Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE NOVICE, by GEORGE HERBERT CLARKE



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THE NOVICE, by            
First Line: She had a lover in the world
Last Line: "o mary, thou'rt a woman, too!"
Subject(s): Man-woman Relationships; Marriage; Nuns; Pain; Prayer; Male-female Relations; Weddings; Husbands; Wives; Suffering; Misery


SHE had a lover in the world,
A lover wooing her to wed;
"And does he live, or is he dead?"

She knows not, but she bows her head,
And broods upon the blesséd beads,
And spends the day in holy deeds.

"Mary, for one," she intercedes,
"Who is not good, thy grace I crave;
Madonna, grant his soul to save!

"He is not good, but, ah! so brave,
And strong, and tall, and careless-glad—
Careless and proud, my lover-lad!

"Madonna, I am very sad;
I do not know, I cannot hear—
And once I held him passing dear.

"O Mother, let me breathe my fear
Into your bosom true and pure:
I am not sure! I am not sure!

" 'To wed the Christ shall be my cure,'
I thought: 'I must no earthly love,
But fix my heart on Him above.'

"Bear witness, Mary, how I strove
To melt his image into thine,
And thy dear Son's, incarnadine!

"And wilt thou not bestow a sign?
May not my rebel heart be blest?
Or is't unworthy of thy rest?

"Here in the twilight I've confest,
Mary, to thee alone—thou knowest
How I, among thy maidens lowest,

"How I, even I, adore; and owest
Thou not thy votary a grace?—
Once more, but once, to see his face!

"Mother, I clasp thy knees, embrace
Them, kiss them, in abandonment!
But once—and I shall be content!

"Too weak and wrong for thine assent?
Nay, Mary, she was not a nun
Who bore thee, and who yearned to one.

"And thou thyself didst bear a Son
(Whose name be praised!)—Saint through and through,
O Mary, thou'rt a woman, too!"





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