Mary at the Cross

  by: Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

 

 

 

 

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother."

O WONDROUS mother! since the dawn of time
Was ever love, was ever grief, like thine?
O highly favored in thy joy's deep flow,
And favored, even in this, thy bitterest woe!

 

Poor was that home in simple Nazareth
Where, fairly growing, like some silent flower,
Last of a kingly race, unknown and lowly,
O desert lily, passed the childhood's hour.

 

The world knew not the tender, serious maiden,
Who through deep loving years so silent grew,
Full of high thought and holy aspiration,
Which the o'ershadowing God alone might view.

 

And then it came, that message from the highest,
Such as to woman ne'er before descended,
The almighty wings thy prayerful soul o'erspread,
And with thy life the Life of worlds was blended.

 

What visions then of future glory filled thee,
The chosen mother of that King unknown,
Mother fulfiller of all prophecy
Which, through dim ages, wondering seers had shown!

 

Well did thy dark eye kindle, thy deep soul

Rise into billows, and thy heart rejoice;
Then woke the poet's fire, the prophet's song,
Tuned with strange burning words thy timid voice.

 

Then, in dark contrast, came the lowly manger,
The outcast shed, the tramp of brutal feet;
Again behold earth's learned and her lowly,
Sages and shepherds, prostrate at they feet.

 

Then to the temple bearing--hark again
What strange conflicting tones of prophecy
Breathe o'er the child foreshadowing words of joy,
High triumph blent with bitter agony!

 

O, highly favored thou in many an hour
Spent in lone musings with thy wondrous Son,
When thou didst gaze into that glorious eye,
And hold that mighty hand within thine own.

 

Blest through those thirty years, when in thy dwelling
He lived a God disguised with unknown power;
And thou his sole adorer, his best love,
Trusting, revering, waited for his hour.

 

Blest in that hour, when called by opening heaven
With cloud and voice, and the baptizing flame,
Up from the Jordan walked th' acknowledged stranger,
And awe-struck crowds grew silent as he came.

 

Blessed, when full of grace, with glory crowned,
He from both hands almighty favors poured,
And though He had not where to lay his head,
Brought to his feet alike the slave and lord.

 

Crowds followed; thousands shouted, "Lo, our King!"
Fast beat thy heart. Now, now the hour draws nigh:
Behold the crown, the throne, the nations bend!
Ah, no! fond mother, no! behold him die!

 

Now by that cross thou tak'st thy final station,
And shar'st the last dark trial of thy Son;
Not with weak tears or woman's lamentation,
But with high, silent anguish, like his own.

 

Hail! highly favored, even in this deep passion;
Hail! in this bitter anguish thou art blest,--
Blast in the holy power with Him to suffer
Those deep death-pangs that lead to higher rest.

 

All now is darkness; and in that deep stillness
The God-man wrestles with that mighty woe;
Hark to that cry, the rock of ages rending,--
"'T is finished!" Mother, all is glory now!

 

By sufferings mighty as his mighty soul
Hath the Redeemer risen forever blest;
And through all ages must his heart-beloved
Through the same baptism enter the same rest.


   More poems by Harriet Beecher Stowe