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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Syria: Capernaum

Mary Magdalen

By Bartolomé Leonardo de Argensola (1562–1631)

Translated by W. C. Bryant

BLESSED, yet sinful one, and broken-hearted!

The crowd are pointing at the thing forlorn,

In wonder and in scorn!

Thou weepest days of innocence departed;

Thou weepest, and thy tears have power to move

The Lord to pity and love.

The greatest of thy follies is forgiven,

Even for the least of all the tears that shine

On that pale cheek of thine.

Thou didst kneel down, to Him who came from heaven,

Evil and ignorant, and thou shalt rise

Holy and pure and wise.

It is not much that to the fragrant blossom

The ragged brier should change, the bitter fir

Distil Arabian myrrh!

Nor that, upon the wintry desert’s bosom

The harvest should rise plenteous, and the swain

Bear home the abundant grain.

But come and see the bleak and barren mountains

Thick to their tops with roses; come and see

Leaves on the dry dead tree:

The perished plant, set out by living fountains,

Grows fruitful, and its beauteous branches rise,

Forever, towards the skies.