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


George MacDonald (1824–1905)

WITH joyful pride her heart is high:

Her humble chambers hold

The man prophetic destiny

Long centuries hath foretold.

Poor, is he? Yes, and lowly born:

Her woman-soul is proud

To know and hail the coming morn

Before the eyeless crowd.

At her poor table will he eat?

He shall be served there

With honour and devotion meet

For any king that were.

’Tis all she can; she does her part,

Profuse in sacrifice;

Nor knows that in her unknown heart

A better offering lies.

But many crosses she must bear;

Her plans are turned and bent;

Do all she can, things will not wear

The form of her intent.

With idle hands, and drooping lid,

See Mary sit at rest!

Shameful it was her sister did

No service for their guest.

But Martha one day Mary’s lot

Must share with hands and eyes,

Must—all her household cares forgot—

Sit down as idly wise.

Ere long they both in Jesus’ ear

Shall make the self-same moan:

“Lord, if thou only hadst been here,

My brother had not gone.”

Then once will Martha set her word,

Yet once, to bar his ways,

Crying, “By this he stinketh, Lord;

He hath been dead four days.”

When Lazarus drags his trammelled clay

Forth with half-opened eyes,

Her buried best will hear, obey,

And with the dead man rise.