Have thou naught to do with Him, O Pilate
With that Just One! For to-night a dream
Or an angel spoke: most dread revealing
Did the vision seem!
Throned amid the clouds of heaven I see Him;
See the lightnings flashing from His brow;
And that Face!—’tis His, the Galilean’s,
Thou art judging now.
Oh, the clouds of splendor! they enfold Him:
How the angels throng; their faces shine;
Oh, His eyes! with calmness, deep, majestic,
Looking into mine—
But I shrink away—I cannot bear it,
All that glory. Heaven is bending down,
And the thorn-pierced, mighty brow, refulgent,
Wears a victor’s crown.
Earth, all hushed, is waiting to adore him,
Mighty seas are murmuring at His feet;
Mountain heights, in silence, grand, before him
Stand, their King to greet.
See, the nations gather; He hath called them—
His, the mighty fiat they obey;
His, the Man enthroned amid the angels
On that awful day.
Darest thou meet Him, in the hour of judgment?
Pilate—canst thou answer to His call?
Trembling I behold thee; pallid terror
Holdeth thee in thrall:
Dumb, convicted, thou wouldst sue for mercy,
Yet canst find no plea, can speak no word:
Who is this?—the Judge, whose silence smiteth
Like avenging sword?
Fades the dream, at dawn dispels the midnight;
Last to vanish is that Face sublime;
And His eyes, still searching mine, command me
Speak, while yet there’s time.
Oh, refuse not! Pilate, heed the vision—
All my soul in anguish bids thee hear;
Oh, condemn thou not this Man, this Just One;
For I fear, I fear!
Martha Elvira Pettus
The Wayside Shrine, 1914