The Stranger and His Friend.
Montgomery and Denison. Tune, "Duane Street."
A poor way-faring man of grief,
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief,
That I could never answer nay;
I had not power to ask his name,
Whither he went or
whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye,
Which won my love, I knew not why.
Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered — not a word he spake —
Just perishing for want of bread,
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again:
Mine was an angel's portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.
'Twas night. The floods were out, it blew
A winter hurricane aloof;
I heard his voice abroad, and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof;
I warmed, I clothed, I cheered my guest,
I laid him on my couch to rest:
Then made the ground my bed and seemed
In Eden's garden while I dreamed.
I saw him bleeding in his chains,
And tortured 'neath the driver's lash,
His sweat fell fast along the plains,
Deep dyed from many a fearful gash:
But I in bonds remembered him,
And strove to free each fettered limb,
As with my tears I washed his blood,
Me he baptized with mercy's flood.
I saw him in the negro pew,
His head hung low upon his breast,
His locks were wet with drops of dew,
Gathered while he for entrance pressed
Within those aisles, whose courts are given
That black and white may reach one heaven;
And as I meekly sought his feet,
He smiled, and made a throne my seat.
In prison I saw him next condemned
To meet a traitor's doom at morn;
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him midst shame and scorn.
My friendship's utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die;
The flesh was weak, my blood ran chill
But the free spirit cried, "I will."
Then in a moment to my view,
The stranger darted from disguise;
The tokens in his hands I knew,
My Saviour stood before my eyes!
He spoke, and my poor name he named —
"Of me thou hast not been ashamed,
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me."