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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

Mary at the Cross

George MacDonald (1824–1905)

LIFE’S best things crowd around its close

To light it from the door;

When woman’s aid no further goes,

She weeps and loves the more.

Oft, oft, she doubted in his life,

And feared his mission’s loss;

But now she shares the losing strife,

And weeps beside the cross.

The dreaded hour is come at last;

The sword has reached her soul;

The hour of timid hope is past,

Unveiled the awful whole.

There hangs the son her body bore,

Who in her arms did rest;

Those limbs the nails and hammer tore,

Have lain upon her breast.

He speaks. With torturing joy the sounds

Invade her desolate ear;

The mother’s heart, though bleeding, bounds

Her dying son to hear.

“Woman, behold thy son. Behold

Thy mother.” Best relief—

That woful love in hers to fold

Which next to hers was chief!

Another son, but not instead,

He gave, lest grief should kill,

While he was down among the dead,

Doing his Father’s will.

No not instead; the coming grace

Shall make him hers anew—

More hers than when, in her embrace,

His life from hers he drew.