When I was in school I memorized this poem. Each year we had a poetry contest where we would do an interpretive presentation of a poem or piece of prose. Yes, I know it prose isn’t the same as poetry, but it fit the rules. I always tried to choose a poem that had meaning for me; something I would be glad to have spent the time memorizing.
I could not find much information about Martha Snell Nicholson. I did find out that she wrote quite a bit of poetry and suffered many years from incurable diseases, though I never found out what her illness was.
I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do.
I sinned. And straightway, post-haste, Satan flew
Before the presence of the Most High God,
And made a the railing accusation there.
He said, “This soul, this thing of clay and sod,
Has sinned. ‘Tis true that he has named Thy name,
But I demand death, for Thou hast said,
‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die.’ Shall not
Thy sentence be fulfilled? Is justice dead?
Send now this wretched sinner to his doom.
What other thing can righteous ruler do?”
And thus he did accuse me day and night,
And every word he spoke, O God, was true!
Then quickly One rose up from God’s right hand,
Before whose glory angels veiled their eyes.
He spoke, “Each jot and tittle of the law
Must be fulfilled: the guilty sinner dies!
But wait—suppose his guilt were all transferred
To ME and that I paid his penalty!
Behold My hands, My side, My feet! One day
I was made sin for him, and died that he
Might be presented faultless, at Thy throne!”
And Satan fled away. Full well he knew
That he could not prevail against such love,
For every word my dear Lord spoke was true!
—Martha Snell Nicholson
If you have any more information on this author I would be curious to know more about her. Leave a comment with what you know.