Scripture Verse

He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables. John 2:15


Purification of the Temple
William B. Hole

Words: Ed­wi­na S. Bab­cock, be­fore 1918, alt.

Music: York­shire John Wain­right, 1750 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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


That day the doves with bur­nished sil­ver breasts
Uneasy were; we, halt and blind and lame,
Within the tem­ple wait­ed, ug­ly guests,
Hoping, in spite of filth, dis­ease and shame;
Outside the mul­ti­tude waved branch­es green
And called, Ho­san­na to the Na­za­rene.

I shrank close to the roof-prop, for my eyes
Were dead to see­ing: but heard I the coins,
The piles of clink­ing silver shek­els rise,
Poured from sheiks’ bags
And belts ’round mer­chant loins;
I heard the pur­ple priced; and in be­tween
Far off, Ho­san­na to the Na­za­rene.

I could not see Him en­ter, but I heard
The mul­ti­tude and smelled the dus­ty throng:
Old An­ab brushed me with his rag­ged beard,
Muttering, Kneel, thou! He will speak ere long.
Yea—though five time more lep­rous I had been
I would come here to im­plore the Na­za­rene.

But then the wo­man Ter­ah, ill of pox,
Began to whim­per, See, He bring­eth woe!
He over­turns the booths, the trea­sure box,
Eyes blaz­ing on the sell­ers. Let us go!
He’ll scourge us, smite us! Tush! It is well seen
We shall be curs­èd of the Na­za­rene.

A form swept past us, we in ter­ror caught
A man’s clear voice of an­ger: then the sound
Of fleei­ng feet of traf­fick­ers, on­slaught
On booths, and ta­bles crash­ing to the ground.
I heard the mo­ney scat­ter and ca­reen
Under the spurn­ing of the Na­za­rene.

Rachel, a maid­en, clutched my sleeve, and shrank
With me be­hind the cur­tain, and the crowd
Surged wild­ly past. For us, our dear hopes sank
Under that stern voice cut­ting like a goad,
Judging, ar­raign­ing, charg­ing; ’mid the spleen
Of mon­ey-chang­ers, stood the Na­za­rene!

This tem­ple is My house, the House of Pray­er!
His voice was like the wind that whips the leaves.
But with your buy­ings and your sell­ings there
Ye—ye have made My house a den of thieves.

Then lit­tle Ra­chel sobbed, Aw­ful is His mien;
His eyes are flames; I fear the Na­za­rene.

But when the tem­ple si­lenced—while a dove
Fluttered and soared and beat against the roof,
We fright­ened beg­gars heard a voice of love
Calling us gent­ly; then His ten­der proof
He gave. He healed us! I, who e’er had been
Blind from my birth—I saw the Na­za­rene!