Verse > Anthologies > W. Garrett Horder, ed. > The Poets’ Bible: New Testament
W. Garrett Horder, comp.  The Poets’ Bible: New Testament.  1895.
The Mother of Zebedee’s Children
George MacDonald (1824–1905)
SHE knelt, she bore a bold request,
  Though shy to speak it out;
Ambition, even in mother’s breast,
  Before him stood in doubt.
“What is it?” “These my sons, allow        5
  To sit on thy right hand
And on thy left, O Lord, when thou
  Art ruler in the land.”
“Ye know not what ye ask.” There lay
  A baptism and a cup        10
They understood not, in the way
  By which he must go up.
She would have had them lifted high
  Above their fellow-men;
Sharing their pride with mother-eye,        15
  Had been blest mother then.
But would she praise for granted quest,
  Counting her prayer well heard,
If of the three on Calvary’s crest
  They shared the first and third?        20
She knoweth neither way nor end;
  There comes a dark despair,
When she will doubt if this great friend
  Can answer any prayer.
Yet higher than her love can dare,        25
  His love her sons will set:
They shall his cup and baptism share,
  And share his kingdom yet.
They, entering at his palace-door,
  Shall shun the lofty seat;        30
Shall gird themselves, and water pour,
  And wash each other’s feet.
For in thy kingdom, lowly Lord,
  Who sit with thee on high
Are those who tenderest help afford        35
  In most humility.

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