the Bible with a microscope,
    The many hidden blessings there to find,
    The gold that well repays my searching hope,
    The jewels of the heart and of the mind

    With telescope the Bible I will read
    So far and vast its shining glories are
    So swiftly truths to ardent truths succeed
    A bright-heaped galaxy of sun and star

    I'll read the Bible with a garden spade
    For hosts of seedling thoughts are growing there.
    Transplanted to my life, they give me shade
    And healthful fruit, and flowers richiy fair.

    I'll read the Bible with a light-poised boat,
    With crowding sail or with a laboring oar,
    For it has many a fairy-land remote,
    And many winding channels to explore.

    I'll read the Bible with a miner's pick,
    For deep in solid rock its wealth is found;
    But ah, the secret veins are rich and thick,
    And glorious Eldorados here ahound.

    All instruments, all modes of eager quest,
    Find here their recompense of high reward,
    Find here the wisest, worthiest, and best,
    The free and waiting treasures of the Lord.

  6. A Mother's Gift—The Bible

    by Anonymous

    Remember, love, who gave thee this,
    When other days shall come,
    When she who had thine earliest kiss,
    Sleeps in her narrow home.
    Remember! 'twas a mother gave
    The gift to one she'd die to save!

    That mother sought a pledge of love,
    The holiest for her son,
    And from the gifts of God above,
    She chose a goodly one;
    She chose for her beloved boy,
    The source of light, and life, and joy.

    She bade him keep the gift, that, when
    The parting hour should come,
    They might have hope to meet again
    In an eternal home.
    She said his faith in this would be
    Sweet incense to her memory.

    And should the scoffer, in his pride,
    Laugh that fond faith to scorn,
    And bid him cast the pledge aside,
    That he from youth had borne,
    She bade him pause, and ask his breast
    If SHE or HE had loved him best.

    A parent's blessing on her son
    Goes with this holy thing;
    The love that would retain the one,
    Must to the other cling.
    Remember! 'tis no idle toy:
    A mother's gift! remember, boy.

  7. My Mother's Bible

    George P. Morris (b. 1802, d. 1864) was born in Philadelphia. In 1823 he became one of the editors of the "New York Mirror," a weekly literary paper, In 1846 Mr. Morris and N. P. Willis founded "The Home Journal." He was associate editor of this popular journal until a short time before his death.

    This book is all that's left me now,—
    Tears will unbidden start,—
    With faltering lip and throbbing brow
    I press it to my heart.
    For many generations past
    Here is our family tree;
    My mother's hands this Bible clasped,
    She, dying, gave it me.

    Ah! well do I remember those
    Whose names these records bear;
    Who round the hearthstone used to close,
    After the evening prayer,
    And speak of what these pages said
    In tones my heart would thrill!
    Though they are with the silent dead,
    Here are they living still!

    My father read this holy book
    To brothers, sisters, dear;
    How calm was my poor mother's look,
    Who loved God's word to hear!
    Her angel face,—I see it yet!
    What thronging memories come!
    Again that little group is met
    Within the walls of home!

    Thou truest friend man ever knew,
    Thy constancy I've tried;
    When all were false, I found thee true,
    My counselor and guide.
    The mines of earth no treasures give
    That could this volume buy;
    In teaching me the way to live,
    It taught me how to die.

  8. The Cup

    by Anonymous

    He had passed the cup of the wine of love
    In the feast of the Upper Room;
    He had gone, with the paschal moon above,
    To the depths of the Garden gloom.

    And there on the solemn shaded ground
    Where the ancient olives grow,
    Another goblet the Saviour found,
    The cup of the deepest woe.

    The wine of that goblet was black as death.
    And bitter with ancient sin.
    And horribly foul was the fetid breath
    Of the liquor that fumed within.

    And they who had drunk in the city of light
    As the cup of love He poured,
    Stupidly slept in the Garden's night,
    Nor thought of their anguished Lord.

    O Saviour, who givest our human race
    The cup of Thy love so rare,
    In Gethsemane's shadow be ours the grace
    The cup of Thy woe to share!

  9. The Withered Hand—Whole

    by Anonymous

    Praise God! Praise God! Give me my tools again!
    Oh, let me grasp a hammer and a saw!
    Bring me a nail, and any piece of wood.
    Come, see me shut my hand and open it,
    And watch my nimble fingers twirl a ring.
    How good are solids!—oak, and stone, and iron,
    And rough and smooth, and straight and curved and round!
    Here, Hannah: for these long and weary years
    My hand has ached to smooth your shining hair
    And touch your dimpled cheek. Come, wife, and see:
    I am a man again, a man for work,
    A man, for earning bread and clothes and home;
    A man and not a useless hold-the-hand;
    A man, no more a bandaged cumberer
    Oh, blessed Sabbath of all Sabbath days!

