He sat by the dusty way-side,
With weary, hopeless mien,
On his furrowed brow the traces
Of care and want were seen;
With outstretched hand and with bowed-down head
He asked the passers-by for bread.
The palm-tree's feathery foliage
Around him thickly grew,
And the smiling sky above him
Wore Syria's sun-bright hue;
But dark alike to that helpless one
Was murky midnight or noon-tide sun.
But voices breaking the silence
Are heard, fast drawing nigh,
And falls on his ear the clamor
Of vast crowds moving by:
"What is it?" he asks, with panting breath;
They answer: "Jesus of Nazareth."
What a spell lay in that title,
Linked with such mem'ries high
Of miracles of mercy,
Wrought 'neath Judaea's sky!
Loud calls he, with pleading voice and brow,
"Oh! Jesus, on me have mercy now!"
How often had he listened
To wond'rous tales of love -
Of the Galilean's mercy,
Of power from above,
To none other given of mortal birth
To heal the afflicted sons of earth.
With faith that never wavered
Still louder rose his cry,
Despite the stern rebuking
Of many standing nigh,
Who bade him stifle his grief or joy,
Nor "the Master rudely thus annoy."
But, soon that voice imploring
Struck on the Saviour's ear,
He stopped, and to His followers
He said "Go bring him here!"
And, turning towards him that God like brow,
He asked the suppliant, "What wouldest thou?"
Though with awe and hope all trembling,
Yet courage gaineth he,
And imploringly he murmurs:
"Oh Lord! I fain would see!"
The Saviour says in accents low:
"Thy faith hath saved thee - be it so!"
Then on those darkened eye-balls
A wondrous radiance beamed,
And they drank in the glorious beauty
That through all nature gleamed;
But the fairest sight they rested on
Was the Saviour, David's royal Son.
O rapture past all telling!
The bliss that vision brought!
Could a whole life's praises thank Him
For the wonder He had wrought?
Yet is Jesus the same to-day as then,
Bringing light and joy to the souls of men.