If Mary had known When she held her Babe's hands in her own Little hands that were tender and white as a rose, All dented with dimples from finger to wrist, Such as mothers have kissed That one day they must feel the fierce blows Of a hatred insane, Must redden with holiest stain, And grasp as their guerdon the boon of the bitterest pain, Oh, I think that her sweet, brooding face Must have blanched with its anguish of knowledge above her embrace.
But if Mary had known, As she held her Babe's hands in her own, What a treasure of gifts to the world they would bring; What healing and hope to the hearts that must ache, And without him must break; Had she known they would pluck forth death's sting And set open the door Of the close, jealous grave evermore, Making free who were captives in sorrow and darkness before, Oh, I think that a gracious sunrise Of rapture had broken across the despair of her eyes!
If Mary had known As she sat with her baby alone, And guided so gently his bare little feet To take their first steps from the throne of her knee, How weary must be The path that for them should be meet; And how it must lead To the cross of humanity's need, Giving hissing and shame, giving blame and reproach for its meed, Oh, I think that her tears would have dewed Those dear feet that must walk such a hard, starless way to the Rood!
But if Mary had known, As she sat with her Baby alone, On what errands of mercy and peace they would go, How those footsteps would ring through the years of all time With an echo sublime, Making holy the land of their woe, That the pathway they trod Would guide the world back to its God, And lead ever upward away from the grasp of the clod, She had surely forgot to be sad And only remembered to be most immortally glad!
If Mary had known, As she held him so closely, her own, Cradling his shining, fair head on her breast, Sunned over with ringlets as bright as the morn, That a garland of thorn On that tender brow would be pressed Till the red drops would fall Into eyes that looked out upon all, Abrim with a pity divine over clamor and brawl, Oh, I think that her lullaby song Would have died on her lips into wailing impassioned and long!
But if Mary had known, As she held him so closely, her own, That over the darkness and pain he would be The Conqueror hailed in all oncoming days, The world's hope and praise, And the garland of thorn, The symbol of mocking and scorn Would be a victorious diadem royally worn, Oh, I think that ineffable joy Must have flooded her soul as she bent o'er her wonderful Boy!