Monday, January 20, 2014

Memory Ramblings...

I can only remember two Sunday School events from when I was growing up. Both were some sort of Sunday School Picnic I think. The first one was when I was probably 4 years old. We had a new (to us at least) car; a station wagon that I got to sit sideways in the back trunk area on a fold-down seat of some sort. At the picnic, there was an enormous log climbing structure or playground object that somebody got hurt on - I can't remember if it was Tina or myself, but I DO remember the little plastic clown cake balloons that my dad cheered me up with afterwards.

The other Sunday School event was either a picnic or a class treat of some sort and it occurred when I was around 12 years old. Aunt Helen had given me an old poem and asked me to memorize it to recite aloud. I had lots of time to work on it, but by the night before I was to perform my feat of memorization, I had only made it to the 16th stanza. So, I crammed all the way to the Orchard the next morning and managed to get those last 4 stanzas into my head just in time. Of course, 20+ years later, I can only recite the first 16 stanzas without peeking at the paper, but I was able to pull it off the day I had to stand up in front of everybody.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I took Dolly out on a mama/daughter date while I had some errands to run. At some point, the poem I learned came up in our conversation and I recited what I could to her as we drove along. She was fascinated by the story being told and we spent a lot of time discussing the meaning of many of the words. Tonight, she found me as I was moving various kids through the bed-time process and told me she still remembered part of the poem and she recited the line or two that she had picked up from our date. It got me to thinking that I should put it here so I can find it easily anywhere.

After all, it was pretty much my first introduction to written poetry. I was completely captivated by the music of the words and I know that this poem greatly influenced my own writing style.

The Slave-Girl's Ransom

So beautiful, and yet a slave;
Her dark eyes flushed with shame;
Her usual soft and gentle eyes
Flashed at the cruel name.

So beautiful, so timid, wild,
Like a frightened fawn she seemed;
And 'neath her lashes, long and dark,
Her eyes with terror gleamed.

"Who bids?" the auctioneer's coarse voice
Rang through the market-place:
What shame, what terror filled her breast
And dyed her downcast face.

They bid, their voices rise and fall
On her unheeding ear,
Unconsciously she hears it all,
Yet does not seem to hear.

At last 'tis o'er, an Englishman,
With features kind and grave,
Has paid a wondrous price to buy
The beautiful, young slave.

Advancing with an eager step
And pleasure ill-concealed,
He speaks - the slave-girl stands erect;
His voice his race revealed.

"You, and an Englishman?" she cried,
Her proud lips curl with scorn;
"Unfettered by dark slavery's chain
In Britain's freedom born.

"You! whose own people come to teach
Of freedom for the soul,
And bid us live a Christ-like life
With heaven for our goal.

"You preach of freedom, life, and love,
And yet you make us slaves;
You tell us of a perfect peace-
We find it in our graves."

She paused her fierce and fiery eyes
Fixed on his face the while,
And, heedless of her bitter scorn,
He answered with a smile:

"Yes, I have bought you, but 'tis not
To make you slave to me,
I paid the price that I might have-
The power to set you free."

The fiery light died from her eyes,
The flush died from her cheek,
And silently she stood, too much
Dismayed to move or speak.

"Here is your freedom," and he placed
The gift within her hand,
"Go where you will, the ransom's paid,
'Tis all they can demand."

A moment more the proud young slave,
With mingled hopes and fears,
was kneeling contrite at his feet
With sobs and gladsome tears.

"Oh let me be your slave," she cried,
"I'd give my life for thee;
You gave me freedom, now I feel
I never can be free.

"You bind me not with iron chains,
They bind my limbs alone,
But now the stronger cords of love
Around my heart are thrown."

The fair young slave found liberty,
Yet still remained a slave,
And served with true, unfaltering love
He who her ransom gave.

So Jesus, who with greater love
And greater ransom still,
Has bought you with his own life-blood,
Poured out on Calvary's Hill,

Would seek to break the chains of sin
That bind you as a slave,
And with His tender love would win
The soul He longs to save.

Give Him who died, your love and faith,
And like the slave-girl be-
To serve Him, "faithful unto death"
Who died to set you free.

-Author Unknown

Ephesians 1:7


  1. What a beautiful and heart touching poem. It surprises me that the author is unknown.

    1. I agree! I've tried for years to figure out who the author might have been. The paper I was given had 'author unknown' on it. I was hoping I might find it online, but even Google has never heard of it! :)

  2. Very neat! I had never heard this poem before. ~ SJo

  3. Thank you so much for posting that! I too recited that poem at a Sunday School Anniversary in Newcastle Australia when I was young and have been trying to remember it!
    It is so moving and memorable!
    So pleased to now have a copy of the words!!

    1. Do you remember how or when you discovered it?