“He is beside himself,” they said;
His days, so lonely spent,
Him from the well-known path have led
In which our fathers went.”
“Thy mother seeks thee.” Cried aloud,
The message finds its way;
He stands within, amidst a crowd,
She in the open day.
A flush of light o’erspreads his face,
And pours from forth his eyes;
He lifts that head, the home of grace,
Looks round Him, and replies.
“My mother? brothers? who are they?”
Hearest thou, Mary mild?
This is a sword that well may slay—
Disowned by thy child!
Not so. But, brothers, sisters, hear!
What says our human Lord?
O mother, did it wound thy ear?
We thank Him for the word.
“Who are my friends?” Oh! hear Him say,
And spread it far and broad.
“My mother, sisters, brothers, they
Who keep the word of God.”
My brother! Lord of life and me,
I am inspired with this!
Ah! brother, sister, this must be
Enough for all amiss.
Yet think not, mother, He denies,
Or would thy claim destroy;
But glad love lifts more loving eyes
To Him who made the joy.
Oh! nearer Him is nearer thee:
With his obedience bow,
And thou wilt rise with heart set free,
Yea, twice his mother now.
The best of life crowds round its close,
To light it from the door;
When woman’s art no further goes,
She weeps, and loves the more.
Howe’er she doubted, in his life,
And feared his mission’s loss,
The mother shares the awful strife,
And stands beside the cross.
Mother, the hour of tears is past;
The sword hath reached thy soul;
No veil of swoon is round thee cast,
No darkness hides the whole.
Those are the limbs which thou didst bear;
Thy arms, they were his rest;
And now those limbs the irons tear,
And hold Him from thy breast.
He speaks. With torturing joy the sounds
Drop burning on thine ear;
The mother-heart, though bleeding, bounds
Her dying Son to hear.
Ah! well He knew that not alone
The cross of pain could tell;
That griefs as bitter as his own
Around it heave and swell.
And well He knew what best repose
Would bring a true relief:
He gave, each to the other, those
Who shared a common grief.
“Mother, behold thy son. O friend,
My mother take for thine.”
“Ah, son, he loved thee to the end.”
“Mother, what honour mine!”
Another son instead, He gave,
Her crying heart to still.
For him, He went down to the grave,
Doing his Father’s will.
THE WOMAN THAT CRIED IN THE CROWD.
She says within: “It is a man,
A man of mother born;
She is a woman—I am one,
Alive this holy morn.”