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The Mat

Heinrich Suso

Is. l. 6

It was on a winter's morning

In the days of old,

In his cell sat Father Henry,

Sorrowful and cold.

“O my Lord, I am aweary,”

In his heart he spake,

“For my brethren scorn and hate me

For Thy blessed sake.

“If I had but one to love me

That were joyful cheer—

One small word to make me sunshine

Through the darksome year!

“But they mock me and despise me

Till my heart is stung—

Then my words are wild and bitter,

Tameless is my tongue.”

Then the Lord said, “I am with thee;

Trust thyself to Me;

Open thou thy little casement,

Mark what thou shalt see.”

Then a piteous look and wistful

Father Henry cast

Out into the dim old cloister

And the wintry blast.

Was it that a friend was coming

By some Angel led?

No! a great hound wild and savage

Round the cloister sped.

Some old mat that lay forgotten

Seized he on his way—

Tore it, tossed it, dragged it wildly

Round the cloister gray.

“Lo, the hound is like thy brethren,”

Spake the Voice he knew;

“If thou are the mat, beloved,

What hast thou to do?”

Meekly then went Father Henry,

And the mat he bare

To his little cell to store it

As a jewel rare.

Many a winter and a summer

Through those cloisters dim,

Did he thenceforth walk rejoicing,

And the Lord with him.

And when bitter words would sting him,

Turned he to his cell,

Took his mat, and looked upon it,

Saying, “All is well.

“He who is the least and lowest

Needs but low to lie;

Lord, I thank Thee and I praise Thee

That the mat am I.”

“On the cold and footworn pavement

Lies it still and flat,

Raves not if men trample on it,

For it is a mat.”

Then he wept, for in the stillness

His Beloved spake,

“Thus was Ithe least and lowest,

Gladly, for thy sake.

“Lo, My face to shame and spitting

Did I turn for thee;

If thou art the least and lowest,

Then remember Me.”

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