University of Virginia Library


Sinner?—So spake the saint, a man
Long tarrying in Jewry's court.
With him the faith so well could sort
His home he'd left, nor turned again,
His home by Narraganset's marge,
Giving those years on death which verge
Fondly to that enthusiast part
Oft coming of a stricken heart
Unselfish, which finds solace so.
Though none in sooth might hope to know,
And few surmise his forepast bane,
Such needs have been; since seldom yet
Lone liver was, or wanderer met,
Except he closeted some pain
Or memory thereof. But thence
May be, was given him deeper sense
Of all that travail life can lend,
Which man may scarce articulate
Better than herds which share. What end?
How hope? turn whither? where was gate
For expectation, save the one
Of beryl, pointed by St. John?
That gate would open, yea, and Christ
Thence issue, come unto His own,
And earth be re-imparadised.


Passages, presages he knew:
Zion restore, convert the Jew,
Reseat him here, the waste bedew;
Then Christ returneth: so it ran.
No founded mission chartered him;
Single in person as in plan,
Absorbed he ranged, in method dim,
A flitting tract-dispensing man:
Tracts in each text scribe ever proved
In East which he of Tarsus roved.
Though well such heart might sainthood claim,
Unjust alloy to reverence came.
In Smyrna's mart (sojourning there
Waiting a ship for Joppa's stair)
Pestered he passed thro' Gentile throngs
Teased by an eddying urchin host,
His tracts all fluttering like tongues
The fire-flakes of the Pentecost.
Deep read he was in seers devout,
The which forecast Christ's second prime,
And on his slate would cipher out
The mystic days and dates sublime,
And “Time and times and half a time
Expound he could; and more reveal;
Yet frequent would he feebly steal
Close to one's side, asking, in way
Of weary age—the hour of day.
But how he lived, and what his fare,
Ravens and angels, few beside,
Dreamed or divined. His garments spare
True marvel seemed, nor unallied
To clothes worn by that wandering band
Which ranged and ranged the desert sand
With Moses; and for forty years,
Which two-score times re-clad the spheres


In green, and plumed the birds anew,
One vesture wore. From home he brought
The garb which still met sun and dew,
Ashen in shade, by rustics wrought.
Latin, Armenian, Greek, and Jew
Full well the harmless vagrant kenned,
The small meek face, the habit gray:
In him they owned our human clay.
The Turk went further: let him wend;
Him Allah cares for, holy one:
A Santon held him; and was none
Bigot enough scorn's shaft to send.
For, say what cynic will or can,
Man sinless is revered by man
Thro' all the forms which creeds may lend.
And so, secure, nor pointed at,
Among brave Turbans freely roamed the Hai.