Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

The Two Magdalenes - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

Art thou indeed repentant? though thy look
Be concentrated on the holy book?
Thy glowing wave of bosom makes it warm!
Thine oval face-flower leaneth on an arm
Luxuriantly moulded, negligent.
A Mediterranean-blue robe hath lent
Disclosure to the undulating form,
Reclining languid in a shadowy place
'Mid murmuring leaves, and there thy mellow grace
The Sun divines, who, passing through the grove,
Illumines throat, and bosom with still love.
Art thou indeed repentant? all thy youth
Mantling within thee, doth the perfect mouth
Weary of kissing? Here 'tis cool and fresh
For musing on the frailty of the flesh,
For shadowy contemplation, and sweet tomorrow!
But who may prophesy of thy to-morrow?
The seven devils in thee, did they go?
Or do they only sleep that they may grow?
Smouldering slumberous in thine almond white,
They may awake with renovated might!
Thou, blessing the brown earth with bare light foot!
I think they only parted to recruit.
When the world leaves you, worn with use, ye turn;
Nay, rule the world-illusion while ye burn!

A later painter showed her otherwise.
Under the domination of deep eyes,
She knows no more these lovers, for the wings
Of lovelier life new-born in her; she flings
The jewels from her, for the Pearl He brings.
In presence of her Lord, no fair and sweet
She knoweth, save to lay them at His feet.
Our splendid world dies, very dull and dim;
The woman in her seeth only Him!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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