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ABRAHAM

I will sing a song of heroes

Crowned with manhood's diadem, Men that lift us, when we love them,

Into nobler life with them.

I will sing a song of heroes

To their God-sent mission true, From the ruin of the old times

Grandly forth to shape the new;

Men that, like a strong-winged zephyr,

Come with freshness and with power, Bracing fearful hearts to grapple

With the problem of the hour;

Men whose prophet-voice of warning

Stirs the dull, and spurs the slow,
Till the big heart of a people

Swells with hopeful overflow.

I will sing the son of Terah,

ABRAHAM in tented state,
With his sheep and goats and asses,

Bearing high behests from Fate;

Journeying from beyond Euphrates, .

Where cool Orfa’s bubbling well
Lured the Greek, and lured the Roman,

By its verdurous fringe to dwell ; 1

When he left the flaming idols,

Sun by day and Moon by night,
To believe in something deeper

Than the shows that brush the sight,

1 Edessa, according to a very general Jewish tradition, was the Ur of the Chaldees ; but some modern inquirers prefer Mugheir, on the right bank of the Euphrates, in the bitumen district, about 120 miles above the sea.

And, as a traveller wisely trusteth

To a practised guide and true, So he owned the Voice that called him

From the faithless Heathen crew.

And he travelled from Damascus

Southward where the torrent tide Of the sons of Ammon mingles

With the Jordan's swelling pride,

To the pleasant land of Shechem,

To the flowered and fragrant ground 'Twixt Mount Ebal and Gerizim,

Where the bubbling wells abound;

To the stony slopes of Bethel,

And to Hebron's greening glade, Where the grapes with weighty fruitage

Droop beneath the leafy shade.

And he pitched his tent in Mamre,

’Neath an oak-tree tall and broad,

And with pious care an altar

Built there to the one true God.

And the voice of God came near him,

And the angels of the Lord ’Neath the broad and leafy oak-tree

Knew his hospitable board ;

And they hailed him with rare blessing

For all peoples richly stored, Father of the faithful, elect

Friend of God, Almighty Lord.

And he sojourned 'mid the people

With high heart and weighty arm, Wise to rein their wandering worship,

Strong to shield their homes from harm.

And fat Nile's proud Pharaohs owned him,

As a strong God-favoured man, Like Osiris, casting broadly

Largess to the human clan.

And he lived long years a witness

To the pure high-thoughted creed, That in the ripeness of the ages Grew to serve our mortal need.

Not a priest, and not a churchman,

From all proud pretension free, Shepherd-chief and shepherd-warrior,

Human-faced like you and me ;

Human-faced and human-hearted,

To the pure religion true; Purer than the gay and sensuous Grecian, wider than the Jew.

Common sire, whom Jew and Christian,

Turk and Arab, name with praise ; Common as the sun that shines

On East and West with brothered rays.

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