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The Woman Who Came Behind Him in the Crowd


Near him she stole, rank after rank;
She feared approach too loud;
She touched his garment's hem, and shrank
Back in the sheltering crowd.

A trembling joy goes through her frame:
Her twelve years' fainting prayer
Is heard at last; she is the same
As other women there.

She hears his voice; He looks about.
Ah! is it kind or good
To bring her secret sorrow out
Before that multitude?

With open love, not secret cure,
The Lord of hearts would bless;
With age-long gladness, deep and sure,
With wealth of tenderness.

Her shame can find no shelter meet;
Their eyes her soul appal:
Forward she sped, and at his feet
Fell down, and told Him all.

His presence made a holy place;
No alien eyes were there;
Her shamed-faced grief found godlike grace;
More sorrow, tenderer care.

"Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole;
Go, and be well, and glad."
Ah, Lord! if we had faith, our soul
Not often would be sad.

Thou knowest all our hidden grief
Which none but Thee can know;
Thy knowledge, Lord, is our relief;
Thy love destroys our woe.



George MacDonald