What Went Ye Out For To See?

A poem by Nora Pembroke

On Jordan's banks gathered an eager crowd,
The Royal city poured its dwellers out;
The vintage was untouched in Ephraim;
No fisher's boat from Magdala put out.

Up from Engedi's fountain, down the slope
Of terraced Olivet, an eager throng,
Filled with one purpose, one absorbing hope,
Unto the Jordan take their way along.

The priestly robe, the saintly Pharisee,
The publican, the sinner, all were there,
The doubting, sneering, questioning Sadducee,
Just risen from his seat, the scorner's chair.

All carried there the consciousness of sin;
A wish for some one having power to save;
Ready to do some great thing peace to win;
So came they to the ford by Jordan's wave.

What did they see? not one in purple vest,
Who lives deliciously, abides by choice
In palaces, and he in hair doth drest,
And leathern girdled is--Is what? a voice.

In poor array, the greatest prophet stood
Beside the waters where the banks are green.
"Art thou the looked-for one? Will Jordan's flood
Touched by thy hand have power to make us clean?"

"The Jordan will not wash your guilt and shame;
Sin must be washed away in sinless blood."
And looking upon Jesus as he came,
He said to them, "Behold the Lamb of God."

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