Thus Moses in the law,—but what say'st thou?
Derisively they asked who stood around;
But Jesus answered nothing,—only stooped,
And wrote upon the ground.
He that is free from sin first cast the stone,
The Master then replied; but none was found
To stand such test,—the accusers fled: again,
He wrote upon the ground,
Wrote in the dust the tale of mortal sin,
For sin is of the flesh, and flesh but dust,
Hence doomed to perish; thus by symbol taught
The holy and the just.
But to the woman, words of strength and calm:
Neither do I condemn thee; sin no more.
What might and tenderness of love was here,
To heal and to restore!
Who doubts that from that hour she knew and claimed
All her rich birthright and, rejoicing, trod
In paths of light and life, the sin destroyed,
Her true self one with God?