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Title: May Carols
Author: De Vere, Aubrey, 1814-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "May Carols" ***

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[Transcriber's Notes:]
  This text is derived from
  http://archive.org/details/maycarolspoems00veregoog

  Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed in curly
  braces, e.g. {99}. They have been located where page breaks occurred
  in the original book.

  Dedicated to Fr. Richard Trout who brings his love of Christ and
  the Virgin Mary to life in his preaching at Corpus Christi Parish.
  "Thanks for the homilies."

[End Transcriber's Notes:]


_By the same Author._



I.
THE SEARCH AFTER PEOSEEPINE, and
Other Poems. 12mo 7s. 6d.
J. H. and J. Parker, Oxford and London.



II.

POEMS (MISCELLANEOUS AND SACRED).
Fcap. 8vo 4s. 6d.
Burns and Lambert, London.



MAY CAROLS.


London:

Printed by Spottiswoode & Co
New-street Square.



MAY CAROLS.


BY


AUBREY DE VERE.


LONDON:

LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, LONGMANS, & ROBERTS.

1857.



_The right of translation is reserved._



TO

THE VERY REVEREND

HENRY EDWARD MANNING


THESE POEMS

ARE AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED


{v}

INTRODUCTION.



The wisdom of the Church, which consecrates the
fleeting seasons of Time to the interests of Eternity,
has dedicated the month of May (the birthday
festival, as it were, of Creation) to her who was
ever destined in the Divine Counsels to become the
Mother of her Creator. It belongs to her, of course,
as she is the representative of the Incarnation, and
its practical exponent to a world but too apt to
forget what it professes to hold. The following
Poems, written in her honour, are an attempt to
set forth, though but in mere outline, each of
them some one of the great Ideas or essential
Principles embodied in that all-embracing Mystery.
On a topic so comprehensive, converse statements,
at one time illustrating the highest excellence compatible
with mere creaturely existence, at another,
the infinite distance between the chief of creatures
and the Creator, may seem, at first sight, and
to some eyes, contradictory, although in reality,
mutually correlative. On an attentive perusal,
however, that harmony which exists among the
{vi}
many portions of a single mastering Truth, can
hardly fail to appear--and with it the scope and
aim of this Poem.

With the meditative, descriptive pieces have
been interspersed. They are an attempt towards
a Christian rendering of external nature. Nature,
like Art, needs to be spiritualised, unless it is to
remain a fortress in the hands of an adverse Power.
The visible world is a passive thing, which ever
takes its meaning from something above itself.
In Pagan times, it drew its interpretation from
Pantheism; and to Pantheism--nay, to that Idolatry
which is the popular application of
Pantheism--it has still a secret, though restrained
tendency, not betrayed by literature alone. A
World without Divinity, Matter without Soul, is
intolerable to the human mind. Yet, on the other
hand, there is much in fallen human nature which
shrinks from the sublime thought of a Creator,
and rests on that of a sheathed Divinity diffused
throughout the universe, its life, not its maker.
Mere personified elements, the Wood-God and
River-Nymph, captivate the fancy and do not
over-awe the soul. For a bias so seductive, no
cure is to be found save in authentic Christianity,
the only practical Theism. The whole truth, on
the long run, holds its own better than the half
truth; and minds repelled by the thought of a
God who stands afar off, and created the universe
but to abandon it to general laws, fling themselves
at the feet of a God made Man. In other words,
{vii}
the Incarnation is the _Complement_ of Creation.
In it is revealed the true nature of that link which
binds together the visible and invisible worlds.
When the "Word was made Flesh," a bridge
was thrown across that gulf which had else for
ever separated the Finite from the Infinite. The
same high Truth which brings home to us the
doctrine of a Creation, consecrates that Creation,
reconstituting it into an Eden meet for an unfallen
Adam and an unfallen Eve; nay, exalting it into
a heavenly Jerusalem, the dwelling-place of the
Lamb and of the Bride. It does this, in part,
through symbols and associations founded on the
all-cleansing Blood and the all-sanctifying Spirit
--symbols and associations the reverse of those in
which an Epicurean mythology took delight, and
which the very superficial alone can confound
with such. This is perhaps the aspect of Religion
least above the level of Poetry.

