Wast it misty and dank, or chance peppered rain?
or didst the sun shine brightly upon palatial wall?
wast time nigh early morn, or nearer mid of day,
when God’s own servant received governor’s call?
Wast it midst summer’s heat and sultry damp?
or during winter’s wrath of fallen snows and sleet?
perchance ‘twas autumn as thrasher’s scythe toiled,
else, in springtime’s span, midst breezes treat.
Wast apostle quite weary; his eyes near sightless;
aft’ epochs abode in dungeon’s darkness shut?
wast face unshaven with dense whiskery growth,
and hair long and stringy, matted strands uncut?
What manner of raiment doth prisoner don,
whilst fettered sure, shackled both hand and foot?
and his gait, as shuffled feet grazed marble floor,
wast it slowly made, or steps quite briskly took?
As pomp didst unfold, in ceremony’s splendor;
and Agrippa with Bernice made entrance grand,
didst audience stoop and bow to rule that day,
and gaze in disdain ‘pon visage of God’s man?
Whilst Festus enjoined regal pair in grandeur,
haven seated grand king in manner accustomed;
as admittance wast given to prisoner in chain,
didst venerable assemblage brazenly chide him?
And as noble governor, Porcius Felix didst orate,
an earnest entreat for this prisoner yet bound,
what expression adored his majesty’s regal face?
and what spirit stirred those gathered ‘round?
Didst this man of power, a provincial king,
speak to captive in voice firm, calmly assured?
or wast he trembling e’en yet at prisoner’s mettle;
heart distraught within, ere voice he heard?
When with beckoning hand, captive didst speak,
didst knee joints loosen; limbs fairly shudder?
wert hearts heavily convicted about that throng;
wast ambassage awed at homily he didst utter?
And when tireless teacher spake of the Master,
didst power issue forth ‘twixt each drawn breath?
wast audience riveted as he spake of painful past,
as aged saint bare witness to Jesus of Nazareth?
When boldly he spake of blinding midday light,
of voice from heaven, “why persecutest thou me”?
as he told of riposte to the disquieting summons,
replying “Who art thou, Lord?” didst any believe?
Didst hall fall silent as prisoner answered the call?
and hearts nigh fail as babbler made bold retort,
aft’ Festus cried much learning hath made thee mad?
durst one speak with authority in governor’s court?
What reckoned noble Felix as convict addressed king,
posing query to his lord as he wert but mere peer?
what manner of man defieth majesty, e’en in word,
and inquires of king; affords rejoinder without fear?
“King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?” he plied,
ere patrician king couldst respond, e’en ponder query,
he avowed e’en further , “I know that thou believest.”
didst concourse gasp at such insolence given clearly?
And of fair queen Bernice, Jewess and king’s wife;
as spectacle unfolded, what ruminations didst swirl?
wast heart burdened ardent o’er own countryman?
didst she marvel at this one that upendeth the world?
O, but what of Agrippa, noble man, goodly, and king,
hath he gleaned place of abode in that abyss of despair?
doth words past spoken haunt each moment that passeth,
as in hell, midst flame of torment, he maketh repair?
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”