Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Personal Poems
The Cross
 
          Richard Dillingham, a young member of the Society of Friends, died in the Nashville penitentiary, where he was confined for the act of aiding the escape of fugitive slaves.

“THE CROSS, if rightly borne, shall be
No burden, but support to thee;” 1
So, moved of old time for our sake,
The holy monk of Kempen spake.
 
Thou brave and true one! upon whom        5
Was laid the cross of martyrdom,
How didst thou, in thy generous youth,
Bear witness to this blessed truth!
 
Thy cross of suffering and of shame
A staff within thy hands became,        10
In paths where faith alone could see
The Master’s steps supporting thee.
 
Thine was the seed-time; God alone
Beholds the end of what is sown;
Beyond our vision, weak and dim,        15
The harvest-time is hid with Him.
 
Yet, unforgotten where it lies,
That seed of generous sacrifice,
Though seeming on the desert cast,
Shall rise with bloom and fruit at last.

  1852.
        20
 
Note 1. Thomas à Kempis in De Imitatione Christi. [back]
 
 
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