    And did you hear them muttering at Him?
    And did you see them looking sour at me?
    They'll cast me from the synagogue, perchance;
    But let them: I've a hand, a hand, a hand!
    And ah, dear wife, to think He goes about
    So quietly, and does such things as this,
    Making poor half-men whole, in hand and foot,
    In eye and ear and witless maniac mind,
    To get such praise as that! Well, here's a hand,
    A strong, true hand that now is wholly His,
    To work or fight for Him, or what He will;
    For He has been the Hand of God to me.

  10. Belshazzar had a letter

    by Emily Dickinson

    Belshazzar had a letter, —
    He never had but one;
    Belshazzar's correspondent
    Concluded and begun
    In that immortal copy
    The conscience of us all
    Can read without its glasses
    On revelation's wall.

  11. Belshazzar's Feast

    by Eloise Bibb

    The sun has sunk 'neath yonder distant hill,
    A hush pervades the world and all is still;
    And twilight shadows lengthen into night,
    That screens earth's beauties from the eager sight.
    The city seems to sleep, yet, many a scene
    Of sin, of misery and sorrow keen
    This hour enacted 'neath the garb of night,
    Most terrifying to the human sight.

    But hark! — these sounds — are they of revelry?
    What means this grand and pompous page- antry,—
    These notes rung from the harp and tabrets's soul,
    That wake the brain and o'er the senses roll.
    All Babylon awakes to view the sight,
    Of lords and princes'rayed in garments white;
    And mark their march to yonder stately hall,
    Where sits Belshazzar, king and lord of all.

    And here on rich divan of sumptuous rate,
    This king of Babylon in robes of state,
    Has deigned to feast with lords and ladies fair,
    Who bow before his august presence there.
    More beauteous scene the eye will ne'er behold,
    Than all those sculptured forms in matchless mould,
    That rise above those towering columns grand,
    And seem to form one powerful, heavenly band.

    "Beneath the porphyry pillars that uphold
    The arabesque— work of the roof of gold,
    A stately peristyle in grand array,
    With moresque work stands proud, as well it may,
    For artists would their souls mortgage away,
    But to behold this work of art one day;
    And from this bower of Eden, rich perfume,
    Like Brahma's burning founts, the hall illume.

    Belshazzar speaks, "I issue this command,
    That all the sacred vessels now on hand,
    Within the temple of Jerusalem,
    Be brought to me that I dispose of them,
    And we will drink, my wives and princes all,
    Make merry here within this stately hall.
    Long live the gods of gold, of brass and wood,
    But cursed be the kingdom of the good"

    Why does he cease? and why this sudden hush,
    A moment past there was an obvious rush,
    The tabret and the harp are heard no more,
    The jests and jokes of king and lords are o'er,
    Belshazzar's face is of an ashen hue,
    His joints are loosed, and why—his conscience knew.

    The eyes of all within that lofty hall, Are turned upon a hand that's on the wall.

    It writes mysterious words that no one knew,
    The king would give to know their purport true
    A scarlet robe, a chain of priceless gold,
    His kingdom e'en, their meaning to unfold,
    In vain he bade the wise men rise and speak,
    'Twas folly sure their import now to seek;
    The queen bethought of Hebrew Daniel's fame,
    And mentioned to the king the prophet's name.

    And Daniel entering in the stately hall,
    Soon reads the words inscribed upon the wall;
    He gave a solemn warning to the king,
    And loud the echoes through the building ring;
    "'Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.'—see,
    I will, O king, these words explain to thee:
    Thou art found wanting for thou hast been weighed,
    Thy kingdom numbered, and a section made."

    "Bring forth the scarlet robe," Belshazzar cried,
    With death-like face that bore no marks of pride,
    "And on his neck put on this chain of gold,
    And make him ruler, who these things have told;"
    And then the kingly head in dark despair,
    Was bowed upon his breast as if in prayer;
    Too late, Belshazzar, time for thee is o'er,
    Thou wilt offend thy maker never more.

  12. The Alabaster Box

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    And, who is she that, bearing
    The Alabaster Box,
    Is thus, neglected, wearing
    Her long and silken locks?

    Her form is fair, but o'er her
    A shade of grief is cast,
    That speaks of wo before her,
    Or bitterness that's past.

    Oh! whither is she going?
    And what is it to seek,
    With sorrow's fountains flowing
    On either pallid cheek?

    Behold! her steps are tending
    To him who sits at meat.
    'T is Mary! see her bending
    To weep at Jesus' feet!

    And while her tears bestrew them,
    As pearls that scatter there,
    Her lips she presses to them,
    And wipes them with her hair.

    And, of a heart that's broken
    For sin that she forsakes,
    She gives the precious token—
    The alabaster breaks.

    From ointment now, that's gushing
    To pour on Jesus' head,
    Sweet odors forth are rushing,
    And o'er the dwelling spread.

    But they, who see her spilling
    The spikenard fresh and pure,
    Rebuke her, as unwilling
    To sell it for the poor.

