"Art Thou He that should come?"
Jesus, the Lamb of God, gone forth to heal and bless.
Calm lie the desert pools in a fair wilderness;
Wind-shaken moves the reed, so moves His voice the soul,
Sick folk surprised of joy, wax when they hear it, whole.
Calm all His mastering might, calm smiles the desert waste;
Peace, peace, He shall not cry, nay, He shall not make haste;
Heaven gazes, hell beneath moved for Him, moans and stirs -
Lo, John lies fast in prison, sick for his messengers.
John, the forerunner, John, the desert's tameless son,
Cast into loathèd thrall, his use and mission done;
John from his darkness sends a cry, but not a plea;
Not, "Hast Thou felt my need?" but only, "Art Thou He?"
Unspoken pines his hope, grown weak in lingering dole;
None know what pang that hour might pierce the Healer's soul;
Silence that faints to Him - but must e'en so be vain;
A word - the fetters fall - He will that word restrain.
Jesus, the Father's son, bound in a mighty plan,
Retired full oft in God, show'd not His mind to man;
Nor their great matters high His human lips confess;
He will His wonders work, and not make plain, but bless.
The bournes of His wide way kept secret from all thought,
Enring'd the outmost waste that evil power had wrought;
His measure none can take, His strife we are not shown,
Nor if He gathered then more sheaves than earth hath grown.
"John, from the Christ of God, an answer for all time,"
The proof of Sonship given in characters sublime;
Sad hope will He make firm, and fainting faith restore,
But yet with mortal eyes will see His face no more.
He bow'd His sacred head to exigence austere,
Unknown to us and dark, first piercings of the spear:
And to each martyr since 'tis even as if He said,
"Verily I am He - I live, and I was dead.
"The All-wise found a way - a dark way - dread, unknown;
I chose it, will'd it Mine, seal'd for My feet alone;
Thou canst not therein walk, yet thou hast part in Me,
I will not break thy bonds, but I am bound with thee.
"With thee and for thee bound, with thee and for thee given,
A mystery seal'd from hell, and wonder'd at in heaven;
I send thee rest at heart to love, and still believe;
But not for thee - nor Me - is found from death reprieve."