Simon the Cyrenian.

A Christian Ballad.

Come out of the country,*1
Hasting up and down,2
Making of his markets3
In the busy town :4
Simon the Cyrenian5
Suddenly stands by,6
While the shouting people7
Lead out Christ to die.8
Simon the Cyrenian9
Is an honest man,10
For his wife and children11
Labours all he can :12
Owes no one a penny,13
Does no deed of shame,14
Lets no breath of slander15
Touch his father’s name.16
Busy schemes and projects17
Fill his fertile brain,18
Thoughts of home and quiet19
Once there back again !20
Plans of pelf and profit,21
Guardings against loss,22
In his lot no crook is,23
In his dreams no cross.24

* Luke xxiii. 26.
Fair his home and pleasant,25
Gentle loving wife,26
Bright obedient children .27
Comforts of his life :28
Goodly Alexander,*29
Both his prop and pride,30
And the little Rufus31
Prattling by his side.32
Through the chinks of business33
Dreamings of them all34
Soft as summer sunshine35
On his heart do fall :36
For them is his labour,37
In them his delight,38
Never, never ending,39
Morning, noon, and night.40
Late from far Cyrene,41
And their pagan home,42
To the land of Promise43
He and his had come :44
Care and culture seeking45
For both heart and mind,46
Which in Libyan darkness47
They had failed to find.48

