Scripture Verse

Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? Luke 13:7


Parable of the Fig Tree
Jan Luyken, Bowyer Bible, 1795

Words: Jo­seph Har­bot­tle, in the Com­pre­hen­sive Rip­pon, 1844.

Music: Ab­er­deen pos­si­bly by An­drew Tait, in James Chal­mers’ un­ti­tled col­lect­ion, 1749. Me­lo­dy from Ru­di­ments of Mu­sic, by Ro­bert Brem­ner, 1756 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Har­bot­tle or Tait (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


See how the fruit­less fig tree stands
Beneath the own­er’s frown;
The axe is lift­ed in his hands,
To cut the cum­ber­er down.

Year af­ter year I come, he cries,
And still no fruit is shown;
I see but emp­ty leaves arise;
Then cut the cum­ber­er down.

The axe of death at one sharp stroke,
Shall make my jus­tice known;
Each bough shall trem­ble at the shock
Which cuts the cum­ber­er down.

Sinner, be­ware—the axe of death
Is raised, and aimed at thee;
Awhile thy mak­er spares thy breath;
Beware, O bar­ren tree!