Our final selection from EBB’s verses on The Virgin Mary to the Child Jesus. I disagree with the poet’s suggestion that Jesus never smiled, nor had the heart to play: that’s not a real human child, unless one that has learned not to through cruelty. Perhaps the poet is suggesting that Jesus in his earthly, human life had access to divine knowledge of his death by cruelty. That is to deny his humanity altogether. But we can no longer interview Barrett Browning, and we know that Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce her heart, and she would have pondered these things in her heart.
XI. It is enough to bear This image still and fair, This holier in sleep Than a saint at prayer, This aspect of a child Who never sinned or smiled; This Presence in an infant's face; This sadness most like love, This love than love more deep, This weakness like omnipotence It is so strong to move. Awful is this watching place, Awful what I see from hence— A king, without regalia, A God, without the thunder, A child, without the heart for play; Ay, a Creator, rent asunder From His first glory and cast away On His own world, for me alone To hold in hands created, crying—Son!
XII. That tear fell not on Thee, Beloved, yet thou stirrest in thy slumber! Thou, stirring not for glad sounds out of number Which through the vibratory palm-trees run From summer-wind and bird, So quickly hast thou heard A tear fall silently? Wak'st thou, O loving One?—