    While he, whose eye possesses
    The hidden, inmost thought,
    Pronounces good, and blesses
    The work by Mary wrought.

    He sees her heart is riven,
    And bids her sorrow cease.
    To them, he says, "forgiven,
    She shall depart in peace.

    "The poor are with you ever!
    For them your treasures save.
    But she, before we sever,
    Anoints me for the grave!"

    Fair penitent! when breaking
    For thee, the stony tomb,
    With sweeter odors waking,
    Thy spirit he'll perfume!

  13. The Stature of Zacchaeus

    by Anonymous

    Zacchaeus struggled with the crowd;
    A little man was he.
    "Vermin!" he muttered half aloud,
    "I'll make them honor me.
    Ah, when the taxes next are due,
    I'll tower as is meet;
    This beggarly, ill-mannered crew
    Shall cower at my feet."

    Zacchaeus climbed the sycomore
    (He was a little man),
    And as he looked the rabble o'er
    He chuckled at the plan.
    "I get the thing I want," he said,
    "And that is to be tall.
    They think me short but by a head
    I rise above them all."

    "Zacchaeus, come! dine with you,"
    The famous Rabbi cried.
    Zacchaeus tumbled into view
    A giant in his pride.
    He strutted mightily before
    That silly, gaping throng;
    You'd think him six feet high or more,
    To see him stride along.

    Zacchaeus listened to the Lord,
    And as he listened, feared;
    How was his life a thing abhorred
    When that pure Life appeared!
    Down to a dwarf he shrank away
    In sorrow and in shame.
    He owned his sins that very day,
    And bore the heavy blame.

    But as he rose hefore the crowd,
    (A little man, alack!)
    Confessed his guilt and cried aloud
    And gave his plunder back,
    I think he stood a giant then
    As angels truly scan,
    And no one ever thought again
    He was a little man.

  14. Ruth

    by Thomas Hood

    She stood breast high among the corn,
    Clasped by the golden light of morn,
    Like the sweetheart of the sun,
    Who many a glowing kiss had won.

    On her cheek an autumn flush,
    Deeply ripened;—such a blush
    In the midst of brown was born,
    Like red poppies grown with corn.

    Round her eyes her tresses fell,
    Which were blackest none could tell.
    But long lashes veiled a light,
    That had else been all too bright.

    And her hat, with shady brim,
    Made her tressy forehead dim;
    Thus she stood amid the stooks,
    Praising God with sweetest looks:

    Sure, I said, Heaven did not mean,
    Where I reap thou shouldst but glean;
    Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
    Share my harvest and my home.

  15. "Of Them He Chose Twelve"

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The Twelve He chose; and those He did not choose—
    Ah, did they know their loss?
    Did He invite them, and did they refuse
    The offered crown and cross?

    And now in heaven, all the eons long,
    Does that supreme regret
    Pierce even through the glory and the song,
    And hush their voices yet?

    We cannot know; but this we know full well,
    That us, our humble selves.
    Christ's loving voice, with all its holy spell,
    Has counted into Twelves.

    "Will you be one?" He asks; "Will you be one?"
    Ah, eager pleading voice!
    On lower levels all our race is run
    If we reject His choice.

  16. The Crippled Beggar Speaks

    by Anonymous

    Yes Peter was shaggy, his garments were coarse,
    He was rough in his fisherman ways,
    His voice was uncultured, and clumsy, and hoarse,
    But the voice that one always obeys.

    There was many a gentleman passing me by,
    Yet none was so gentle as he;
    They were soft to the ear, they were fine to the eye,
    But Peter's the prince for me!

    Yet Peter was poor, and empty his purse;
    Three years he was out of his trade;
    And poverty's surely a terrible curse,
    So how was he going to aid?

    Ah many a rich man has tossed me his gold,
    A pittance flung out to a slave;
    But not all the purses in Rome could hold
    The gift that the fisherman gave!

    Why, look at me stranger, alert as a hound;
    And see me, how high I can leap;
    And think of those thirty long years on the ground,
    A tortured and pitiful heap!

    Why, Peter, he gave me the best that he had,
    And he gave in a brotherly way.
    And well you may guess I am wondrously glad
    That he hadn't a penny that day!

  17. Blind Bartimeus

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Blind Bartimeus at the gates
    Of Jericho in darkness waits;
    He hears the crowd;—he hears a breath
    Say, "It is Christ of Nazareth!"
    And calls, in tones of agony,
    'Ιησου, ξλξησδν με!

    The thronging multitudes increase;
    Blind Bartimeus, hold thy peace!
    But still, above the noisy crowd,
    The beggar's cry is shrill and loud;
    Until they say, "He calleth thee!"
    Θαρσει ζγειραι , φωνει σε!

    Then saith the Christ, as silent stands
    The crowd, "What wilt thou at my hands?"
    And he replies, "Oh, give me light!
    Rabbi, restore the blind man's sight."
    And Jesus answers, "Υπαγε'
    'Η πιστις σου σεσωκε σε!

