Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MARY'S SPIKENARD, by JOHN CLEVELAND



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MARY'S SPIKENARD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Shall I presume / without perfume
Last Line: For then for grief they will grow grey.


SHALL I presume,
Without perfume,
My Christ to meet
That is all sweet?
No! I'll make most pleasant posies,
Catch the breath of new-blown roses,
Top the pretty merry flowers,
Which laugh in the fairest bowers,
Whose sweetness Heaven likes so well,
It stoops each morn to take a smell.
Then I'll fetch from the Phoenix' nest
The richest spices and the best,
Precious ointments I will make;
Holy Myrrh and aloes take,
Yea, costly Spikenard in whose smell
The sweetness of all odours dwell.
I'll get a box to keep it in,
Pure as his alabaster skin:
And then to him I'll nimbly fly
Before one sickly minute die.
This box I'll break, and on his head
This precious ointment will I spread,
Till ev'ry lock and ev'ry hair
For sweetness with his breath compare:
But sure the odour of his skin
Smells sweeter than the spice I bring.
Then with bended knee I'll greet
His holy and beloved feet;
I'll wash them with a weeping eye,
And then my lips shall kiss them dry;
Or for a towel he shall have
My hair -- such flax as nature gave.
But if my wanton locks be bold,
And on Thy sacred feet take hold,
And curl themselves about, as though
They were loath to let thee go,
O chide them not, and bid away,
For then for grief they will grow grey.





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