Day and night the Accuser makes no pause,
Day and night protest the Righteous Laws,
Good and evil witness to man’s flaws;
Man the culprit, man’s the ruined cause,
Man midway to death’s devouring jaws
And the worm that gnaws.

Day and night our Jesus makes no pause,
Pleads His own fulfilment of all laws,
Veils with His Perfections mortal flaws,
Clears the culprit, pleads the desperate cause,
Plucks the dead from death’s devouring jaws
And the worm that gnaws.

-Christina Rossetti

Divine and Human Pleading

“I would the saints could hear our prayers!

If such a thing might be,
O blessed Mary Magdalene,
I would appeal to thee!

“For once lowly penitence
Thy head was bowed with shame;
But now thou hast a glorious place,
And hast an unknown name.”

So mused a trembling contrite man,
So mused he wearily;
By angels borne his thoughts appeared
Before the Throne on high.


The calm, still night was at its noon,
And all men were at rest,
When came before the sleeper’s eyes
A vision of the blest.

A woman stood beside his bed,
Her breath was fragrance all;
Round her the light was very bright,
The air was musical.

Her footsteps shone upon the stars,
Her robe was spotless white;
Her breast was radiant with the Cross,
Her head with living light.

Her eyes beamed with a sacred fire;
And on her shoulders fair,
From underneath her golden crown
Clustered her golden hair.

Yet on her bosom her white hands
Were folded quietly;
Yet was her glorious head bowed low
In deep humility.

Long time she looked upon the ground;
Then raising her bright eyes
Her voice came forth as sweet and soft
As music when it dies.

“O thou who in they secret hour
Hast dared to think that aught
Is faulty in God’s perfect plan,
And perfect in thy thought!

“Thou who pleadings would’st prefer
Of one sin-stained like me
To His Who is the Lord of Life,
To His Who died for thee!

“In mercy I am sent from Heaven:
Be timely wise, and learn
To seek His love Who waits for thee,
Inviting thy return.

“Well know I His long-suffering
And intercession’s worth;
My guilt was as a heavy chain
That bound me to the earth.

“It was a clog upon my feet,
To keep me from Life’s path;
It was a stain upon my hands,
A curse upon my hearth.

“But there is a mighty Power and Grace
Can loose the heavy chain,
Can free the feet, can cleanse the hands,
Can purge the hearth again.

“Weeping I sought the Lord of Life,
Bowed with my shame and sin;
And then unto my wondering heart
Love’s searching fire came in.

“It was with deep repentance,
I knelt down at His Feet
Who can change the sorrow into joy,
The bitter into sweet.

“I had cast away my jewels
And my rich attire;
And my breast was filled with a holy flame,
And my heart with a holy fire.

“My tears were more precious
Than my precious pearls; –
My tears that fell upon His Feet
As I wiped them with my curls.

“My youth and my beauty
Were budding to their prime;
But I wept for the great transgression,
The sin of other time.

“Trembling betwixt hope and fear,
I sought the King of Heaven;
Forsook the evil of my ways,
Loved much, and was forgiven.

“In hope and fear I went to Him,
He broke and healed my heart;
No man was there to intercede;
As I was, so thou art.”

-Christina Rossetti

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