The Preacher in the Park
With in the Park, where meet each Sunday morn
The lab’ring masses, from their toil released,
A preacher stands, in raiment shabby worn,
And tells how he would have God’s cause increased.
The scoffers say, of moral vision dim:
“This dirty driblet in the sea of men,
With Stentor’s lungs and showy sweep of limb,
Would tell us what is far from human ken.”
But what are these? and why should sting their taunts?
The courage born of Faith is not denied!
The soul-stirred zeal of Knowledge nothing daunts!
And why should jewels ’neath the dunghill hide?
Then on, my brother! Let not barren scorn
The current of thy soul’s outpouring stem!
For God counts best a faith so nobly born
That naught it fears — and only fools condemn.
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, p. 74
ken = knowledge, perception, understanding (also means “know”, particularly as used in Scotland)
lab’ring = (vernacular) laboring; labouring
morn = morning
naught = nothing; zero; failure, without result; lost, ruined (older meanings are: ruined, useless, worthless; morally bad, wicked)
’neath = (vernacular) beneath
Stentor = in Greek mythology, Stentor was a Greek herald known for his loud voice; he was a herald with the Greek forces during the Trojan War; his powerful voice was mentioned in Homer’s Iliad; he died after losing a shouting contest with Hermes (the herald and messenger of the gods); in general terms, a reference to someone with a loud and powerful voice
thy = (archaic) your