Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CHILD ON THE JUDGMENT SEAT, by ELIZABETH RUNDELL CHARLES



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THE CHILD ON THE JUDGMENT SEAT, by            
First Line: Where hast been toiling all day, sweetheart
Last Line: In a look of his own for thee.
Subject(s): Religion; Theology


WHERE HAST BEEN TOILING all day, sweetheart,
That thy brow is burdened and sad?
The Master's work may make weary feet,
But it leaves the spirit glad.

Was thy garden nipped with the midnight frost,
Or scorched with the midday glare?
Were thy vines laid low, or thy lilies crushed,
That thy face is so full of care?

"No pleasant garden toils were mine!
I have sat on the judgment seat,
Where the Master sits at eve, and calls
The children around his feet."

How camest thou on the judgment seat,
Sweetheart? Who set thee there?
'Tis a lonely and lofty seat for thee,
And well might fill thee with care.

"I climbed on the judgment seat myself;
I have sat there alone all day;
For it grieved me to see the children around
Idling their life away.

"They wasted the Master's precious seed,
They wasted the precious hours;
They trained not the vines, nor gathered the fruits,
And they trampled the sweet, meek flowers."

And what hast thou done in the judgment seat,
Sweetheart? What didst thou there?
Would the idlers heed thy childish voice?
Did the garden mend by thy care?

"Nay, that grieved me more! I called and I cried,
But they left me there forlorn;
My voice was weak, and they heeded not,
Or they laughed my words to scorn."

Ah, the judgment seat was not for thee!
The servants were not thine!
And the Eyes which adjudge the praise and the blame,
See further than thine or mine.

The Voice that shall sound there at eve, sweetheart,
Will not raise its tones to be heard:
It will hush the earth, and hush the hearts,
And none will resist its word.

"Should I see the Master's treasures lost,
The stores that should feed his poor,
And not lift my voice, be it weak as it may,
And not be grieved sore?"

Wait till the evening falls, sweetheart,
Wait till the evening falls;
The Master is near, and knoweth all:
Wait till the Master calls.

But how fared thy garden plot, sweetheart,
Whilst thou sat's on the judgment seat?
Who watered thy roses, and trained thy vines,
And kept them from careless feet?

"Nay, that is saddest of all to me!
That is saddest of all!
My vines are trailing, my roses are parched,
My lilies droop and fall."

Go back to thy garden plot, sweetheart,
Go back till the evening falls;
And bind thy lilies, and train thy vines,
Till for thee the Master calls.

Go make thy garden fair as thou canst --
Thou workest never alone;
Perchance he whose plot is next to thine
Will see it, and mend his own.

And the next may copy his, sweetheart,
Till all grows fair and sweet;
And, when the Master comes at eve,
Happy faces his coming will greet.

Then shall thy joy be full, sweetheart,
In the garden so fair to see,
In the Master's words of praise for all,
In a look of his own for thee.





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