Disguises

A poem by Thomas Edward Brown

High stretched upon the swinging yard,
I gather in the sheet;
But it is hard
And stiff, and one cries haste.
Then He that is most dear in my regard
Of all the crew gives aidance meet;
But from His hands, and from His feet,
A glory spreads wherewith the night is starred:
Moreover of a cup most bitter-sweet
With fragrance as of nard,
And myrrh, and cassia spiced,
He proffers me to taste.
Then I to Him: ‘Art Thou the Christ?’
He saith, ‘Thou say’st.’

Like to an ox
That staggers ’neath the mortal blow,
She grinds upon the rocks:
Then straight and low
Leaps forth the levelled line, and in our quarter locks
The cradle’s rigged; with swerving of the blast
We go,
Our Captain last,
Demands
‘Who fired that shot?’ Each silent stands,
Ah, sweet perplexity!
This too was He.

I have an arbour wherein came a toad
Most hideous to see,
Immediate, seizing staff or goad,
I smote it cruelly.
Then all the place with subtle radiance glowed,
I looked, and it was He!

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