Christ’s solicitude for the Jews

Christ’s solicitude for the Jews

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book IV Poem XLVIII)

As eager mother runs to save her child

On the verge of a precipice,

As labouring swimmer struggles toward the man

Quick sinking in the flood,

As men who fight with fire face the flames

Urgent to save some wretch;—

So laboured the Lord with urgency divine

To reach those callous Jews;

Would they but hear, would they but understand!

Might no ray penetrate

The thick intellectual darkness that hemmed in,—

Enclosed them as a shroud

Of many cerements closely overlaid?

Knowing the might of truth,

That every man must recognise the truth

He hears, in his own despite;—

Christ toiled incessant through the days of the Feast

To convince those obdurate Jews:

The coverings that enwrapp’d them, one by one,

He took and stripped away,—

That they be cold? Nay, that the light should come,

That truth might penetrate:

Their law, religion, pride of race, were torn

From shivering backs to lure

Cold wretches to the glow of light divine:

They snatched their rags again,—

Those wrappings of the dead that held them swathed:

Christ cries in vain to them;

The words of the Master fall on insensate ears

And are no more perceived

Than high seas, breaking on the obdurate cliff,
Than ardent sunshine spent on prison walls!

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