    Ye that have eyes, yet cannot see,
    In darkness and in misery,
    Recall those mighty Voices Three,
    'Ιησου, ξλξησδν με!
    Θαρσει ξγειραι, υπαγε!
    'Η πιστις σου σεσωκε σε!

  18. Death of Sampson

    John Milton NOTE.—The person supposed to be speaking is a Hebrew who chanced to be present at Gaza when the, incidents related took place. After the catastrophe he rushes to Manoah, the father of Samson, to whom and his assembled friends he relates what he saw. (Cf. Bible, Judges xvi, 23.)

    Occasions drew me early to this city;
    And, as the gates I entered with sunrise,
    The morning trumpets festival proclaimed
    Through each high street: little I had dispatched,
    When all abroad was rumored that this day
    Samson should be brought forth, to show the people
    Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games.
    I sorrowed at his captive state,
    But minded not to be absent at that spectacle.

    The building was a spacious theater
    Half-round, on two main pillars vaulted high,
    With seats where all the lords, and each degree
    Of sort, might sit in order to behold;
    The other side was open, where the throng
    On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand:
    I among these aloof obscurely stood.
    The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice
    Had filled their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and wine,
    When to their sports they turned. Immediately
    Was Samson as a public servant brought,
    In their state livery clad: before him pipes
    And timbrels; on each side went arme'd guards;
    Both horse and foot before him and behind,
    Archers and slingers, cataphracts, and spears.
    At sight of him the people with a shout
    Rifted the air, clamoring their god with praise,
    Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall.

    He, patient, but undaunted, where they led him,
    Came to the place; and what was set before him,
    Which without help of eye might be essayed,
    To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still performed
    All with incredible, stupendous force,
    None daring to appear antagonist.

    At length for intermission sake, they led him
    Between the pillars; he his guide requested,
    As overtired, to let him lean awhile
    With both his arms on those two massy pillars,
    That to the arche'd roof gave main support.

    He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson
    Felt in his arms, with head awhile inclined,
    And eyes fast fixed, he stood, as one who prayed,
    Or some great matter in his mind revolved:
    At last, with head erect, thus cried aloud:—
    "Hitherto, lords, what your commands imposed
    I have performed, as reason was, obeying,
    Not without wonder or delight beheld;
    Now, of my own accord, such other trial
    I mean to show you of my strength yet greater,
    As with amaze shall strike all who behold."

    This uttered, straining all his nerves, he bowed;
    As with the force of winds and waters pent
    When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars
    With horrible convulsion to and fro
    He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew
    The whole roof after them with burst of thunder
    Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,—
    Lords, ladies, captains, counselors, or priests,
    Their choice nobility and flower, not only
    Of this, but each Philistian city round,
    Met from all parts to solemnize this feast.
    Samson, with these immixed, inevitably
    Pulled down the same destruction on himself;
    The vulgar only 'scaped who stood without.

  19. The Garden of Gethsemane

    by Lucretia Maria Davidson

    Gethsemane! there's holy blood
    Upon thy green and waving brow;
    Gethsemane! a God hath stood,
    And o'er thy branches bended low!

    There, drops of agony have hung
    Mingled with blood upon his brow;
    For sin his bosom there was wrung,
    And there it bled for human woe.

    There, in the darkest hour of night,
    Alone he watched, alone he prayed;
    Didst thou not tremble at the sight?
    A God reviled! — a God betrayed!

    Gethsemane! so dark a scene
    Ne'er blotted the wide book of time!
    Oblivion's veil can never screen
    So dark a deed, so black a crime!

  20. Exit from Egyptian Bondage

    by Lucretia Maria Davidson

    When Israel's sons, from cruel bondage freed,
    Fled to the land by righteous Heaven decreed;
    Insulting Pharaoh quick pursued their train,
    E'en to the borders of the troubled main.

    Affrighted Israel stood alone dismayed,
    The foe behind, the sea before them laid;
    Around, the hosts of bloody Pharaoh fold,
    And wave o'er wave the raging Red Sea rolled.

    But God, who saves his chosen ones from harm,
    Stretched to their aid his all-protecting arm,
    And lo! on either side the sea divides,
    And Israel's army in its bosom hides.

    Safe to the shore through watery walls they march,
    And once more hail kind Heaven's aerial arch;
    Far, far behind, the cruel foe is seen,
    And the dark waters roll their march between.

    Rejoice, O Israel! God is on your side,
    He is your champion, and your faithful guide;
    By day, a cloud is to your footsteps given,
    By night, a fiery column towers to heaven.

    Then Israel's children marched by day and night,
    Till Sinai's mountain rose upon their sight:
    There righteous Heaven the flying army staid,
    And Israel's sons the high command obeyed.