As to its form, the present work belongs to the
class of serial poems, a species of composition
happily revived in recent times, as by Wordsworth,
in his "Ecclesiastical Sketches," and "Sonnets
dedicated to Liberty," by Landor, and, with preeminent
success, by the author of "In Memoriam."
It was in common use among our earlier poets,
who derived it from Petrarch and the Italians.
Most often the interest of such poems was of a
personal sort, as in the serial sonnets of Shakespeare,
Spenser, Sidney, Drummond, Daniel, and
Drayton; as well as the "Aurora" of Lord
{viii}
Stirling, and the "Astrea" of Sir John Davies.
Occasionally, it was of a more abstract character.
In both cases, alike, advantage was derived
from a method of writing which unites an
indefinite degree of continuity with a somewhat
lawless variety, and which gains in brevity by
the omission of connecting bonds. In Herbert's
"Temple," Vaughan's "Silex Scintillans," and the
chief poems of Donne and Crashaw, the unity is
but that of kindred thoughts, and a common subject,
not of a complete design. Habington's
"Castara," a noble work too little known, combines a
personal with an abstract interest. In it many
poems on religious and philosophical subjects are
grouped for support round a single centre; that
centre being the sustained homage paid by the
poet to one not unworthy, apparently, of his
reverence and love.

{ix}{x}{xi}{xii}

CONTENTS


                                            PAGE
Prologue  xv

PART I.

Who feels not, when the Spring once more   3
Upon Thy face, O God, thy world   5
All but unutterable Name  6
Sancta Maria  7
Dei Genitrix  8
Virgo Virginum   9
Ascending from the convent-grates   11
Adolescentulae amaverunt te nimis  12
Mater Christi   13
Mater Christi   14
Mater Creatoris   15
Mater Salvatoris   16
Mater Dolorosa   17
Mater Dolorosa    18
Mater Admirabilis    19
Mater Amabilis    20
Mater Filii    21
Mater Divinae Gratiae   22
Mater Divinae Gratiae    23
When April's sudden sunset cold   24
As children when, with heavy tread   25
Mariae Cliens  26
Fest. Visitationis  28
Not yet, not yet! the Season sings   29
Fest. Nativitatis B.V.M.   30
The moon, ascending o'er a mass   32
A dream came to me while the night  33
Fest. Purificationis   34
Fest. Epiphaniae  35
The sunless day is sweeter yet  36
Legenda    37


PART II.

Conservabat in Corde   41
Ascensio Domini    42
Ascensio Domini    43
Elias   44
Stronger and steadier every hour    45
Speculum Justitiae    46
Munera   48
Predestinata   49
Three worlds there are:--the first of Sense--    51
Alas! not only loveliest eyes    52
Idolatria    53
Tota Pulchra     55
Stella Matutina   57
Janua Coeli   58
If sense of Man's unworthiness    60
Causa Nostra Laetitiae    61
Stella Maris    62
Blossom for ever, blossoming Rod!   64
Unica    65
Magnificat   66
Mystica    67
Expectatio   68
Still on the gracious work proceeds    70
Turris Eburnea     71
Who doubts that thou art finite? Who    73
They seek not; or amiss they seek   74
A sudden sun-burst in the woods    75
Dominica Pentecostes    76
Dominica Pentecostes    78
Turris Davidica   79
"Tu sola interemisti omnes Haereses"    80


PART III.

