All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/"The Common People heard Him gladly"


THE common people heard Him gladly;"
O tender words of life divine!
Where'er among thy blessed teachings
Runs there a sweeter, fairer line?
The Pharisee, with captious question,
Still doubted what He came to teach;

While watching priest and lordly Levite
Listened, to catch Him in His speech.

The ruler over great possessions,
Though sorrowful, came back no more;
And kingly Herod, conscience-smitten
For what the bloody charger bore,
Trembled within his guarded chamber,
Lest that which bought a woman s smile
Had breathed again, and stood before him,
With watchword won on Patmos isle.

But common folk, in sin and sorrow—
The fisherman, with broken net;
The hungry crowd, upon the mountain;
Meek Magdalen, with tresses wet;
Sweet children, with their speech unfettered
And unrebuked, about His knee;
The triple household, meek and lowly,
Whom Jesus loved at Bethany;

The sick, the blind, the lonely widow—
All homeless ones, in this akin,
That He too had no waiting pillow,
No home where He might enter in,—
What wonder these, the common people,
Should hear Him gladly, as He told
The story sweet of homes in glory,
To them so new, to us so old!

He wore no trailing robe of splendor,
He asked no incense-clouded rite;

His temple was the sky above him;
His crown the starry one of night;
Mingling with publicans and sinners,
Hungry and weary by the way,
He spoke at first among the lowly
The words whose echo lives to-day.