* Mark xv. 21.
He “ The Book ” had studied,49
On its sacred lore50
Oft in meditation51
Deeply would he pore :52
And the Holy Temple53
Often had he sought,54
Wond’ring at the lessons55
All its symbols taught.56
But as yet his spirit57
Found not rest or peace,58
All its hungry longings59
Would not, could not cease :60
Beautiful the shadows61
Lying all around,62
But the glorious substance,63
Where could it be found ?64
He had heard of Jesus,65
Of each work and word66
That had made Him famous67
Often had he heard :68
And his heart within him69
Burn’d to think that He70
Of those types and symbols71
Might the substance be.72
Though his eye had never73
Rested on the Lord,74
Nor his ear had ever75
Heard one living word,76
Still he felt the shadows77
Soon must flee away,78
Felt the inner dawning79
Of a coming day.80
To the sacred city81
He that day had come,82
Half to do the business83
Of his happy home :84
Half in hope, that haply85
He might there behold86
That exceeding wonder87
Of which all men told.88
Thus it was that morning,89
At the city’s gate,90
Those out-rushing thousands91
Made him pause and wait :92
While with rage infuriate93
They went sweeping by,94
Shouting round their victim,95
Shouting— “ Crucify !”96
Simon the Cyrenian97
Stood in speechless awe,98
Wond’ring who could be this99
Breaker of the law :100
Was it he who lately101
Stirr’d sedition’s flood ?102
Was it black Barabbas103
Stain’d with guilt and blood ?104
Then the people round him105
Spake out of their tears,106
Not the malefactor107
This, that He appears :108
Good and kind and gentle109
All His life approved,110
By the common people111
Wondrously beloved.”112
I,” said one, “ from childhood113
Upward, had been blind,114
But mine eyes He open’d,115
O so wondrous kind.”116
I,” another answer’d,117
Till His voice I heard118
And my tongue He loosen’d,119
Never spake a word.”120
I, opprest with palsy121
Laid down at His feet,122
Rose up,” says another,123
At His bidding sweet .124
And forth from His presence125
My poor bed did bear,126
But sin’s heavier burden127
Left behind me there.”128
I was once a leper,”129
Said a weeping man ;130
Not one of the children,131
A Samaritan !132
He from me a stranger133
Cleansed my lep’rous skin.”134
He,” sighed weeping Mary,135
Cleansed my soul from sin.”136
I,” a young voice whisper’d,137
On my little bed138
Lay for burial, but He139
Raised me from the dead.”140
Me,” another answer’d,141
From the grave He kept.”142
I was dead and buried,”143
Silent Lazarus wept.144
Veil’d from observation.145
Hidden in the crowd,146
One who writhed in anguish147
Wept her griefs aloud :148
Me for condemnation149
Unto Him they bore,150
But He only answer’d,151
Go, and sin no more.’ ”152
In the tombs, a madman,153
Me His love did find,154
At His feet He set me155
Clothed, in my right mind.”156
Me, sore tried, discouraged,157
As was just and meet,158
He let crumbs of comfort159
Gather at His feet.”160
Were the people weary ?161
He was by their side !162
Far from home and hungry163
Did for them provide !164
Faint and famish’d thousands165
Often did He feed,166
With His simple blessing167
In their time of need.”168
Thus the many praised Him ;169
But the rabble-cry170
Surged up through their blessings,171
Shouting— “ Crucify !”172
And the people’s teachers173
(Who their rage should still)174
Stirr’d the under-current175
Of their wicked will.176
Simon the Cyrenian,177
Pressing through the throng,178
Sought to see the victim179
Forced by them along :180
And at once he knew Him181
By the signs of woe182
That the sacred prophets183
Spake of long ago.184
Such a Man of Sorrows !185
Slighted and despised,186
With our grief acquainted187
And for us chastised :188
Smitten and afflicted,189
Raised He not His head,190
As a lamb to slaughter191
Meek and silent led.192
Comeliness or beauty193
In Him was there none,194
Yet the inward glory195
Of the God out-shone :196
Shone through all His being,197
Though His form was then198
Marrèd more than any199
Of the sons of men.200
On His bended shoulder201
He His cross up-bore,202
Under its dread burden203
Labouring right sore :204
Labouring and fainting205
Till, beneath its weight,206
He fell down exhausted.207
At the city gate.208
Then, in cruel pity,209
Fearing lest he die :210
Suddenly, nor suffer211
Death’s long agony ;212
They look’d round for some one213
Who His cross might bear,214
And His shame and burden :215
Condescend to share.216
Ah ! how late in triumph217
Had they strewn His way !218
Shouting their hosannas !219
’Twas but yesterday !220
Are there-none their succour221
Ready now to bring ?222
Help the Son of David !223
Israel ! help your King !224
Simon the Cyrenian,225
When he saw Him fall,226
Rush’d to help the mighty227
Helper of us all :228
And, with tears of anguish229
From his heart out-poured,230
Raised the cross accursèd231
From his fainting Lord.232
So they made him bear it,233
And with willing heart234
Stoop’d he down to share it235
More than was his part :236
Thankful for the mercy237
That did him accord238
This great grace, to suffer239
With his suff’ring Lord.240
Godless men look’d sneering241
At the piteous case242
Of the slave, who came of243
Ham’s accursed race :244
His meet place,” they mutter’d,245
Gentile dog ! and vile !”246
But their coarse revilings247
Heard he not the while.248
For his heart was busy249
With its new-found joy,250
Proud of what they slighted251
His new-found employ :252
If he could but lighten253
That cross by his aid,254
For its little burden255
He were well repaid.256
Then soft-whisper’d comforts257
Came to him from God,258
From the gentle Master259
In whose steps he trod :260
Wouldst thou, O my servant !261
Ever with me be ?262
Take my cross, and follow,263
Meekly follow me.”264
Weary, heavy-laden,265
Sore with sin opprest,266
Come to me for comfort,267
I will give you rest :268
More than all thy labour269
Will my love requite,270
For my yoke is easy271
And my burden light.”272
Then came that fierce struggle,273
In which God did win274
Freedom for His people :275
From the guilt of sin.276
Then came that fierce struggle,277
Through which man doth prove278
In God’s felt forgiveness279
All the bliss of love ;280
All the sacred lessons281
Of the Holy Cross,282
All the peace of pardon,283
All the gain of loss.284
From that tree, accursèd.285
By sin’s mortal strife,286
Gather’d he the fruitage287
Of the Tree of Life.288
Three long days he waited289
Till he saw Him rise ;290
Then for forty—till he291
Lost Him in the skies :292
Then—until The Spirit293
(On the Church outpour’d)294
Brought to those who lost Him295
Back their living Lord.296
Then—when all the nations297
God’s eternal word298
Each in his own language299
From th’ apostles heard :300
He—from far Cyrene301
In no foreign speech,302
But in home’s loved accents303
Heard St. Peter preach.*304
Back to home, to tell of305
All that now he knows,306
Simon the Cyrenian307
Full of gladness goes :308
To his worldly business309
Giving little thought,310
Fuller of the treasure311
Of the truth he brought.312
How their hearts received it313
God’s own records tell,314
Loved it, and believed it,315
Oh so wondrous well !316
For the Great Apostle317
Left this sacred line,318
Salute Rufus chosen,319
And his mother, mine.” †320

* Acts ii. 10.
Rom. xvi. 13.
Now, good Christian people,321
Learn this truth, I pray,322
From the simple story323
Told to you this day ;324
Of the unknown pathway,325
Oft unwitting trod,326
By which the Cyrenian327
Found his way to God.328
Often to the market,329
Often through the town,330
Carelessly and thoughtless331
Go we up and down :332
Heav’n but little heeded,333
Deem’d of little worth,334
Caring only for the335
Little things of earth.336
But the God who made us,337
And would save us too,338
Willeth not that any339
Should themselves undo :340
But with tender goodness341
Doth before us go,342
Leading by a pathway343
That we do not know.344
A robed figure lies face down underneath a large cross. Another man wearing a turban lifts the cross. A crowd of people watch in the background. 1/2-page illustration contained within a single-ruled border.
Where we least expect Him345
There He doth us meet ;346
In the quiet homestead,347
In the busy street :348
Holds us gently backward349
When toward sin we move,350
Draws us gently onward351
By constraining love.352
Wait upon His mercies !353
Pray, and look on high,354
For a gracious answer355
Will come by-and-by.356
Never doubt His promise357
Or faith’s full reward,358
Wait, I say, in patience,359
Wait upon the Lord !360
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