Home  »  The Poets’ Bible  »  The Syrophenician Woman

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

The Syrophenician Woman

George MacDonald (1824–1905)

“GRANT, Lord, her prayer, and let her go;

She crieth after us.”

Nay, to the dogs ye cast it so;

Serve not a woman thus.

Their pride by condescension fed,

He speaks with truer tongue:

“It is not meet the children’s bread

Should to the dogs be flung.”

The words, because they were so sore,

His tender voice did rue;

His face a gentle sadness wore,

And showed he suffered too.

He makes her share the hurt of good,

Takes what she would have lent,

That those proud men their evil mood

May see, and so repent;

And that the hidden faith in her

May burst in soaring flame,

From childhood deeper, holier,

If birthright not the same.

“Truth, Lord; and yet the dogs that crawl

Under the table, eat

The crumbs the little ones let fall—

And that is not unmeet.”

Ill names, of proud religion born—

She’ll wear the worst that comes;

Will clothe her, patient, in their scorn,

To share the healing crumbs.

The cry rebuff could not abate

Was not like water spilt:

“O woman, but thy faith is great!

Be it even as thou wilt.”

Oh, happy she who will not tire,

But, baffled, prayeth still!

What if he grant her heart’s desire

In fulness of her will!