In vain thine altars do they heap   83
Babylon   84
The golden rains are dashed against    85
Sedes Sapientiae     86
Sedes Sapientiae     87
Here, in this paradise of light    88
Fest. B.V.M. de Monte Carmelo   89
Come from the midnight mountain tops    91
Advocata Nostra    92
Thronus Trinitatis    93
Cultus Sanctorum    94
Fest. S. S. Trinitatis   96
Where is the crocus now, that first    98
"Ad Nives"     99
Fest. Puritatis    101
Cloud-piercing Mountains! Chance and Change    103
Foederis Arca   104
Domus Aurea    105
Respexit Humilitatem     106
Respexit Humilitatem     107
"Sine Labe originali Concepta"   109
"Sine Labe originali Concepta"   110
Brow-bound with myrtle and with gold   111
Corpus Christi  112
Corpus Christi   114
Pleasant the swarm about the bough    115
Sing on, wide winds, your anthems vast   116
Coeli enarrant   117
Caro factus est  119
A woman "clothed with the sun"    121
No ray or all their silken sheen   122

Epilogue    125



_PROLOGUE._



  That sun-eyed Power which stands sublime
    Upon the rock that crowns our globe,
  Her feet on all the spoils of time,
    With light eternal on her robe,

  She, sovereign of the orb she guides,
    On Truth's broad sun may root a gaze
  That deepens, onward as she rides,
    And shrinks not from the fontal blaze:

  But they--her daughter Arts--must hide
    Within the cleft, content to see
  Dim skirts of glory waving wide,
    And steps of parting Deity.

 'Tis theirs to watch Religion break
    In types from Nature's frown or smile,
  The legend rise from out the lake,
    The relic consecrate the isle.

  'Tis theirs to adumbrate and suggest;
    To point toward founts of buried lore;
  Leaving, in reverence, unexpressed
    What Man must know not, yet adore.

  For where her court true Wisdom keeps,
    'Mid loftier handmaids, one there stands
  Dark as the midnight's starry deeps,
    A Slave, gem-crowned, from Nubia's sands.

  O thou whose light is in thy heart
    Love-taught Submission! without thee
  Science may soar awhile; but Art
    Drifts barren o'er a shoreless sea.


{3}


MAY CAROLS


PART I.



MAY CAROLS.



PART I.



I.

  Who feels not, when the Spring once more,
    Stepping o'er Winter's grave forlorn
  With winged feet, retreads the shore
    Of widowed Earth, his bosom burn?

  As ordered flower succeeds to flower,
    And May the ladder of her sweets
  Ascends, advancing hour by hour
    From scale to scale, what heart but beats?

  Some Presence veiled, in fields and groves,
    That mingles rapture with remorse;--
  Some buried joy beside us moves,
    And thrills the soul with such discourse

{4}

  As they, perchance, that wondering pair
    Who to Emmaus bent their way,
  Hearing, heard not. Like them our prayer
    We make:--"The night is near us . . Stay!"

  With Paschal chants the churches ring;
    Their echoes strike along the tombs;
  The birds their Hallelujahs sing;
    Each flower with floral incense fumes.

  Our long-lost Eden seems restored;
    As on we move with tearful eyes
  We feel through all the illumined sward
    Some upward-working Paradise.

{5}

II.

  Upon Thy face, O God, Thy world
    Looks ever up in love and awe;
  Thy stars, in circles onward hurled,
    Still weave the sacred chain of law.

  In alternating antiphons
    Stream sings to stream and sea to sea;
  And moons that set and sinking suns
    Obeisance make, O God, to Thee.

  The swallow, winter's rage o'erblown,
    Again, on warm May breezes borne,
  Revisiteth her haunts well-known;
    The lark is faithful to the morn.

  The whirlwind, missioned with its wings
    To drown the fleet and fell the tower,
  Obeys thee as the bird that sings
    Her love-chant in a fleeting shower.

  Amid an ordered universe
    Man's spirit only dares rebel:--
  With light, O God, its darkness pierce!
    With love its raging chaos quell!

{6}


III.

  All but unutterable Name!
    Adorable, yet awful, sound!
  Thee can the sinful nations frame
    Save with their foreheads to the ground?

  Soul-searching and all-cleansing Fire!
    To see Thy countenance were to die:
  Yet how beyond the bound retire
    Of Thy serene immensity?

  Thou mov'st beside us, if the spot
    We change--a noteless, wandering tribe;
  The orbits of our life and thought
    In Thee their little arcs describe.

