George A. Mackenzie

(20 July 1849-1899 / Toronto)

'Compel Them To Come In' - Poem by George A. Mackenzie

I was a beggar of most evil fame,
Uncleanly, ragged, full of sores and scars:
Steeped in deceits and sunk in shame,
The hedge my bed and husks my daily bread,
Never a baser thing crept under Heaven's stars.

Before the palace of the King I strayed,
And saw the splendid casements filled with light.
A feast for the King's Son was made.
With sordid hate, I cursed their royal state,
Lifting my impious hands, out there in the black night.

A marvel then! I saw the doors wide swung,
And in a burst of light and joyous press
Of music on the darkness flung,
Straight to my place, with swift, composed pace,
The royal servants came, swift and with strong duress.

With strong duress unto the palace gate
They dragged my unwilling feet and held me fast.
Lo! there the Prince Himself did wait.
On my distress and ragged nakedness
He looked, and His gold-broidered cloke about me cast.

O dear compassion! Heavenly ruth! O true
And knightly deed that won my callous breast
To shame and love! In that high retinue
I stood with lowered brow. But the King said, 'Thou
Hast honour of my Son: henceforward be My guest!'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012

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