HE stood before the Sanhedrim;

  The scowling rabbis gazed at him; 

He recked not of their praise or blame; 

There was no fear, there was no shame; 

For one upon whose dazzled eyes 

The whole world poured its vast surprise, 

The open heaven was far too near, 

His first day's light too sweet and clear, 

To let him waste his new-gained ken 

On the hate-clouded face of men.

But still they questioned, Who art thou? 

What hast thou been? What art thou now? 

Thou art not he who yesterday 

Sat here and begged beside the way; 

For he was blind.

 And I am he, 

For I was blind, but now I see. 

He told the story o'er and o'er; 

It was his full heart's only lore; 

A prophet on the Sabbath-day 

Had touched his sightless eyes with clay, 

And made him see who had been blind; 

Their words passed by him like the wind 

Which raves and howls, but cannot shock 

The hundred-fathomed rooted rock.

Their threats and fury all went wide; 

They could not touch his Hebrew pride, 

Their sneers at Jesus and his baud, 

Nameless and homeless in the land, 

Their boasts of Moses and his Lord, 

And all could not change him by one word.

I know not what this man may be, 

Sinner or saint: but as for me, 

One thing I know, that I am he 

That once was blind, but now I see.

They were all doctors of renown, 

The great men of a famous town, 

With deep brows, wrinkled, broad, and wise 

Beneath their wide phylacteries; 

The wisdom of the East was theirs, 

And honor crowned their silver hairs; 

The man they jeered and laughed to scorn 

Was unlearned, poor, and humbly born; 

But he knew better far than they 

What came to him that Sabbath day, 

And what the Christ had done for him, 

He knew, and not the Sanhedrim.


Harper's Magazine