John Baptist a prisoner

John Baptist a prisoner

Preaching of John the Baptist.

(Luke 3:19-20, English Revised Version)

But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

John Baptist a prisoner

(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book I Poem IV)

John the Baptist in Prison, attributed to Giotto

Where now is John—
Round whom in wilderness
The eager people press,
Confessing sin with tears
And overwhelming fears;
Who bade them put away
Their sin against the day,
That great day of the Lord
Of which he brought them word:—
“Repent, and be baptized,
Else, rotten, be excised
From the Branch!”
Now, where is John, who knew
Messias, in that Jew
Came to him at the pool,—
Would follow, meek, the rule
Good for all men, and prayed
Baptism of John, dismayed;
And he baptized the Lord
At His so gracious word!—
Where now is John who in a man
As other men, was graced to scan
Lineaments of the Lamb,
Sent by the great “I am,”
Descended from His throne
The whole world to atone,
In sacrificial blood,
With the all-loving God!
Where, John, who bore that witness true
And fearless spake the truth he knew?

In desert still he dwelt;
But, bound, no longer felt
Winds of the waste blow free;
No more his eye might see
Least thing that moved at large
To far horizon’s marge;
Shut in by fortress walls,
His soaring spirit falls;
He doubts and is dismayed;—
“By what then is delayed
The coming of our King
Who shall salvation bring?
Is He indeed the Coming One,
And I, here, languishing alone?”
Ah me, that Prophet’s faith should fail
When doubt and dreariness assail!

St. Luke iii. 19, 20.