He Repents of His Attitude

Canto VII

Then a judgment made I to that damosel:
"Reckon it not as wrath toward my Lord
If rashly I rave, words tumbling pell-mell;
My heart, as pierced by sorrow's sword,
Gushed weltering water from a well.
I wish his mercy he'd me afford.
So rebuke me not with words so felt,
E'en though I blunder, my dear adored.
But discover to me kindly your comfort,
Pitifully thinking thou upon this:
Of care and me, ye made accord
Who once was ground of all my bliss.


"My bliss, my bale, ye both have been;
But much the more, it was my moan
Since thou wast cast out from my ken
I wist not where my pearl was gone.
Now I see it; now my woe has waned.
When we parted we were at one;
God forbid that we now be wroth
We meet so seldom by stock or stone.
Although courteously ye can carp,
I am but mud and mumble amiss.
But Christ's mercy and Mary and John--
These are the ground of all my bliss.


"In bliss I see thee blithly blent,
And I a man all mournful made.
Ye take thereof full little intent
That I'm hurt oft by harms I hate.
But now that I'm in your presence,
I would beseech without debate
That ye say to me in sober assent
What life ye head, early and late;
For I'm full fain that your estate
Is altered to such affluence as this.
To all my joy the high gate,
It is and ground of all my bliss."


"Now bliss, beloved, must thee betide!"
That lovely of limb and look spoke clear.
"I welcome thee here to walk and bide,
For now thy speech to me is dear.
Masterful mood and highest pride,
I hint thee, are heatedly hated here.
My Lord loves not at all to chide,
For meek are all who him dwell near.
And when at his place thou shalt appear,
Be deeply devout in holy meekness;
My Lord the Lamb loves aye such cheer,
Who is the ground of all my bliss.


"A blissful life thou sayest I lead;
Thou wouldst thereof then know the stage.
Thou knowest full well, when they pearl fell,
I was full young and tender of age.
But my Lord the Lamb, thru his Godhead,
He took myself to his marriage,
Crowned me his queen to blossom in bliss
Thru length of days that ne'er shall pass.
And possessed of all his heritage
His beloved is. I'm wholly his!
His poise, his power, his patronage
Are root and ground of all my bliss."

Much more than any sort of visible glories (although the poet already has described many and will describe many more) the Pearl Maiden knows well that it is her personal relationship to Jesus Christ--to his poise, his power, and his patronage--that is the root and ground of all her bliss. The Jeweler, in time, will come to know this, too. Indeed, probably both here and in scripture, the physical imagery of glory is intended as symbolic of this person-to-person, I-Thou relationship.

And here is our comfort: to know that neither death (whether our own or that of a loved one), nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor losses present, nor losses to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth of depression, nor any grief in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Copyright (c) 1983