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Some poems by Edward Dudley Jackson (1803 - 1879)

Rector of St Thomas, Heaton Norris (1844 - 1879).
Son of Edward Dudley Jackson. Grandson of Edward Dudley Jackson (dissenting minister). Father of Edward Dudley Jackson (barrister).

Taken from a book published in 1870

THE CROSS I sat beneath the Cross, and on my ear
Fell endless sounds of horror, guilt, and fear
And wondering, I beheld around my God
With insult flock the loud, blaspheming Throng,
Yet smote not outraged Heaven's avenging rod.
But, then, O! pleading Love! I beard Thy song-
O'er the parched waste it fell, like Hennon's dew,
"Father! forgive ; they know not what they do."

The world, I knew, had long grown grey in guilt
Since the first blood of righteous Abel spilt.
By Martyrs gore is drenched the hoary ground,
With bones of saints are all our valleys white,
And now the mountain of our sins is crowned.
Then from this Cross, why, Justice! why not smite,
And the huge Golgotha with ruins strew ?
" Father! forgive; they know not what they do."

Ye Hosts of God ! that stand in glittering state,
And, like the Lightning Flashes, ready wait,
Why in this hour of hours so harmless blaze
Your flaming two-edged swords? Hear ye no cries,
E'en from His tongue who measured out your days
And at whose nod all being lives or dies?
Ye hear, but those soft tones for mercy woo-
"Father! forgive ; they know not what they do."

I looked - around the cross was midnight gloom,
Egyptian darkness, like the day of doom ;
Shame-faced, the Sun had vanished, and the World
Sat shuddering, conscience-stricken, above her grave:
Nature's great agony ! Why not unfurled
Was Heaven's black flag revengeful seen to wave?
Hark! 'tis His voice, whom crimson tears bedew,
"Father! forgive; they know not what they do."

I looked again, and sudden on my sight
Burst full again the days returning light;
The Cross was gone, and He who on it died.
Priests, Soldiers, Gazers, all had passed away;
But near a new-hewn grave in silence glide
Footsteps I saw, that feared the morning light.
E'en from that tomb methought re-echoed too,
"Father! forgive; they know not what they do."

O! Thou once crucified, in gladness pure,
I know of nail and spear the marks endure ;
O! Lamb once slain, Great Intercessor! there
When threatening Fires of righteous anger burn,
Dost Thou not all Thy flowing wounds unbare,
And Wrath, as at the Cross, to Mercy turn?
Who shall despair with Thee at hand to sue?
"Father! forgive ; they know not what they do"

I LAID my mother in the tomb,
And my heart seemed broken quite;
The world to me was steep'd in gloom,
Without one spot of light ;
But now once more I can rejoice,
For my spirit upward springing,
I hear my mother's gentle voice
Among the angels singing.

Her shape, how wondrous bright it seems
And sparkling o'er with grace,
And what a world of pleasure beams
Upon her radiant face.
But oh! her voice- no matin lark
In adoration winging,
Can hope to equal hers - for, hark !
She's with the angels singing.

I love to hear that tongue divine
With seraphs wander free,
For still my mother's heart is mine,
She yet remembers me.
Before the throne her orphan child
In supplication bringing,
She pleads, a spirit undefiled,
With all the angels singing.

O mother! not in vain thy prayers
Are registered above;
How lighten'd thus are all my cares!
How sown my path with love !
Around me, as I onward roam,
They endless light are flinging,
Till I at last arrive at home,
And with the angels singing.

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