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

Mary Magdalen

George Herbert (1593–1633)

WHEN blessed Mary wiped her Saviour’s feet

(Whose precepts she had trampled on before),

And wore them for a jewel on her head,

Showing his steps should be the street

Wherein she thenceforth evermore

With pensive humbleness would live and tread:

She being stain’d herself, why did she strive

To make him clean, who could not be defiled?

Why kept she not her tears for her own faults,

And not his feet? Though we could dive

In tears like seas, our sins are piled

Deeper than they, in words, and works, and thoughts.

Dear soul, she knew who did vouchsafe and deign

To bear her filth; and that her sins did dash

E’en God himself. Wherefore she was not loath,

As she had brought wherewith to stain,

So to bring in wherewith to wash:

And yet in washing one, she washed both.