  In the dead calm, at cool of day,
    We hear Thy voice, and turn, and flee:--
  Thy love outstrips us on our way:
    From Thee, O God, we fly--to Thee.


{7}


_Sancta Maria._


IV.

  Mary! To thee the humble cry.
    What seek they? Gifts to Pride unknown.
  They seek thy help--to pass thee by:--
    They murmur, "Show us but thy Son."

  The childlike heart shall enter in;
    The virgin soul its God shall see:--
  Mother, and maiden pure from sin,
    Be thou the guide: the Way is He.

  The mystery high of God made Man
    Through thee to man is easier made:
  Pronounce the consonant who can
    Without the softer vowel's aid!


{8}


_Dei Genitrix._


V.

  I see Him: on thy lap He lies
    'Mid that Judaean stable's gloom:
  O sweet, O awful Sacrifice!
    He smiles in sleep, yet knows His doom.

  Thou gav'st Him life! But was not this
    That life which knows no parting breath?
  Unmeasured life? unwaning bliss
    Dread Priestess, lo! thou gav'st Him death!

  Beneath the tree thy mother stood:
    Beneath the cross thou too shalt stand:--
  O Tree of Life! O bleeding Rood!
    Thy shadow stretches far its hand.

  That God who made the sun and moon
    In swaddling bands lies dumb and bound!--
  Love's Captive! darker prison soon
    Awaits Thee in the garden ground.

  He wakens. Paradise looks forth
    Beyond the portals of the grave.
  Life, life thou gavest! life to Earth,
    Not Him. Thine Infant dies to save.


{9}

_Virgo Virginum._


VI.

  When from their lurking place the Voice
    Of God dragged forth that fallen pair,
  Still seemed the garden to rejoice;
   The sinless Eden still was fair.

  They, they alone, whose light of grace
    But late made Paradise look dim,
  Stood now, a blot upon its face,
    Before their God; nor gazed on Him.

  They glanced not up; or they had seen
    In that severe, death-dooming eye
  Unutterable depths serene
    Of sadly-piercing sympathy.

  Not them alone that Eye beheld,
    But, by their side, that other Twain,
  In whom the race whose doom was knelled
    Once more should rise; once more should reign.

{10}

  It saw that Infant crowned with blood;--
    And her from whose predestined breast
  That Infant ruled the worlds. She stood,
    Her foot upon the serpent's crest!

  Voice of primeval prophecy!
    She who makes glad whatever heart
  Adores her Son and Saviour, she
    In thee, that hour, possessed a part!


{11}


VII.

  Ascending from the convent-grates,
    The children mount the woodland vale.
  'Tis May-Day Eve; and Hesper waits
    To light them, while the western gale

  Blows softly on their bannered line:
    And, lo! down all the mountain stairs
  The shepherd children come to join
    The convent children at their prayers.

  They meet before Our Lady's fane:
    On yonder central rock it stands,
  Uplifting, ne'er invoked in vain,
    That cross which blesses all the lands.

  Before the porch the flowers are flung;
    The lamp hangs glittering 'neath the Rood;
  The "Maris Stella" hymn is sung;
    Their chant each morn to be renewed.

  Ah! if a secular muse might dare,
    Far off, the children's song to catch;
  To echo back, or burthen bear!--
    As fitly might she hope to match

  The linnet's note as theirs, 'tis true:
    Yet, now and then, that borrowed tone,
  Like sunbeams flashed on pine or yew,
    Might shoot a sweetness through her own!


{12}


_Adolescentulae amaverunt te nimis._


VIII.


  "Behold! the wintry rains are past;
    The airs of midnight hurt no more:
  The young maids love thee. Come at last:
    Thou lingerest at the garden-door.

  "Blow over all the garden; blow,
    Thou wind that breathest of the south,
  Through all the alleys winding low,
    With dewy wing and honeyed mouth.

  "But wheresoever thou wanderest, shape
    Thy music ever to one Name:--
  Thou too, clear stream, to cave and cape
    Be sure thou whisper of the same.

