She washes them with sorrow sweet,
She wipes them with her hair;
Her kisses soothe the weary feet,
To all her kisses bare.
The best of woman, beauty’s crown,
She spends upon his feet;
Her eyes, her lips, her hair, flung down,
In one devotion meet.
His face, his words, her heart had woke.
She judged Him well, in sooth:
Believing Him, her bonds she broke,
And fled to Him for truth.
His holy manhood’s perfect worth
Redeems the woman’s ill:
Her thanks intense to Him burn forth,
Who owns her woman still.
And so, in kisses, ointment, tears,
And outspread lavish hair,
An earnest of the coming years,
Ascends her thankful prayer.
If Mary too her hair did wind
The holy feet around;
Such tears no virgin eyes could find,
As this sad woman found.
And if indeed his wayworn feet
With love she healed from pain;
This woman found the homage meet,
And taught it her again.
The first in grief, ah I let her be,
And love that springs from woe;
Woe soothed by Him more tenderly
That sin doth make it flow.
Simon, such kisses will not soil;
Her tears are pure as rain;
Her hair–’tis Love unwinds the coil,
Love and her sister Pain.
If He be kind, for life she cares;
A light lights up the day;
She to herself a value bears,
Not yet a castaway.
And evermore her heart arose,
And ever sank away;
For something crowned Him o’er her woes,
More than her best could say.
Rejoice, sweet sisters, holy, pure,
Who hardly know her case:
There is no sin but has its cure,
But finds its answering grace.
Her heart, although it sinned and sank,
Rose other hearts above:
Bless her, dear sisters, bless and thank,
For teaching how to love.
He from his own had welcome sad–
“Away with him,” said they;
Yet never lord or poet had
Such homage in his day.
Ah Lord! in whose forgiveness sweet,
Our life becomes intense!
We, brothers, sisters, crowd thy feet–
Ah! make no difference.