Stephen--Saul

A poem by William Arthur Dunkerley

Stephen, who died while I stood by consenting,
Wrought in his death the making of a life,
Bruised one hard heart to thought of swift repenting,
Fitted one fighter for a nobler strife.

Stephen, the Saint, triumphant and forgiving,
Prayed while the hot blows beat him to the earth.
Was that a dying? Rather was it living!--
Through his soul's travail my soul came to birth.

Stephen, the Martyr, full of faith and fearless,
Smiled when his bruised lips could no longer pray,--
Smiled with a courage undismayed and peerless,--
Smiled!--and that smile is with me, night and day.

O, was it I that stood there, all consenting?
I--at whose feet the young men's clothes were laid?
Was it my will that wrought that hot tormenting?
My heart that boasted over Stephen, dead?

Yes, it was I. And sore to me the telling.
Yes, it was I. And thought of it has been
God's potent spur my whole soul's might compelling
These outer darknesses for Him to win.

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