She knelt, she bore a bold request,
Though shy to speak it out:
Ambition, even in mother’s breast,
Before him stood in doubt.
“What is it?” “Grant thy promise now,
My sons on thy right hand
And on thy left shall sit when thou
Art king, Lord, in the land.”
“Ye know not what ye ask.” There lay
A baptism and a cup
She understood not, in the way
By which he must go up.
Her mother-love would lift them high
Above their fellow-men;
Her woman-pride would, standing nigh,
Share in their grandeur then!
Would she have joyed o’er prosperous quest,
Counted her prayer well heard,
Had they, of three on Calvary’s crest,
Hung dying, first and third?
She knoweth neither way nor end:
In dark despair, full soon,
She will not mock the gracious friend
With prayer for any boon.
Higher than love could dream or dare
To ask, he them will set;
They shall his cup and baptism share,
And share his kingdom yet!
They, entering at his palace-door,
Will shun the lofty seat;
Will gird themselves, and water pour,
And wash each other’s feet;
Then down beside their lowly Lord
On the Father’s throne shall sit:
For them who godlike help afford
God hath prepared it.