Oxce there lived, long years ago,
A man who sought a wide renown,
Not as philanthropist or divine,
But as “wickedest man in all the town.”
lie builded houses strong and high,
Not for the poor to dwell therein,
But with doors and windows lettered o’er,
Luring the weak to taste of sin.
Warm and glowing, the great lights burned,
When the winter winds outside blew cold,
And, while feebly the poor toiled on for dimes,
O’er his counters glittered the shining gold.
For there, when the week’s long toil was done,
Drawn as by cords, did the laborer come
And spend, while his dear ones wept at home,
His hard-earned wages at last for rum.
There, while the timid hurried past,
They heard the drunkard’s wildest song,
And oft above it the gambler’s oath,
Or the deadly shot in the outcast throng.
Nor woman’s prayer, nor children’s tears,
Nor scenes of suff’ rings howe’er deep,
Could turn his heart from its wicked course,
Or trouble in dreams his heavy sleep.
But, unsatisfied yet, his darkened mind
Searched long and deep for some further ill,
To affront, by power of might and gold,
To flaunt the strength of his evil will.
At last, one beautiful Sabbath morn,
Into his sinful mind there came,
Like a guilty thing, a new-born plan
With hate and wickedness aflame.
He sought and gathered out dark-souled men,
To fill the contract his mind had planned,
To build a boat, all by Sabbath work,
To defy the day, and the Lord’s command.
It filled his soul with an evil joy,
When passers paused, at the hammer’s sound.
Oh, louder and worse their discord seemed,
In the quiet elsewhere all around!
But the work went on till the boat was done,
Painted, the flag made, too; then came
Into his heart a further task
The search for a fitting, evil name.
‘Twas found! On the red and yellow flag
That idly streamed above his head,
In letters of black, like a venomed sting
He smiled, and “‘THE SABBATH BREAKER” read.
Not till another Sabbath morn
Was the dark boat launched an evil sight!
Just as the throngs of children sweet
Walked, in the sunshine warm and bright,
With loving parents and teachers good,
From ev’ry street to the house of prayer,
Dismayed, they saw the new-launched boat-
Heard the drunken song on the holy air.
And then, as the evil men had timed,
When the Sabbath-schools poured forth their throngs,
Again they heard, o’er the waters clear,
The returning sinners’ ribald songs.
And just above, o’er iheir reckless heads,
A small black cloud in the sky arose.
On land they shuddered, and they at sea
Turned to the shore ere the storm should close
O’er their helpless heads. But drunken, weak,
In vain they strove; the Almighty’s wrath
By His lightnings pierced, by His thunders spoke,
And towering billows checked their path.
The sudden winds roared o’er their cries,
The torrent rains swept o’ er their deck,
And when the furious tempest passed,
They who looked forth to see the wreck
Saw, through the mists not yet quite cleared,
And where the billows last had raved,
Rose a broken mast, o’er the buried crew,
Where the flag, “THE SABBATH BREAKER,” waved.