    To Sinai's mount the trembling people came,
    'T was wrapped in threat'ning clouds, in smoke, and flame;
    A silent awe pervaded all the van;
    Not e'en a murmur through the army ran.
    High Sinai shook! dread thunders rent the air!
    And horrid lightnings round its summit glare!
    'T was God's pavilion, and the black'ning clouds,
    Dark hov'ring o'er, his dazzling glory shrouds.

    To Heaven's dread court the intrepid leader came,
    T' receive its mandate in the people's name;
    Loud trumpets peal — the awful thunders roll,
    Transfixing terrors in each guilty soul.

    But lo! he comes, arrayed in shining light,
    And round his forehead plays a halo bright:
    Heaven's high commands with trembling were received,
    Heaven's high commands were heard, and were believed.

  21. The Wise Men from the East (A LITTLE BOY'S CHRISTMAS LESSON)

    by Bliss Carman

    Why were the Wise Men three,
    Instead of five or seven?"
    They had to match, you see,
    The archangels in Heaven.

    God sent them, sure and swift,
    By his mysterious presage,
    To bear the threefold gift
    And take the threefold message.

    Thus in their hands were seen
    The gold of purest Beauty,
    The myrrh of Truth all-clean,
    The frankincense of Duty.

    And thus they bore away
    The loving heart's great treasure,
    And knowledge clear as day,
    To be our life's new measure.

    They went back to the East
    To spread the news of gladness.
    There one became a priest
    To the new word of sadness;

    And one a workman, skilled
    Beyond the old earth's fashion;
    And one a scholar, filled
    With learning's endless passion.

    God sent them for a sign
    He would not change nor alter
    His good and fair design,
    However man may falter.

    He meant that, as He chose
    His perfect plan and willed it,
    They stood in place of those
    Who elsewhere had fulfilled it;

    Whoso would mark and reach
    The height of man's election,
    Must still achieve and teach
    The triplicate perfection.

    For since the world was made,
    One thing was needed ever,
    To keep man undismayed
    Through failure and endeavor —

    A faultless trinity
    Of body, mind, and spirit,
    And each with its own three
    Strong angels to be near it;

    Strength to arise and go
    Wherever dawn is breaking,
    Poise like the tides that flow,
    Instinct for beauty-making;

    Imagination bold
    To cross the mystic border,
    Reason to seek and hold,
    Judgment for law and order;

    Joy that makes all things well,
    Faith that is all-availing
    Each terror to dispel,
    And Love, ah, Love unfailing.

    These are the flaming Nine
    Who walk the world unsleeping,
    Sent forth by the Divine
    With manhood in their keeping.

    These are the seraphs strong
    His mighty soul had need of,
    When He would right the wrong
    And sorrow He took heed of.

    And that, I think, is why
    The Wise Men knelt before Him,
    And put their kingdoms by
    To serve Him and adore Him;

    So that our Lord, unknown,
    Should not be unattended,
    When He was here alone
    And poor and unbefriended;

    That still He might have three
    (Rather than five or seven)
    To stand in their degree,
    Like archangels in Heaven.

  22. The Sending of the Magi

    by Bliss Carman

    In a far Eastern country
    It happened long of yore,
    Where a lone and level sunrise
    Flushes the desert floor,
    That three kings sat together
    And a spearman kept the door.

    Gaspar, whose wealth was counted
    By city and caravan;
    With Melchior, the seer
    Who read the starry plan;
    And Balthasar, the blameless,
    Who loved his fellow man.

    There while they talked, a sudden
    Strange rushing sound arose,
    And as with startled faces
    They thought upon their foes,
    Three figures stood before them
    In imperial repose.

    One in flame-gold and one in blue
    And one in scarlet clear,
    With the almighty portent
    Of sunrise they drew near!
    And the kings made obeisance
    With hand on breast, in fear.

    "Arise," said they, "we bring you
    Good tidings of great peace!
    To-day a power is wakened
    Whose working must increase,
    Till fear and greed and malice
    And violence shall cease."

    The messengers were Michael,
    By whom all things are wrought
    To shape and hue; and Gabriel
    Who is the lord of thought;
    And Rafael without whose love
    All toil must come to nought.

    Then Rafael said to Balthasar,
    "In a country west from here
    A lord is born in lowliness,
    In love without a peer.
    Take grievances and gifts to him
    And prove his kingship clear!

    "By this sign ye shall know him;
    Within his mother's arm
    Among the sweet-breathed cattle
    He slumbers without harm,
    While wicked hearts are troubled
    And tyrants take alarm."

    And Gabriel said to Melchior,
    "My comrade, I will send
    My star to go before you,
    That ye may comprehend
    Where leads your mystic learning
    In a humaner trend."

    And Michael said to Gaspar,
    "Thou royal builder, go
    With tribute of thy riches!
    Though time shall overthrow
    Thy kingdom, no undoing
    His gentle might shall know."

    Then while the kings' hearts greatened
    And all the chamber shone,
    As when the hills at sundown
    Take a new glory on
    And the air thrills with purple,
    Their visitors were gone.

