I like to think of the many words
The Master in his early days
Must have spoken to them of Nazareth
Words not freighted with life and death,
Piercing through soul and heart like swords.
But gracious greeting and grateful phrase,
The simple speech
That plain folk utter each to each.
Ere over him too darkly lay
The prophet shadow of Calvary,
I think he talked in very truth
With the innocent gayety of youth,
Laughing upon some festal day,
Gently, with sinless boyhood's glee.
I think if he had ever said
To a mother apart,
Cradling her baby's shining head,
"Thy man-child is strong of limb and heart,"
She must have been from that gladsome day
Thrilled with enduring pride alway,
Fearless of any future dread,
Knowing the son upon her knee
Worthy her pain and love would be.
Or if by the dusty wayside well,
From the glare and heat
Of the burning noon a wayfarer sought
A moment's rest where the palm shade fell,
And he said to him, "The day is hot,
And your road is rough for wandering feet,"
Then I think on his way the pilgrim went
As one who has shared in a sacrament,
Feeling no longer on him press
The burden of his weariness.
If he said to a maid, "The sunset lies
Redly on Nazareth hills to-night,"
Each sunset of her life would bring
A benedictive memory
Of his haunting face and holy eyes;
Or if to a bridegroom thus in spring,
"The wife of thy youth is fair and wise,"
So would she ever have seemed to be
In her husband's sight.
If he but bade a passing guest
His meal to share,
Would not the one so honored deem
Himself of all most highly blessed,
The food he ate heaven's manna rare?
Or when he to a friend addressed
A word of thanks for service done,
Or homely, familiar favor, none
Of richer recompense could dream.
No evangelist's golden pen
Wrote them for us
The words of the Master to those he might meet
By the carpenter's bench or in Nazareth street
But in them I think there well might be
It is surely sweet to fancy thus
All of the benediction for men
All of the tender humanity,
That leaven the words of his later age
On the holy page.