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
|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
|Hialmar speaks to the Raven
|The Ballad of the Student in the South
|The Queen's song
|We that were friends
|I rose from dreamless hours
|A Miracle of Bethlehem
|Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis
|The Ballad of Zacho
|Pavlovna in London
|Don Juan in Hell
|The Ballad of Iskander
|James Elroy Flecker at amazon.co.uk