R1380-69 Poem: “Peace Be Upon Thee”

::R1380 : page 69::


[In a recent book, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Over the Teacups,” the following beautiful stanzas are found. The author introduces them with these words:—

I was crowded between two children of Israel, and gave free inward expression to my feelings. All at once I happened to look more closely at one of my neighbors, and saw that the youth was the very ideal of the Son of Mary.]

A fresh, young cheek whose olive hue
The mantling blood shows faintly through;
Locks dark as midnight, that divide
And shade the neck on either side;
Soft, gentle, loving eyes that gleam
Clear as a starlit mountain stream;
So looked that other child of Shem,
The maiden’s Boy of Bethlehem!

—And thou couldst scorn the peerless blood
That flows unmingled from the Flood,—
Thy scutcheon spotted with the stains
Of Norman thieves and pirate Danes!
The New World’s foundling, in thy pride
Scowl on the Hebrew at thy side,
And lo! the very semblance there
The Lord of Glory deigned to wear!

I see that radiant image rise,
The flowing hair, the pitying eyes,
The faintly crimsoned cheek that shows
The blush of Sharon’s opening rose,—
Thy hands would clasp his hallowed feet
Whose brethren soil thy Christian seat,
Thy lips would press his garments hem
That curl in wrathful scorn for them!

A sudden mist, a watery screen,
Dropped like a veil before the scene;
The shadow floated from my soul,
And to my lips a whisper stole:—
“Thy prophets caught the Spirit’s flame,
From thee the Son of Mary came,
With thee the Father deigned to dwell,—
Peace be upon thee, Israel!”


— March 1, 1892 —