A Song in the Night
"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus." -- John xii.3.

Mechthild of Hellfde, 1277.

tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899

O Jesus Lord, most fair, most passing sweet,

In darkest hours revealed in love to me,

In those dark hours I fall before Thy feet,

I sing to Thee.

I join the song of love, and I adore

With those who worship Thee for evermore.

Thou art the Sun of every eye,

The Gladness everywhere,

The guiding Voice for ever nigh,

The Strength to do and bear;

The sacred Lore of wisdom's store,

The Life of life to all,

The Order mystic, marvellous

In all things great and small.

Thy love hast Thou told from the days of old,

Thou hast written my name in Thy Book divine;

Engraved on Thy hands and Thy feet it stands,

And on Thy side as a sign;

O glorious Man in the garden of God,

Thy sacred Manhood is mine.

I kneel on the golden floor of Heaven

With my box of ointment sweet,

Grant unto me, Thy much forgiven,

To kiss and anoint Thy feet.

"Where wilt thou find that ointment rare,

O My belovèd one?"

Thou brakest my heart, and didst find it there,

Rest sweetly there alone.

"There is no embalming so sweet to Me

As to dwell, my well-belovèd, in thee."

Lord, take me home to Thy palace fair,

So will I ever anoint Thee there.

"I will, but My plighted troth saith, Wait,'

And My love saith, Work to-day;'

My meekness saith, Be of low estate,'

And My longing, Watch and pray;'

My shame and sorrow say, Bear My cross;'

My song saith, Win the crown;'

My guerdon saith, All else is loss;'

My patience saith, Be still;'

Till thou shalt lay the burden down,

Then, when I will.

Then, beloved, the crown and palm,

And then the music and the psalm;

And the cup of joy My hand shall fill

Till it overflow;

And with singing I strike the harp of gold

I have tuned below.

The harp I tune in desolate years

Of sorrow and tears,

Till a music sweet the chords repeat,

Which all the heavens shall fill;

For the holy courts of God made meet,

Then, when I will."

the gift
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