BETA

IN THE FOURTH WATCH OF THE NIGHT.

St. Matthew xiv. 22—23.
Lo, in the moonless night,1
In the rough wind’s despite,2
They ply the oar.3
Keen gusts smite in their teeth ;4
The hoarse waves chafe beneath5
With muffled roar.6
Numb fingers, failing force,7
Scarce serve to hold the course8
Hard-won half-way,9
When o’er the tossing tide,10
Pallid and heavy-eyed,11
Scowls the dim day.12
And now in the wan light,13
Walking the waters white,14
A shape draws near.15
Each soul, in troubled wise,16
Staring with starting eyes,17
Cries out for fear.18
Each grasps his neighbour tight,19
In helpless huddled fright20
Shaken and swayed.21
And lo ! the Master nigh22
Speaks softly, “ It is I ;23
Be not afraid.”24
E’en so to us that strain25
Over life’s moaning main26
Thou drawest near,27
And, knowing not Thy guise,28
We gaze with troubled eyes,29
And cry for fear.30
A strange voice whispers low,31
This joy must thou forego,32
Thy first and best.”33
A shrouded phantom stands34
Crossing the best-loved hands35
For churchyard rest.36
Then, soft as is the fall37
Of that white gleaming pall38
By snowflakes made,39
Stilling each startled cry,40
Thou speakest, “ It is I ;41
Be not afraid.”42