    Then straightway up rose Gaspar,
    Melchior and Balthasar,
    And passed out through the murmur
    Of palace and bazar,
    To make without misgiving
    The journey of the Star.

  23. Stilling the Waves

    by Lucretia Maria Davidson

    "And he arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,'Peace, be still!'"

    Be still, ye waves, for Christ doth deign to tread
    On the rough bosom of your watery bed!
    Be not too harsh your gracious Lord to greet,
    But, in soft murmurs, kiss his holy feet;
    'T is He alone can calm your rage at will,
    This is His sacred mandate, "Peace, be still!"

  24. David and Goliath

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Young David was a ruddy lad
    With silken, sunny locks,
    The youngest son that Jesse had:
    He kept his father's flocks.

    Goliath was a Philistine,
    A giant huge and high;
    He lifted, like a towering pine,
    His head towards the sky.

    He was the foe of Israel's race, A mighty warrior, too.
    And on he strode from place to place, And many a man he slew.

    So Saul, the king of Israel then,
    Proclaimed it to and fro,
    That most he'd favor of his men
    The one, who'd kill the foe.

    Yet all, who saw this foe draw near,
    Would feel their courage fail;
    For not an arrow, sword, or spear,
    Could pierce the giant's mail.

    But Jesse's son conceived a way,
    That would deliverance bring;
    Whereby he might Goliath slay,
    And thus relieve the king.

    Then quick he laid his shepherd's crook
    Upon a grassy bank;
    And off he waded in the brook
    From which the lambkins drank.

    He culled and fitted to his sling
    Five pebbles, smooth and round;
    And one of these he meant should bring
    The giant to the ground.

    'I've killed a lion and a bear,'
    Said he, 'and now I'll slay
    The Philistine, and by the hair
    I'll bring his head away!'

    Then onward to the battle field
    The youthful hero sped;
    He knew Goliath by his shield,
    And by his towering head.

    But when, with only sling and staff;
    The giant saw him come,
    In triumph he began to laugh;
    Yet David struck him dumb.

    He fell! 't was David's puny hand
    That caused his overthrow!
    Though long the terror of the land,
    A pebble laid him low.

    The blood from out his forehead gushed,
    He rolled, and writhed, and roared.
    The little hero on him rushed
    And drew his ponderous sword.

    Before its owner's dying eye
    He held the gleaming point
    Upon his throbbing neck to try;
    Then severed cord and joint.

    He took the head and carried it
    And laid it down by Saul,
    And showed him where the pebble hit
    That caused the giant's fall.

    The boy, who had Goliath slain
    With pebbles and a sling,
    Was raised, in after years, to reign
    As Israel's second king!

    'T was not the courage, skill, or might,
    Which David had, alone,
    That helped him lsrael's foe to fight
    And conquer, with a stone.

    But, when the shepherd stripling went
    Goliath thus to kill,
    God used him as an instrument,
    His purpose to fulfill!

  25. The Leaf

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    A leaf! a leaf! it has been torn
    From out a volume full and fair.
    'T is to a joyful reader borne
    By a mild courier through the air.

    The author of the book has writ
    His shining name upon the leaf;
    And blessed import comes in it,
    Although the lines are few and brief.

    It says, the flood retires! The heads
    Of the lost hills again are seen—
    That, on their sides the olive spreads
    Her fruitful branches fresh and green!—

    That He, who has so late revealed
    The awful power that arms his hand,
    The fountains of the deep has sealed,
    And swept the waters from the land!

    Thou man of God! while death has reigned
    Without the ark, till every soul
    Is hurried hence, thy faith retained,
    Thy steady trust has kept thee whole.

    When God stretched forth his mighty arm
    In terrors clothed to impious men,
    It shielded thee and thine from harm.
    Go forth! Jehovah smiles again.

    Look up! the heavens are clear and bright
    With splendor never seen before.
    Behold your Lord his promise write,
    That he will drown the world no more!

    For this, the richest, purest dies
    That shine in heaven, he softly blends,
    And, like himself, from out the skies,
    His bow for man in glory bends.

    The humbled earth, baptized, appears
    Washed by the flood from strife and sin.
    Beauty and joy shall follow tears,
    And life and praise where death has been.

    The Leaf is one from Nature's book,
    Which, with a tender father's love,
    Its holy Author wisely took
    To send thee by the peaceful dove!

  26. Sisera: From Deborah's Song. Judges 5

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Why tarries Sisera? His mother stands
    At the high window, where her eye commands
    The hill and vale afar, while waning day
    Shows not her son, in all the winding way.

    Forth from the lattice goes her earnest cry,
    'Where art thou, Sisera? My son, O why,
    While o'er the world this solemn twilight steals,
    Why tarry thus thy burning chariot wheels?

    'When wilt thou come triumphant from the plain,
    With Israel's spoils and captives in thy train;
    Thy parent's pride, a shouting kingdom's boast,
    Thou valiant leader of a dauntless host?

