A Meditation Of St. Eligius

A poem by George MacDonald

Queen Mary one day Jesus sent
To fetch some water, legends tell;
The little boy, obedient,
Drew a full pitcher from the well;

But as he raised it to his head,
The water lipping with the rim,
The handle broke, and all was shed
Upon the stones about the brim.

His cloak upon the ground he laid
And in it gathered up the pool; [Proverbs xxx. 4.]
Obedient there the water staid,
And home he bore it plentiful.

Eligius said, "Tis fabled ill:
The hands that all the world control,
Had here been room for miracle,
Had made his mother's pitcher whole!

"Still, some few drops for thirsty need
A poor invention even, when told
In love of thee the Truth indeed,
Like broken pitcher yet may hold:

"Thy truth, alas, Lord, once I spilt:
I thought to bear the pitcher high;
Upon the shining stones of guilt
I slipped, and there the potsherds lie!

"Master, I cried, no man will drink,
No human thirst will e'er be stilled
Through me, who sit upon the brink,
My pitcher broke, thy water spilled!

"What will they do I waiting left?
They looked to me to bring thy law!
The well is deep, and, sin-bereft,
I nothing have wherewith to draw!"

"But as I sat in evil plight,
With dry parched heart and sickened brain,
Uprose in me the water bright,
Thou gavest me thyself again!"

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