Verse > Anthologies > W. Garrett Horder, ed. > The Poets’ Bible: New Testament
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W. Garrett Horder, comp.  The Poets’ Bible: New Testament.  1895.
 
Peter and Cornelius
John Keble (1792–1866)
 
‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him.’—ACTS X. 34, 35.

GO up and watch the new-born rill
  Just trickling from its mossy bed,
    Streaking the heath-clad hill
      With a bright emerald thread.
 
Canst thou her bold career foretell,        5
  What rocks she shall o’erleap or rend,
    How far in ocean’s swell
      Her freshening billows send?
 
Perchance that little brook shall flow
  The bulwark of some mighty realm,        10
    Bear navies to and fro
      With monarchs at their helm.
 
Or canst thou guess how far away
  Some sister nymph, beside her urn
    Reclining night and day,        15
      Mid reeds and mountain fern,
 
Nurses her store, with thine to blend,
  When many a moor and glen are past,
    Then in the wide sea end
      Their spotless lives at last?        20
 
Even so, the course of prayer who knows?
  It springs in silence where it will,
    Springs out of sight, and flows
      At first a lonely rill:
 
But streams shall meet it by-and-by        25
  From thousand sympathetic hearts,
    Together swelling high
      Their chant of many parts.
 
Unheard by all but Angel ears
  The good Cornelius knelt alone,        30
    Nor dream’d his prayers and tears
      Would help a world undone.
 
The while upon his terrac’d roof
  The lov’d Apostle to his Lord
    In silent thought aloof        35
      For heavenly vision soar’d.
 
Far o’er the glowing western main
  His wistful brow was upward raised,
    Where, like an Angel’s train,
      The burnish’d water blaz’d.        40
 
The saint beside the ocean pray’d,
  The soldier in his chosen bower,
    Where all his eye survey’d
      Seem’d sacred in that hour.
 
To each unknown his brother’s prayer,        45
  Yet brethren true in dearest love
    Were they—and now they share
      Fraternal joys above.
 
There daily through Christ’s open gate
  They see the Gentile spirits press,        50
    Brightening their high estate
      With dearer happiness.
 
What civic wreath for comrades sav’d
  Shone ever with such deathless gleam,
    Or when did perils brav’d        55
      So sweet to veterans seem?
 
 
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