    'How went the battle? None will come and tell
    Where the dart entered, or the javelin fell;
    What shield was shivered, which the trusty sword
    That met its aim, or whose the blood that poured.

    'If that I gave thee from my own rich veins
    Empurple earth's cold sod, what hope remains?
    Thy nation's glory must with thee depart;
    And one dread swell will burst thy mothers heart!

    'But why thy joyful coming thus delay?
    Is it to share the spoil, and take the prey?
    Dim grows the distance to my weary eye;
    Nor hoof, nor wheel, nor foot of man comes nigh!'

    Why, hapless mother, does he not return!
    Go to the Kenite's distant place, and learn!
    Fly to the tent on Zaanaim's plain;
    Ask Heber's wife for hint thou call'st in vain!

    Enter her tent, and slowly raise the veil;
    Lift that spread mantle; see the fatal nail!
    Behold thy son, as now he lieth low;
    Inglorious chief! and by a woman's blow!

    Is this the brow that thou hast hoped to see
    Twined with the laurel, high in victory?
    The blood thou gav'st him in a form so fair
    Is thick around it, on the matted hair!

    Pierced through the temples! pillowed on the ground!
    Is this the head that glory should have crowned?
    Was the fair captive's needle-work to deck,
    With many colors, this poor severed neck?

    Oh! 't is a fearful thing to be a rod
    Used on a people, by the hand of God,
    To bring his children back, when they offend;
    To chasten them; then have the scourge's end!

    To Tabor's mount the bands of Barak drew,
    In arms but feeble; in their numbers, few;
    While Jabin's hosts, with Sisera their head,
    By Kishon's stream the valley overspread.

    With strong war-chariots they took the field;
    With prancing horses, gleaming spear and shield.
    Thick as the grass they overran the plain,
    Like that, when mown, to strow it with the slain.

    When to the onset, like a stream that gushed
    Forth from the mount, the men of Israel rushed;
    The Lord of hosts was with them in the fight,
    And death, or dread seized every Canaanite.

    The ancient river felt its heavy tide
    Swell with the blood that flowed upon its side.
    Horses and horsemen weltered in the waves,
    That bore down thousands into restless graves.

    Then Sisera, unchiefed, with none to head,
    Leaped from his iron chariot and fled.
    His steps the fugitive in terror bent
    To ask of Jael refuge in her tent.

    She gave him milk; and 'in a lordly dish,'
    She brought him food; she granted him his wish
    Here to be screened from Barak; but his sleep
    She fastened on him! it is long and deep!

    Oh, Sisera! it was a fearful thing
    To be the minion of an evil king;
    Against an injured people to contend,
    Who had the God of armies for their friend

  27. The Burial of Moses

    by Cecil F. Alexander

    "And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor; but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day."

    By Nebo's lonely mountain,
    On this side Jordan's wave,
    In a vale in the land of Moab
    There lies a lonely grave,
    And no man knows that sepulchre,
    And no man saw it e'er,
    For the angels of God upturn'd the sod
    And laid the dead man there.

    That was the grandest funeral
    That ever pass'd on earth;
    But no man heard the trampling,
    Or saw the train go forth—
    Noiselessly as the daylight
    Comes back when night is done,
    And the crimson streak on ocean's cheek
    Grows into the great sun.

    Noiselessly as the springtime
    Her crown of verdure weaves,
    And all the trees on all the hills
    Open their thousand leaves;
    So without sound of music,
    Or voice of them that wept,
    Silently down from the mountain's crown
    The great procession swept.

    Perchance the bald old eagle
    On gray Beth-peor's height,
    Out of his lonely eyrie
    Look'd on the wondrous sight;
    Perchance the lion, stalking,
    Still shuns that hallow'd spot,
    For beast and bird have seen and heard
    That which man knoweth not.

    But when the warrior dieth,
    His comrades in the war,
    With arms reversed and muffled drum,
    Follow his funeral car;
    They show the banners taken,
    They tell his battles won,
    And after him lead his masterless steed,
    While peals the minute gun.

    Amid the noblest of the land
    We lay the sage to rest,
    And give the bard an honor'd place,
    With costly marble drest,
    In the great minster transept
    Where lights like glories fall,
    And the organ rings, and the sweet choir sings
    Along the emblazon'd wall.

    This was the truest warrior
    That ever buckled sword,
    This was the most gifted poet
    That ever breathed a word;
    And never earth's philosopher
    Traced with his golden pen,
    On the deathless page, truths half so sage
    As he wrote down for men.

    And had he not high honor,—
    The hillside for a pall,
    To lie in state while angels wait
    With stars for tapers tall,
    And the dark rock-pines like tossing plumes,
    Over his bier to wave,
    And God's own hand, in that lonely land,
    To lay him in the grave?

