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Treasury of Sacred Song
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CXXIX

S. MARY MAGDALENE

Dear, beauteous Saint! more white than Day

When in his naked, pure array;

Fresher than morning-flowers, which shew

As thou in tears dost, best in dew.

How art thou changed! how lively-fair,

Pleasing, and innocent an air,

Not tutor'd by thy glass, but free,

Native and pure, shines now in thee!

But since thy beauty doth still keep

Bloomy and fresh, why dost thou weep?

This dusky state of sighs and tears

Durst not look on those smiling years,

When Magdal-castle140140See Note was thy seat,

Where all was sumptuous, rare and neat.

Why lies this hair despiséd now

Which once thy care and art did show?

Who then did dress the much-loved toy,

In spires, globes, angry141141angry, defiant curls and coy,

Which with skill'd negligence seem'd shed

About thy curious, wild, young head?

Why is this rich, this pistic142142pistic, pure nard

Spilt, and the box quite broke and marr'd?

What pretty sullenness did haste

Thy easy hands to do this waste?

Why art thou humbled thus, and low

As earth thy lovely head dost bow?

Dear soul! thou knew'st flowers here on Earth

At their LORD's foot-stool have their birth;

Therefore thy wither'd self in haste

Beneath His blest feet thou didst cast,

That at the root of this green tree

Thy great decays restored might be.

Thy curious vanities and rare

Odorous ointments, kept with care

And dearly bought,--when thou didst see

They could not cure nor comfort thee--

Like a wise, early penitent,

Thou sadly didst to Him present,

Whose interceding, meek, and calm

Blood, is the world's all-healing balm.

This, this Divine Restorative

Call'd forth thy tears, which ran in live

And hasty drops, as if they had

--Their LORD so near--sense to be glad.

Learn, ladies, here the faithful cure

Makes143143[which] makes beauty lasting, fresh and pure;

Learn Mary's art of tears, and then

Say, you have got the day from men.

Cheap, mighty art! Her art of love,

Who loved much, and much more could move;

Her art! whose memory must last

Till truth through all the world be past;

Till His abused, despiséd flame144144flame, of Love

Return to Heaven, from whence it came,

And send a fire down, that shall bring

Destruction on his ruddy wing.

Her art! whose pensive, weeping eyes,

Were once sin's loose and tempting spies;

But now are fixéd stars, whose light

Helps such dark stragglers to their sight.

Self-boasting Pharisee! how blind

A judge wert thou, and how unkind!

It was impossible, that thou,

Who wert all false, should'st true grief know.

Is't just to judge her faithful tears

By that foul rheum thy false eye wears?

This woman--say'st thou--is a sinner:

And sate there none such at thy dinner?

Go, leper, go! wash till thy flesh

Comes like a child's, spotless and fresh;

He is still leprous that still paints:

Who saint themselves, they are no saints.


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