  "By every isle and bower of musk
    Thy crystal clasps, as on it curls,
  We charge thee, breathe it to the dusk;
    We charge thee, grave it in thy pearls."

  The stream obeyed. That Name he bore
    Far out above the moon-lit tide.
  The breeze obeyed. He breathed it o'er
    The unforgetting pines; and died.


{13}


_Mater Christi._


IX.

  Daily beneath His mother's eyes
    Her Lamb matured His lowliness:
  Twas hers the lovely Sacrifice
    With fillet and with flower to dress.

  Beside His little cross He knelt;
    With human-heavenly lips He prayed:
  His Will within her will she felt;
    And yet His Will her will obeyed.

  Gethsemané! when day is done
    Thy flowers with falling dews are wet:
  Her tears fell never; for the sun
    Those tears that brightened never set.

  The house was silent as that shrine
    The priest but entered once a year.
  There shone His emblem. Light Divine!
    Thy presence and Thy power was here!


{14}


_Mater Christi._


X.

  He willed to lack; He willed to bear;
    He willed by suffering to be schooled;
  He willed the chains of flesh to wear:
    Yet from her arms the worlds He ruled.

  As tapers 'mid the noontide glow
    With merged yet separate radiance burn,
  With human taste and touch, even so,
    The things He knew He willed to learn.

  He sat beside the lowly door:
    His homeless eyes appeared to trace
  In evening skies remembered lore,
    And shadows of His Father's face.

  One only knew Him. She alone
    Who nightly to His cradle crept,
  And lying like the moonbeam prone,
    Worshipped her Maker as He slept.


{15}


_Mater Creatoris._


XI.

  Bud forth a Saviour, Earth! fulfil
    Thy first of functions, ever new!
  Balm-dropping heaven, for aye distil
    Thy grace like manna or like dew!

  "To us, this day, a Child is born.'"
    Heaven knows not mere historic facts:--
  Celestial mysteries, night and morn,
    Live on in ever-present Acts.

  Calvary's dread Victim in the skies
    On God's great altar rests even now:
  The Pentecostal glory lies
    For ever round the Church's brow.

  From Son and Father, He, the Lord
    Of Love and Life, proceeds alway:
  Upon the first creative word
    Creation, trembling, hangs for aye.

  Nor less ineffably renewed
    Than when on earth the tie began,
  Is that mysterious Motherhood
    Which re-creates the worlds and man.


{16}


_Mater Salvatoris._


XII.


  O Heart with His in just accord!
    O Soul His echo, tone for tone!
  O Spirit that heard, and kept His word!
    O Countenance moulded like His own!

  Behold, she seemed on Earth to dwell;
    But, hid in light, alone she sat
  Beneath the Throne ineffable,
    Chanting her clear Magnificat.

  Fed from the boundless heart of God,
    The joy within her rose more high
  And all her being overflowed,
    Until the awful hour was nigh.

  Then, then, there crept her spirit o'er
    The shadow of that pain world-wide
  Whereof her Son the substance bore:--
    Him offering, half in Him she died;

  Standing like that strange Moon, whereon
    The mask of Earth lies dim and dead,
  An orb of glory, shadow-strewn,
    Yet girdled with a luminous thread.


{17}


_Mater Dolorosa._


XIII.


  She stood: she sank not. Slowly fell
    Adown the Cross the atoning blood.
  In agony ineffable
    She offered still His own to God.

  No pang of His her bosom spared;
    She felt in Him its several power.
  But she in heart His Priesthood shared:
    She offered Sacrifice that hour.

  "Behold thy Son!" Ah, last bequest!
    It breathed His last farewell! The sword
  Predicted pierced that hour her breast.
    She stood: she answered not a word.

  His own in John He gave. She wore
    Thenceforth the Mother-crown of Earth.
  O Eve! thy sentence too she bore;
    Like thee in sorrow she brought forth.


{18}


_Mater Dolorosa._



XIV.


  From her He passed: yet still with her
    The endless thought of Him found rest;
  A sad but sacred branch of myrrh
    For ever folded in her breast.

