James Elroy Flecker

Mary Magdalen

O eyes that strip the souls of men!
There came to me the Magdalen.
Her blue robe with a cord was bound,
Her hair with Lenten lilies crowned.
"Arise," she said "God calls for thee,
Turned to new paths thy feet must be.
Leave the fever and the feast
Leave the friend thou lovest best:
For thou must walk in barefoot ways,
To give my dear Lord Jesus praise."

Then answered I—"Sweet Magdalen,
God's servant, once beloved of men,
Why didst thou change old ways for new,
Thy trailing red for corded blue,
Roses for lilies on thy brow,
Rich splendour for a barren vow?"

Gentle of speech she answered me:-
"Sir, I was sick with revelry.
True, I have scarred the night with sin,
A pale and tawdry heroine;
But once I heard a voice that said
'Who lives in sin is surely dead,
But whoso turns to follow me
Hath joy and immortality.'"

"O Mary, not for this," I cried,
"Didst thou renounce thy scented pride.
Not for a taste of endless years
Or barren joy apart from tears
Didst thou desert the courts of men.
Tell me thy truth, sweet Magdalen!"

She trembled, and her eyes grew dim:-
"For love of Him, for love of Him."

About the poet
James Elroy Flecker
By the same poet
To a Poet a thousand years hence
The Town without a Market
The Ballad of Camden Town
Felo de se
Tenebris Interlucentem
Invitation to a young but learned friend...
Ballad of the Londoner
The First Sonnet of Bathrolaire
The Second Sonnet of Bathrolaire
The Masque of the Magi
The Ballad of Hampstead Heath
Litany to Satan
The Translator and the Children
Destroyer of Ships, Men, Cities
War Song of the Saracens
Joseph and Mary
No Coward's Song
A Western Voyage
The Welsh Sea
Oxford Canal
Hialmar speaks to the Raven
The Ballad of the Student in the South
The Queen's song
Lord Arnaldos
We that were friends
My Friend
I rose from dreamless hours
A Miracle of Bethlehem
Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis
The Ballad of Zacho
Pavlovna in London
The Sentimentalist
Don Juan in Hell
The Ballad of Iskander
Related books
James Elroy Flecker at amazon.co.uk

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