    In that strange grave without a name,
    Whence his uncoffin'd clay
    Shall break again, O wondrous thought!
    Before the judgment day,
    And stand with glory wrapt around
    On the hills he never trod,
    And speak of the strife that won our life
    With the Incarnate Son of God.

    O lonely grave in Moab's land
    O dark Beth-peor's hill,
    Speak to these curious hearts of ours,
    And teach them to be still.
    God hath His mysteries of grace,
    Ways that we cannot tell;
    He hides them deep like the hidden sleep
    Of him He loved so well.

  28. David's Lament for Absalom

    by N.P. Willis

    King David's limbs were weary. He had fled
    From far Jerusalem; and now he stood
    With his faint people for a little rest
    Upon the shore of Jordan. The light wind
    Of morn was stirring, and he bared his brow
    To its refreshing breath; for he had worn
    The mourner's covering, and he had not felt
    That he could see his people until now.

    They gathered round him on the fresh green bank
    And spoke their kindly words, and as the sun
    Rose up in heaven he knelt among them there,
    And bowed his head upon his hands to pray.
    Oh! when the heart is full—where bitter thoughts
    Come crowding thickly up for utterance,
    And the poor common words of courtesy,—
    Are such a mockery—how much
    The bursting heart may pour itself in prayer!
    He prayed for Israel—and his voice went up
    Strongly and fervently. He prayed for those
    Whose love had been his shield—and his deep tones
    Grew tremulous. But, oh! for Absalom,
    For his estranged, misguided Absalom—
    The proud, bright being who had burst away
    In all his princely beauty to defy
    The heart that cherished him—for him he prayed,
    In agony that would not be controll'd,
    Strong supplication, and forgave him there
    Before his God for his deep sinfulness.

    The pall was settled. He who slept beneath
    Was straightened for the grave, and as the folds
    Sank to their still proportions, they betrayed
    The matchless symmetry of Absalom,
    The mighty Joab stood beside the bier
    And gazed upon the dark pall steadfastly,
    As if he feared the slumberer might stir.
    A slow step startled him. He grasped his blade
    As if a trumpet rang, but the bent form
    Of David entered; and he gave command
    In a low tone to his few followers,
    And left him with the dead.

    The King stood still
    Till the last echo died; then, throwing off
    The sackcloth from his brow, and laying back
    The pall from the still features of his child.
    He bowed his head upon him and broke forth
    In the resistless eloquence of woe:

    "Alas! my noble boy; that thou shouldst die!
    Thou who were made so beautifully fair!
    That death should settle in thy glorious eye,
    And leave his stillness in this clustering hair!
    How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,
    My proud boy, Absalom!

    "Cold is thy brow, my son! and I am chill
    As to my bosom I have tried to press thee!
    How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill
    Like a rich harp-string yearning to caress thee,
    And hear thy sweet 'my father!' from those dumb
    And cold lips, Absalom!

    "But death is on thee! I shall hear the gush
    Of music, and the voices of the young;
    And life will pass me in the mantling blush,
    And the dark tresses to the soft winds flung;—
    But thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shalt come
    To meet me, Absalom!

    "And oh! when I am stricken, and my heart,
    Like a bruised reed, is waiting to be broken,
    How will its love for thee, as I depart,
    Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep token!
    It were so sweet, amid death's gathering gloom,
    To see thee, Absalom!

    "And now, farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up,
    With death so like a gentle slumber on thee!—
    And thy dark sin! Oh! I could drink the cup,
    If from this woe its bitterness had won thee.
    May God have called thee, like a wanderer, home,
    My lost boy, Absalom!"

    He covered up his face, and bowed himself
    A moment on his child; then, giving him
    A look of melting tenderness, he clasped
    His hands convulsively, as if in prayer,
    And, as if strength were given him of God,
    He rose up calmly, and composed the pall
    Firmly and decently—and left him there,
    As if his rest had been a breathing sleep.

  29. Holy Bible, Book Divine

    by John Burton

    Holy Bible, book divine!
    Precious treasure, thou art mine:
    Mine, to tell me whence I came;
    Mine, to teach me what I am;

    Mine, to chide me when I rove;
    Mine, to show a Saviour's love:
    Mine, art thou, to guide my feet;
    Mine, to judge, condemn, acquit;

    Mine, to comfort in distress,
    If the Holy Sirit bless;
    Mine to show by living faith,
    Man can triumph over death!

    Mine, to tell of joys to come,
    And the rebel sinners doom:
    O thou precious book divine,
    Precious treasure, thou art mine!

  30. Among the Rushes

    by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

    I saw a curly leaf and it was caught against the grassy side,
    And it was tangled in the watery grasses where the branch is wide;
    I had it for my little ark of rushes that must wait and hide.

    I had it for my little Moses hidden where no one could see,
    The little baby Moses that nobody knew about but me.

    And I was hiding in the flags and I was waiting all the day,
    And watching on the bank to see if Pharaoh's daughter came that way.

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