  A Boreal winter void of light--
    So seemed her widowed days forlorn:
  She slept; but in her breast all night
    Her heart lay waking till the morn.

  Sad flowers on Calvary that grew;--
    Sad fruits that ripened from the Cross;--
  These were the only joys she knew:
    Yet all but these she counted loss.

  Love strong as Death! She lived through thee
    That mystic life whose every breath
  From Life's low harpstring amorously
    Draws out the sweetened name of Death.

  Love stronger far than Death or Life!
    Thy martyrdom was o'er at last
  Her eyelids drooped; and without strife
    To Him she loved her spirit passed.


{19}

_Mater Admirabilis._


XV.


  O Mother-Maid! to none save thee
    Belongs in full a Parent's name;
  So fruitful thy Virginity,
    Thy Motherhood so pure from blame!

  All other parents, what are they?
    Thy types. In them thou stood'st rehearsed,
  (As they in bird, and bud, and spray).
    Thine Antitype? The Eternal First!

  Prime Parent He: and next Him thou!
    Overshadowed by the Father's Might,
  Thy "Fiat" was thy bridal vow;
    Thine offspring He, the "Light of Light."

  Her Son Thou wert: her Son Thou art,
    O Christ! Her substance fed Thy growth:--
  She shaped Thee in her virgin heart,
    Thy Mother and Thy Father both!


{20}


_Mater Amabilis._


XVI.

  Mother of Love! Thy love to Him
    Cherub and seraph can but guess:--
  A mother sees its image dim
    In her own breathless tenderness.

  That infant touch none else could feel
    Vibrates like light through all her sense:
  Far off she hears his cry: her zeal
    With lions fights in his defence.

  Unmarked his youth goes by: his hair
    Still smooths she down, still strokes apart:
  The first white thread that meets her there
    Glides, like a dagger, through her heart.

  Men praise him: on her matron cheek
    There dawns once more a maiden red.
  Of war, of battle-fields they speak:
    She sees once more his father dead.

  In sickness--half in sleep--she hears
    His foot, ere yet that foot is nigh:
  Wakes with a smile; and scarcely fears,
    If he but clasp her hand, to die.


{21}


_Mater Filii._


XVII.


  Others, the hours of youth gone by,
    A mother's hearth and home forsake;
  And, with the need, the filial tie
    Relaxes, though it does not break.

  But Thou wert born to be a Son.
    God's Son in heaven, Thy will was this,
  To pass the chain of Sonship on,
    And bind in one whatever is.

  Thou cam'st the _Son_ of Man to be,
    That so Thy brethren too might bear
  Adoptive Sonship, and with Thee
    Thy Sire's eternal kingdom share.

  Transcendently the Son Thou art:
    In this mysterious bond entwine,
  As in a single, two-celled heart,
    Thy natures, human and divine.



{22}



_Mater Divinae Gratiae._


XVIII.


  "They have no wine." The tender guest
    Was grieved their feast should lack for aught.
  He seemed to slight her mute request:
    Not less the grace she wished He wrought.

  O great in Love! O full of Grace!
    That winds in thee, a river broad,
  From Christ, with heaven-reflecting face,
    Gladdening the City of thy God:--

  Be this thy gift: that man henceforth
    No more should creep through life content
  (Draining the springs impure of earth)
    With life's material element.

  Let sacraments to sense succeed:
    Let nought be winning, nought be good
  Which fails of Him to speak, and bleed
    Once more with His all-cleansing blood!



{23}


_Mater Divinae Gratiae._


XIX.


  The gifts a mother showers each day
    Upon her softly-clamorous brood:
  The gifts they value but for play,--
    The graver gifts of clothes and food,--

  Whence come they but from him who sows
    With harder hand, and reaps, the soil;
  The merit of his labouring brows,
    The guerdon of his manly toil?

  From Him the Grace: through her it stands
    Adjusted, meted, and applied;
  And ever, passing through her hands,
    Enriched it seems, and beautified.

  Love's mirror doubles Love's caress:
    Love's echo to Love's voice is true:--
  Their Sire the children love not less
    Because they clasp a Mother too.


