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


George MacDonald (1824–1905)

SHE sitteth at the Master’s feet

In motionless employ;

Her ears, her heart, her soul complete

Drinks in the tide of Joy.

Ah! who but her the glory knows

Of life, pure, high, intense,

Whose holy calm breeds awful shows

Beyond the realm of sense!

In her still ear, his thoughts of grace

Incarnate are in voice;

Her thoughts, the people of the place,

Receive them, and rejoice.

Her eyes, with heavenly reason bright,

Are on the ground cast low;

It is his words of truth and light

That sets them shining so.

But see! a face is at the door

Whose eyes are not at rest;

A voice breaks in on wisest lore

With petulant request.

“Lord,” Martha says, “dost thou not care

She lets me serve alone?

Tell her to come and take her share.”

Still Mary’s eyes shine on.

Calmly she lifts a questioning glance

To him who calmly heard;

The merest sign, she’ll rise at once,

Nor wait the uttered word.

The other, standing by the door,

Waits too what he will say.

His “Martha, Martha,” with it bore

A sense of coming nay.

Gently her troubled heart he chid;

Rebuked its needless care;

Methinks her face she turned and hid,

With shame that bordered prayer.

What needful thing is Mary’s choice,

Nor shall be taken away?

There is but one—’tis Jesus’ voice;

And listening she shall stay.

Oh, joy to every doubting heart,

Doing the thing it would,

When he, the holy, takes its part,

And calls its choice the good!