The Sparrowes

Two sparrows set upon a bough
In juniper their nest doth lay
Hid safe within the wilderness
Their want the LORD provides each day

The seasons compass them about
Yet there they rest in solitude
Well glad a peaceful life to lead
The world (of yet) did not intrude

Content they live, with bellies full
Asleep one night without a care
The sparrows did not least suspect
An enemy had laid a snare

And what for them when morning came?
With violence of a sudden caught
They flap their wings in helplessness
But all their efforts are for naught

They watch as men destroy their nest
Their eggs into a skillet cracked
The trees of juniper sawn down
All substance dear, of sudden lacked

The captors lead the cage away
To dromedary’s saddle tied
With every step a jostling
As midst the merchant goods they ride

The travels long. They agonize
Their need and sustenance withheld
Weaker fallen by the moment
All hope for simple life dispelled

The city on those seven hills
Spreads now before them, tall and wide
The merchant train arrives at last
And pompously proceeds inside

(Without the gates two candlesticks
Defaced and laid into the dust
Of pure gold wrought, but knocked aside
And covered by the city’s rust)

A bawdy laughter blaring high
Beyond the gates, a tinny tune
The sackbut, instrument of choice
The sparrows can’t keep back a swoon

The multitudes in endless press
Desirous to sell and buy
Of every kindred, race and tongue
Drawn out to flatter, curse and lie

The sparrows overwhelmed by dread
With end uncertain. How they fret
Onlookers mock them. So they sigh
Confusion like the waves beset

Dragged on, a gazingstock to all
Past all the suburbs, crowds and streets
The merchant to the Temple heads
Where all the city traffic meets

A place professed to be most blessed
With spacious gold and marble square
‘Tis there within, the sparrows find
A market greater than the fair

(Of old a MAN this temple cleansed
A scourge of cords within His hand
The tables He did overturn…
But once again the tents are manned)

Tables set with loaves and fishes
Haggle, trade and patron Mammon
Here all merchants make their profit
Righteousness in measured famine

Two sparrows for a farthing priced
But if a deal is further sought
Five sparrows for two farthings marked…
And thus our sparrows quick are bought

But now what shall befall their heads?
Are they in captive cage to live?
A fancy for a child at play?
In pottage, they their life to give?

But nay, for them it isn’t so
This temple meets much higher needs
Its work supposed to justify
The souls of men from wicked deeds

Now carried to the inner courts
Where daily sacrifice is kept
The altar waited on by priests
The chamber whited, garnished, swept

A throne upon a platform poised
In fashion as the throne of God
The man who sits there splendidly
Doth don a sanctified facade

His raiment costlier than king’s
And name exalted over all
Of man demands he every praise
His image graven on the wall

Men sacrifice to him as Lord
Then beg and pray to him for grace
They think his countenance serene
Glimpse not the malice in his face

His glance upon the sparrows, proud
No pity in his evil eye
The cage is placed upon a rack
Now knew the sparrows they would die

The fate of birds placed on this rack:
Brown feathers plucked and cast away
Brutality without remorse
As they are made of men a prey

Quite clinically the necks are wrung
Their blood is emptied to the dirt
Dismembered bodies cast in flame
And blood doth stain each priestly skirt

No voice the sparrows have for song
Burnt offerings they soon shall be
Remembering their safe abode
And times when they were well and free

They’d never sought to do a wrong
A peaceful life they’d thought to lead
But Babylon does not let by
Those souls who don’t adopt her creed

The incense sickening in scent
And prospect of their swift demise
The sparrows sigh in hopelessness
And lift their gaze unto the skies

Did not their hope rest sole in God?
His care for them had been their joy
And though they now be sacrificed
This fate may not their love destroy

The man of sin doth flash a sneer
Upon the feeble sparrow’s prayer
So pitiful the little birds
Who fancied God still gave a care

The day rolled on with grave suspense
And birds were sacrificed in droves
The time for our poor sparrows come
To roast in anise, rue, and cloves

Now they are ravaged from the cage
Sore ruffled by unfeeling hands
Their feathers one by one are plucked
That man of sin above them stands

The priests make song before the throne
The offering they wave with might
More coals onto the altar heaped
The sparrows have no strength to fight

But ere before their necks are wrung
A noise doth penetrate the hall
A great commotion from outside
Doth cause the sacrifice to stall

A MAN the temple enters now
As once He did in times of old
Again the tables He doth turn
And scatters all the trade and gold

His legions flood the marble halls
His Father sent them for the task
With rod to bruise the hypocrites
His foe’s deception to unmask

What quivering and trembled cries
As Christ Himself the place doth storm!
His presence they cannot withstand
For they have always been lukewarm

Into the inner court He comes!
The floor doth melt beneath His feet
The altar He doth overturn
At once the priests attempt retreat

The man of sin now trembles sore
He can’t a single breath inhale
Exposed to be a man of flesh
And not a god; his face falls pale

The Lord then renders just rebuke
The weakened foe his legions seize
His righteous judgment none withstand
In face of wrath, defiance flees

And what of our poor sparrows now?
They never were forsook by Christ
He pitied all their cries of pain
‘Twas He allowed their midnight heist

Except He let, they could not fall
But Christ is pleased His saints to try
In their affliction, He sustains
For faith is precious in His eye

He beareth long, but shall avenge
And saints with kindness will restore
Their souls are His and His alone
With Him to live for ever more

He reaches forth with tenderness
And takes the sparrows in His hand
Doth smooth their ruffled broken frame
And takes them to His golden land

Now dwelleth they with Him in peace
That bawdy city cast in flame
The man of sin doth vaunt no more
And sparrows praise Lord Jesus name

And I say vnto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, haue no more that they can doe. But I will forewarne you whom you shall feare: Feare him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell, yea, I say vnto you, Feare him. Are not fiue sparrowes solde for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But euen the very haires of your head are all numbred: Feare not therefore, ye are of more value then many sparrowes.

(Luke 12:4-7, Holy Bible 1611)

Feare none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the deuill shal cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and yee shall haue tribulation tenne dayes: bee thou faithfull vnto death, and I will giue thee a crowne of life. He that hath an eare, let him heare what the spirit saith vnto the churches. He that ouercommeth, shall not be hurt of the second death.

(Revelation 2:10-11, Holy Bible 1611)