The Ballad of Mary Magdalene

from Unaccomplished by Karl Dallas

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Though the identification of Magdalene with the woman taken in adultery is unbiblical, it makes a good story, so I have gone with tradition, rather then the true Gospel reading. The cover picture is Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1565).


My name is Mary
And I come from Magdala
And many a young man
Has shared my bed.
The life I led
It drove me crazy
I had seven devils
In my head.
The priests and elders
They came and took me
And they condemned me
To my death.
So pay attention
And I'll tell my story
If the good Lord spares me
And gives me breath.

We met a good man
Down by the roadside
They meant to trap him
And catch him out.
They said this woman
Was caught in sin and
The law is certain.
There is no doubt.
We mean to stone her,
To execute her.
If you're a good man
Then you'll agree.
So must she die
As the law provides
Or would you rather
We set her free?

He sat in silence
And then he answered:
It seemed to me that
My death was sure:
The penalty
Permits no mercy,
So throw your stones
If your life is pure.
If you can say that
Before Jehovah,
That you have never
Committed sin,
Then you are worthy
To stand in judgement
On this young woman,
So now begin.

They stood uncertain,
Looked at each other,
And silently they
Stole away.
He said: Is no one
Left to condemn you?
Then neither do I,
But this I say:
Your life needs changing,
And rearranging.
You have been given
The right to live.
For God has saved you
From condemnation,
And my salvation
Is what I give.

Now he was followed
By 12 disciples
And Judas was
The name of one.
He was a hard man
And bitter with it,
A trusted servant
When said and done.
He kept the money
And oversaw it,
So we could eat
And pay the bills.
Important work as
We roamed the country
To seek and cure
The people's ills.

I had a jar that
Was made of marble
And precious perfume
Filled the jar.
I raised it up and
I poured the perfume
All upon this
Good man's hair.
But Judas scolded,
He was so angry.
He said we could have
Sold the jar.
To feed the poor
Who were so hungry:
A silly woman,
That's what you are!

But Jesus smiled
And he said this woman
Has done a very
Lovely thing.
The poor are with you
And always will be
Until my kingdom
Returns again.
But I am with you
For a brief moment
And must return
To my Father's side.
So thank you, Mary,
You shall be blessèd
And see me first
When I'm glorified.

Now Judas turned
And he proved a traitor
And he sold my Master
For thirty coins.
They nailed him up
On a cross so cruel
And there he died
Between two thieves.
When he was buried
The tomb was opened,
The corpse had vanished
Into the night.
I came to seek him
But none could find him
Till the whole garden
Was filled with light.

I saw a young man
Sat by the entrance
His face was radiant
Like the sun.
I said young man
Have you stole the body?
Come tell me plainly
What you have done.
He answered: Mary,
And my heart leapt,
For I could hear
My Master's voice.
I ran to where
The 12 were hiding
And cried: He lives,
So let's rejoice.

They were amazed,
Could not believe
That God could open
The gates of death.
They called me foolish
Continued weeping
And yet I knew that
I told the truth.
He came and met them,
Ate breakfast with them
And all were changed by
Refining fire.
From that day forth
The good news grows
And flames of freedom
Are rising higher.

Words and Music © Copyright 1997 Karl Dallas/EMI Music

They say a woman
Led men astray
When Adam took the
Fruit from Eve.
But each of us
Must take the blame
For what we do:
This I believe.
Remember this:
It was a woman
Who blessed the Lord
And saw him die.
And when he rose
She was the first
To see his glory
Fill the sky.


from Unaccomplished, released August 25, 2012
Words and Music © Copyright 1997 Karl Dallas/EMI Music


all rights reserved


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