John Wycliffe, strong and true for Christ,
To please poor man he nothing cared:

John Wycliffe, strong and true for Christ,
To please poor man he nothing cared:
The pope he styled the antichrist,
Nor prelate, priest, nor monk he spared.

What pope could such reproaches bear,
Or brook so foul a heresy!
Vile Wycliffe must to Rome repair,
To answer to the Holy See!

The papal summons come to view,
The papal purpose God would thwart:
For God would summon Wycliffe, too,
To answer to a higher court.

No foot he stirred to go to Rome,
But robbed the tyrant of his prey,
For, weak with age, he died at home,
And angels bore his soul away.

The higher court, why should he fear?
For he no falt’ring race had run:
With record clean, and title clear,
He heard his Saviour say, "Well done."

Yon pope could not endure the trick,
Nor let him sleep complacently,
He yet must burn the heretic,
And yet condemn his heresy.

Drag forth his body from its rest:
His wicked life and doctrine spurn:
Let all the Christian world attest,
This man was only fit to burn.

His bones consume within the fire;
His foes in songs their voices lift,
Then on his ashes wreak their ire,
And cast them in the River Swift.

Awake! thou Swift, nor longer dream
Of languid days of ease and rest.
How canst thou so complacent seem,
With such a burden on thy breast?

Arise, embrace the precious dust,
And bear it nobly on its way:
Thou carriest a sacred trust,
For God has honored thee today.

The Avon bides, the Severn waits,
To take the precious charge from thee,
And bear thy treasure to the gates
Of yonder waiting, open sea.

Flow steady! silent! strong and sure!
The dear deposit safely keep,
Until thou lay it down secure,
Upon the bosom of the deep.

And now, ye seas, behold your hour:
Firm grasp, strong hold, the sacred prize.
Now bear it on, with all your pow’r,
To ev’ry land beneath the skies!

Ye restless waves, ye billows strong,
What honor could ye covet more?
Then bear these ashes swift along,
And scatter them on every shore.

This man is not for England grand—
This man is not for Oxford hoar—
For truth belongs to ev’ry land,
And righteousness to ev’ry shore.

Eternal currents of the deep!
By popes and kingdoms all unawed,
Sweep on! to ev’ry shoreline sweep,
The ashes of the man of God!

~ Glenn Conjurske

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