George MacDonald

The Gospel Women. 12. Mary Magdalene

  With wandering eyes and aimless zeal,
      She hither, thither, goes;
  Her speech, her motions, all reveal
      A mind without repose.

  She climbs the hills, she haunts the sea,
      By madness tortured, driven;
  One hour's forgetfulness would be
      A gift from very heaven!

  She slumbers into new distress;
      The night is worse than day:
  Exulting in her helplessness,
      Hell's dogs yet louder bay.

  The demons blast her to and fro;
      She has no quiet place,
  Enough a woman still, to know
      A haunting dim disgrace.

  A human touch! a pang of death!
      And in a low delight
  Thou liest, waiting for new breath.
      For morning out of night.

  Thou risest up: the earth is fair,
      The wind is cool; thou art free!
  Is it a dream of hell's despair
      Dissolves in ecstasy?

  That man did touch thee! Eyes divine
      Make sunrise in thy soul;
  Thou seëst love in order shine:--
      His health hath made thee whole!

  Thou, sharing in the awful doom,
      Didst help thy Lord to die;
  Then, weeping o'er his empty tomb,
      Didst hear him _Mary_ cry.

  He stands in haste; he cannot stop;
      Home to his God he fares:
  "Go tell my brothers I go up
      To my Father, mine and theirs."

  Run, Mary! lift thy heavenly voice;
      Cry, cry, and heed not how;
  Make all the new-risen world rejoice--
      Its first apostle thou!

  What if old tales of thee have lied,
      Or truth have told, thou art
  All-safe with him, whate'er betide--
      Dwell'st with him in God's heart!

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