{24}

XX.


  When April's sudden sunset cold
    Through boughs half-clothed with watery sheen
  Bursts on the high, new-cowslipped wold,
    And bathes a world half gold half green,

  Then shakes the illuminated air
    With din of birds; the vales far down
  Grow phosphorescent here and there;
    Forth flash the turrets of the town;

  Along the sky thin vapours scud;
    Bright zephyrs curl the choral main;
  The wild ebullience of the blood
    Rings joy-bells in the heart and brain:

  Yet in that music discords mix;
    The unbalanced lights like meteors play;
  And, tired of splendours that perplex,
    The dazzled spirit sighs for May.


{25}


XXI.


  As children when, with heavy tread,
    Men sad of face, unseen before,
  Have borne away their mother dead--
    So stand the nations thine no more.

  From room to room those children roam,
    Heart-stricken by the unwonted black:
  Their house no longer seems their home:
    They search; yet know not what they lack.

  Years pass: Self-Will and Passion strike
    Their roots more deeply day by day;
  Old servants weep; and "how unlike"
    Is all the tender neighbours say.

  And yet at moments, like a dream,
    A mother's image o'er them flits:
  Like her's their eyes a moment beam;
    The voice grows soft; the brow unknits.

  Such, Mary, are the realms once thine,
    That know no more thy golden reign.
  Hold forth from heaven thy Babe divine!
    O make thine orphans thine again!


{26}


_Mariae Cliens._


XXII.


  A little longer on the earth
    That aged creature's eyes repose
  (Though half their light and all their mirth
    Are gone); and then for ever close.

  She thinks that something done long since
    Ill pleases God:--or why should He
  So long delay to take her hence
    Who waits His will so lovingly?

  Whene'er she hears the church-bells toll
    She lifts her head, though not her eyes,
  With wrinkled hands, but youthful soul,
    Counting her lip-worn rosaries.

  And many times the weight of years
    Falls from her in her waking dreams:
  A child her mother's voice she hears:
    To tend her father's steps she seems.

{27}

  Once more she hears the whispering rains
    On flowers and paths her childhood trod;
  And of things present nought remains
    Save the abiding sense of God.

  Mary! make smooth her downward way!
    Not dearer to the young thou art
  Than her. Make glad her latest May;
    And hold her, dying, on thy heart.


{28}


_Fest. Visitationis._


XXIII.


  The hilly region crossed with haste,
    Its last dark ridge discerned no more,
  Bright as the bow that spans a waste
    She stood beside her Cousin's door;

  And spake:--that greeting came from God!
    Filled with the Spirit from on high
  Sublime the aged Mother stood,
    And cried aloud in prophecy,--

  "Soon as thy voice had touched mine ears
    The child in childless age conceived
  Leaped up for joy! Throughout all years
    Blessed the woman who believed."

  Type of Electing Love! 'tis thine
    To speak God's greeting from the skies!
  Thy voice we hear: thy Babe divine
    At once, like John, we recognise.

  Within our hearts the second birth
    Exults, though blind as yet and dumb.
  The child of Grace his hands puts forth,
    And prophesies of things to come.


{29}


XXIV.


  Not yet, not yet! the Season sings
    Not of fruition yet, but hope;
  Still holds aloft, like balanced wings,
    Her scales, and lets not either drop.

  The white ash, last year's skeleton,
    Still glares, uncheered by leaf or shoot,
  'Gainst azure heavens, and joy hath none
    In that fresh violet at her foot.

  Yet Nature's virginal suspense
    Is not forgetfulness nor sloth:
  Where'er we wander, soul and sense
    Discern a blindly working growth.

  Her throne once more the daisy takes,
    That white star of our dusky earth;
  And the sky-cloistered lark down-shakes
    Her passion of seraphic mirth.

  Twixt barren hills and clear cold skies
    She weaves, ascending high and higher,
  Songs florid as those traceries
    Which took, of old, their name from fire.

  Sing! thou that need'st no ardent clime
    To sun the sweetness from thy breast;
  And teach us those delights sublime
    Wherein ascetic spirits rest!


