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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (Parables)

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Supine to the revelation I did lie,

Passive as prophet to his dreaming deep, Or harp Aeolian to the breathing sky,

And blest as any child whom twilight sleep

Holds half, and half lets go. But the new day Of higher need up-dawned with sudden leap:

"Ah, flowers," I said, "ye are divinely gay,

But your fair music is too far and fine! Ye are full cups, yet reach not to allay

The drought of those for human love who pine

As the hart for water-brooks!" At once a face Was looking in my face; its eyes through mine

Were feeding me with tenderness and grace,

And by their love I knew my mother's eyes. Gazing in them, there grew in me apace

A longing grief, and love did swell and rise

Till weeping I brake out and did bemoan My blameful share in bygone tears and cries:

"O mother, wilt thou plead for me?" I groan;

"I say not, plead with Christ, but plead with those Who, gathered now in peace about his throne,

Were near me when my heart was full of throes,

And longings vain alter a flying bliss, Which oft the fountain by the threshold froze:

They must forgive me, mother! Tell them this:

No more shall swell the love-dividing sigh; Down at their feet I lay my selfishness."

The face grew passionate at this my cry;

The gathering tears up to its eyebrims rose; It grew a trembling mist, that did not fly

But slow dissolved. I wept as one of those

Who wake outside the garden of their dream, And, lo, the droop-winged hours laborious close

Its opal gates with stone and stake and beam.

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