Mary Magdelene

WHEN blessed Marie wip’d her Saviours feet,
(Whose precepts she had trampled on before)
And wore them for a jewell on her head,
Shewing his steps should be the street,
Wherein she thenceforth evermore
With pensive humblenesse would live and tread :

She being stain’d herself, why did she strive
To make him clean, who could not be defil’d?
Why kept she not her tears for her own faults,
And not his feet? Though we could dive
In tears like seas, our sinnes are pil’d
Deeper than they, in words, and works, and thoughts.

Deare soul, she knew who did vouchsafe and deigne
To bear her filth ; and that her sinnes did dash
Ev’n God himself ; wherefore she was not loth,
As she had brought wherewith to stain,
So to bring in wherewith to wash :
And yet in washing one, she washed both.


George Herbert


Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert.
New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857