“Ah, dear and awful God, who chastenest me,
How shall my soul to this be reconciled!
It is the Saviour of the world,” quoth she,
“And to my child He cometh as a child.”
Then on her knees she fell by that vast stream—
Oh, it was sorrowful, this woman’s dream!
For lo, that Elder Child drew nearer now,
Fair as the light, and purer than the sun.
The calms of heaven were brooding on his brow,
And in his arms He took her little one,
Her child, that knew her, but with sweet demur
Drew back, nor held his hands to come to her.
With that in mother misery sore she wept—
“O Lamb of God, I love my child so MUCH!
He stole away to Thee while we two slept,
But give him back, for Thou hast many such;
And as for me I have but one. O deign,
Dear Pity of God, to give him me again.”
His feet were on the river. Oh, his feet
Had touched the river now, and it was great;
And yet He hearkened when she did entreat,
And turned in quietness as He would wait—
Wait till she looked upon Him, and behold,
There lay a long way off a city of gold.
Like to a jasper and a sardine stone,
Whelmed in the rainbow stood that fair man-child,
Mighty and innocent, that held her own,
And as might be his manner at home he smiled,
Then while she looked and looked, the vision brake,
And all amazed she started up awake.
And lo, her little child was gone indeed!
The sleep that knows no waking he had slept,
Folded to heaven’s own heart; in rainbow brede
Clothed and made glad, while they two mourned and wept,
But in the drinking of their bitter cup
The sweet voice spoke once more, and sighed, “Look up!”
They heard, and straightway answered, “Even
For what abides that we should look on here?
The heavens are better than this earth below,
They are of more account and far more dear.
We will look up, for all most sweet and fair,
Most pure, most excellent, is garnered there.”
When I do sit apart
And commune with my heart,
She brings me forth the treasures once my own;
Shows me a happy place
Where leaf-buds swelled apace,
And wasting rims of snow in sunlight shone.
Rock, in a mossy glade,
The larch-trees lend thee shade,
That just begin to feather with their leaves;
From out thy crevice deep
White tufts of snowdrops peep,
And melted rime drips softly from thine eaves.
Ah, rock, I know, I know
That yet thy snowdrops grow,
And yet doth sunshine fleck them through the tree,
Whose sheltering branches hide
The cottage at its side,
That nevermore will shade or shelter me.
I know the stockdoves’
Athwart the glen doth float:
With sweet foreknowledge of her twins oppressed,
And longings onward sent,
She broods before the event,
While leisurely she mends her shallow nest.