John Gardiner Calkins Brainard Poems >>
The Good Samaritan

WHO bleeds in the desert, faint, naked, and torn,
Left lonely to wait for the coming of morn?
The last sigh from his breast, the last drop from his heart,
The last tear from his eyelid, seem ready to part.
He looks to the east with a death-swimming eye,
Once more the blest beams of the morning to spy;
For penniless, friendless, and houseless he's lying,
And he shudders to think, that in darkness he's dying.
Yon meteor! - 't is ended as soon as begun -
Yon gleam of the lightning! it is not the sun;
They brighten and pass - but the glory of day
Is warm while it shines, and does good on its way.
How brightly the morning breaks out from the east!
Who walks down the path to get tithes for his priest?
It is not the Robber who plundered and fled;
'T is a Levite. He turns from the wretched his head.
Who walks in his robes from Jerusalem's halls?
Who comes to Samaria from Ilia's walls?
There is pride in his step - there is hate in his eye;
There is scorn on his lip, as he proudly walks by.
'T is thy Priest, thy proud city, now splendid and fair;
A few years shall pass thee, - and who shall be there?
Mount Gerizim looks on the valleys that spread
From the foot of high Ebal, to Esdrelon's head;
The torrent of Kison rolls black through the plain,
And Tabor sends out its fresh floods to that main,
Which, purpled with fishes, flows rich with the dies
That flash from their fins, and shine out from their eyes.
How sweet are the streams: but how purer the fountain,
That gushes and wells from Samaria's mountain!
From Galilee's city the Cuthite comes out,
And by Jordan-washed Thirza, with purpose devout,
To pay at the altar of Gerizim's shrine,
And offer his incense of oil and of wine.
He follows his heart, that with eagerness longs
For Samaria's anthems, and Syria's songs.
He sees the poor Hebrew: he stops on the way.
-By the side of the wretched 't is better to pray,
Than to visit the holiest temple that stands
In the thrice blessed places of Palestine's lands.
The oil that was meant for Mount Gerizim's ground,
Would better be poured on the sufferer's wound;
For no incense more sweetly, more purely can rise
From the altars of earth to the throne of the skies,
No libation more rich can be offered below,
Than that which is tendered to anguish and woe.