Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Saint John Baptist
By William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585–1649)
 
THE LAST and greatest Herald of Heaven’s King
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he than man more harmless found, and mild.
His food was locusts, and what there doth spring        5
With honey that from virgin hives distill’d;
Parch’d body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing
Made him appear, long since from earth exiled.
There burst he forth: ‘All ye whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn;        10
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!’
—Who listen’d to his voice, obey’d his cry?
Only the echoes, which he made relent,
Rung from their flinty caves, ‘Repent! Repent!’
 
 
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