With eyes aglow, and aimless zeal,
Throughout the land she goes;
Her tones, 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.
The night brings sleep, the sleep distress;
The torture of the day
Returns as free, in darker dress,
In more secure dismay.
No soft-caressing, soothing palm
Her confidence can raise;
No eye hath loving force to calm
And draw her answering gaze.
He comes. He speaks. A light divine
Dawns gracious in thy soul;
Thou seest love and order shine,—
His health will make thee whole.
One wrench of pain, one pang of death,
And in a faint delight,
Thou liest, waiting for new breath,
For morning out of night.
Thou risest up: the earth is fair,
The wind is cool and free;
As when a dream of mad despair
Dissolves in ecstasy.
And, pledge of life and future high,
Thou seest the Master stand;
The life of love is in his eye,
Its power is in his hand.
What matter that the coming time
Will stain thy virgin name;
Attribute thy distress to crime
The worst for woman-fame;
Yea, call that woman Magdalen,
Whom slow-reviving grace
Turneth at last from evil men
To seek the Father’s face.
What matters it? The night is gone;
Right joyous shines the sun;
The same clear sun that always shone
Ere sorrow had begun.
Oh! any name may come and bide,
If he be well content
To see not seldom by his side
Thy head serenely bent.
Thou, sharing in the awful doom,
Wilt help thy Lord to die;
And, mourning o’er his empty tomb,
First share his victory.
THE WOMAN IN THE TEMPLE.
A still dark joy. A sudden face,
Cold daylight, footsteps, cries;
The temple’s naked, shining space,
Aglare with judging eyes.
With all thy wild abandoned hair,
And terror-pallid lips,
Thy blame unclouded to the air,
Thy honour in eclipse;
Thy head, thine eyes droop to the ground,
Thy shrinking soul to hide;
Lest, at its naked windows found,
Its shame be all descried.
Another shuts the world apart,
Low bending to the ground;
And in the silence of his heart,
Her Father’s voice will sound.
He stoops, He writes upon the ground,
From all those eyes withdrawn;
The awful silence spreads around
In that averted dawn.
With guilty eyes bent downward still,
With guilty, listless hands,
All idle to the hopeless will,
She, scorn-bewildered, stands.