VERY early Easter morning, 

While the city streets were still, 

And the birds in St. Mark's maples 

Waited with their songs until 

Some strong, happy singer, singing 

In the church at dawn, was through— 

Lightly stepping up the churchyard, 

Came the little Marys two; 

Each in pretty Easter bonnet, 

Each in pretty Easter gown, 

And the little arms with lilies— 

Pure white lilies—loaded down. 

Slow along the silent pavement, 

Soft across the churchyard grass, 

And a-listening to the Gloria, 

Came another little lass, 

With no pretty Easter bonnet, 

With no pretty Easter gown, 

And no lily, but some early 

Grass-blades held all shyly down; 

Yet she crossed the soft green churchyard 

(And her name was Mary too), 

And the great church-doors swung open, 

And the Marys three went through. 

Like the tender, Jewish Marys 

Going to the garden tomb, 

With their flowers to the altar 

Passed they down the golden gloom, 

Till the little dainty Marys 

In the pretty Easter gowns 

Stood and chose and chose the places 

For the crosses and the crowns; 

Then the other little Mary, 

Bending in her faded gown, 

Underneath a wealth of Bowers 

Laid the wayside grasses down. 

Hastily were white hands lifted; 

"That," cried curling lips, "with these!" 

Gently little Mary murmured, 

"None will see it—let me, please!" 

Sweet, because they leave the grass-blades, 

Though they take their way with frowns, 

Sweet she thinks those little Marys 

In the pretty Easter gowns; 

But the giver of the grasses, 

Although priceless lilies be, 

Was the only little Mary 

Who the Easter Christ did see.


—Ella F. Pratt