Littell's Living Age/Volume 131/Issue 1693/The Crucifix

For works with similar titles, see Crucifix.

THE CRUCIFIX.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "CHRONICLES OF THE
SCHONBERG-COTTA FAMILY."

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit."
[This very ancient crucifix is sculptured on the exterior
wall of the Abbey Church of Romsey. Its characteristic
is a hand reaching down from the clouds, over the
cross. It is said to be unique.]

In a quiet nook it standeth,
Which careless eyes might miss,
That image of Thy sorrow,
And fountain of our bliss.

Low within reach it standeth,
Close to the old church, door,
And by the common pathway,
Appealing evermore.

Low on the wall, that never
The dimmest eyes may miss,
And the lips of the little children
May reach the feet to kiss.

That humble, simple image,
Wrought by the hands of old;
Good hands! that so many ages
Helpless have grown and cold.

That blessed, sacred image
Born of the heart of old
That through the endless ages
Shall nevermore grow cold.

In the common stone rude-carven,
By no great artist's touch;
Yet never the wide world over
Will you find another such.

You may search the wide world over
From freezing to burning zone,
You will never find another
Quite like this only one.

Deep, deep the nails are driven
In the hands they crucified —
So deep, the nails you see not,
But only the arms stretched wide.

And over the head, so weary,
Bowing itself to die,
An open hand down-reaching
Forth from the clouded sky.

The torturers' hands have finished;
His hands are nailèd fast;
"Into thy hands my spirit —
Father, thy hands!" — at last.

. . . . . . . .


Lord, ere thou call our spirits
Within thy hands to be,
Give us some such dear likeness
To leave behind of thee.

Hid in some quiet corner,
Cut in the common stone,
Poor, yet our best, we pray thee,
Our best, and our very own.

. . . . . . . .


Dear Lord, our hearts grow bolder;
We dare to ask much more,
Knowing the more we ask thee,
Thou art hut pleased the more.

Give us to be that image
By the common paths like this:
Low, where the dimmest vision,
The features need not miss;
Low, where the lips of the children
May reach to cling and kiss.

Where the nails to the cross which fix us,
So deep in the wounds may hide,
That men see no more the torture,
But only the arms stretched wide.

A humble, simple image,
Cut in the common stone;
Like thee, yet like no other,
Because thy very own.

Sunday Magazine.