Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
VI. Human Experience
“I saw Thee”
Ray Palmer (1808–1887)
 
“When thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.”—JOHN i. 48.

I SAW thee when, as twilight fell,
  And evening lit her fairest star,
Thy footsteps sought yon quiet dell,
  The world’s confusion left afar.
 
I saw thee when thou stood’st alone,        5
  Where drooping branches thick o’erhung,
Thy still retreat to all unknown,
  Hid in deep shadows darkly flung.
 
I saw thee when, as died each sound
  Of bleating flock or woodland bird,        10
Kneeling, as if on holy ground,
  Thy voice the listening silence heard.
 
I saw thy calm, uplifted eyes,
  And marked the heaving of thy breast,
When rose to heaven thy heartfelt sighs        15
  For purer life, for perfect rest.
 
I saw the light that o’er thy face
  Stole with a soft, suffusing glow,
As if, within, celestial grace
  Breathed the same bliss that angels know.        20
 
I saw—what thou didst not—above
  Thy lowly head an open heaven;
And tokens of thy Father’s love
  With smiles to thy rapt spirit given.
 
I saw thee from that sacred spot        25
  With firm and peaceful soul depart;
I, Jesus, saw thee,—doubt it not,—
  And read the secrets of thy heart!
 
 
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