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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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Mary, to thee the heart was given For infant hand to hold,
And clasp thus, an eternal heaven, The great earth in its fold.

He seized the world with tender might By making thee his own;
Thee, lowly queen, whose heavenly height Was to thyself unknown.

He came, all helpless, to thy power, For warmth, and love, and birth; In thy embraces, every hour, He grew into the earth.

Thine was the grief, O mother high, Which all thy sisters share Who keep the gate betwixt the sky And this our lower air;

But unshared sorrows, gathering slow, Will rise within thy heart, Strange thoughts which like a sword will go Thorough thy inward part.

For, if a woman bore a son
That was of angel brood,
Who lifted wings ere day was done, And soared from where she stood,

Wild grief would rave on love's high throne; She, sitting in the door,
All day would cry: "He was my own, And now is mine no more!"

So thou, O Mary, years on years, From child-birth to the cross, Wast filled with yearnings, filled with fears, Keen sense of love and loss.

His childish thoughts outsoared thy reach; His godlike tenderness
Would sometimes seem, in human speech, To thee than human less.

Strange pangs await thee, mother mild, A sorer travail-pain;
Then will the spirit of thy child Be born in thee again.

Till then thou wilt forebode and dread; Loss will be still thy fear-- Till he be gone, and, in his stead, His very self appear.

For, when thy son hath reached his goal, And vanished from the earth, Soon wilt thou find him in thy soul, A second, holier birth.

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