{30}


_Fest Nativitatis B.V.M._


XXV.


  When thou wert born the murmuring world
    Boiled on, nor dreamed of things to be,
  From joy to sorrow madly whirled;--
    Despair disguised in revelry.

  A princess thou of David's line;
    The mother of the Prince of Peace;
  That hour no royal pomps were thine:
    The earth alone her boon increase.

  Before thee poured. September rolled
    Down all the vine-clad Syrian slopes
  Her breadths of purple and of gold;
    And birds sang loud from olive tops.

  Perhaps old foes, they knew not why,
    Relented. From a fount long sealed
  Tears rose, perhaps, to Pity's eye:
    Love-harvests crowned the barren field.

{31}

  The respirations of the year.
    At least, grew soft. O'er valleys wide
  Pine-roughened crags again shone clear;
    And the great Temple, far descried,

  To watchers, watching long in vain,
    To patriots grey, in bondage nursed,
  Flashed back their hope--"The Second Fane
    In glory shall surpass the First!"


{32}


XXVI.


  The moon, ascending o'er a mass
    Of tangled yew and sable pine,
  What sees she in yon watery glass?
    A tearful countenance divine.

  Far down, the winding hills between,
    A sea of vapour bends for miles,
  Unmoving. Here and there, dim-seen,
    The knolls above it rise like isles.

  The tall rock glimmers, spectre-white;
    The cedar in its sleep is stirred;
  At times the bat divides the night;
    At times the far-off flood is heard.

  Above, that shining blue!--below,
    That shining mist! O, not more pure
  Midwinter's landscape, robed in snow,
    And fringed with frosty garniture.

  The fragrance of the advancing year--
    That, that assures us it is May.
  Ah, tell me! in the heavenlier sphere
    Must all of earth have passed away?


{33}


XXVII.


  A dream came to me while the night
    Thinned off before the breath of morn,
  Which filled my soul with such delight
    As hers who clasps a babe new-born.

  I saw--in countenance like a child--
    (Three years methought were hers, no more)
  That maid and mother undefiled
    The Saviour of the world who bore.

  A nun-like veil was o'er her thrown;
    Her locks by fillet-bands made fast,
  Swiftly she climbed the steps of stone;--
    Into the Temple swiftly passed.

  Not once she paused her breath to take;
    Not once cast back a homeward look:--
  As longs the hart his thirst to slake,
    When noontide rages, in the brook,

  So longed that child to live for God;
    So pined, from earth's enthralments free,
  To bathe her wholly in the flood
    Of God's abysmal purity!

  Anna and Joachim from far
    Their eyes on that white vision raised:
  And when, like caverned foam or star
    Cloud-hid, she vanished, still they gazed.


{34}


_Fest. Purificationis._


XXVIII.


  Twelve years had passed, and, still a child,
    In brightness of the unblemished face,
  Once more she scaled those steps, and smiled
    On Him who slept in her embrace.

  As in she passed there fell a calm
    Around: each bosom slowly rose
  Like the long branches of the palm
    When under them the south wind blows.

  The scribe forgot his wordy lore;
    The chanted psalm was heard far off;
  Hushed was the clash of golden ore;
    And hushed the Sadducean scoff.

  Type of the Christian Church! 'twas thine
    To offer, first, to God that hour,
  Thy Son--the Sacrifice Divine,
    The Church's everlasting dower!

  Great Priestess! round that aureoled brow
    Which cloud or shadow ne'er had crossed,
  Began there not that hour to grow
    A milder dawn of Pentecost?


{35}


_Fest. Epiphaniae._


XXIX.


  A veil is on the face of Truth:
    She prophesies behind a cloud;
  She ministers, in robes of ruth,
    Nocturnal rites, and disallowed.

  Eleusis hints, but dares not speak;
    The Orphic minstrelsies are dumb;
  Lost are the Sibyl's books, and weak
    Earth's olden faith in Him to come.

  But ah, but ah, that Orient Star!
    On straw-roofed shed and large-eyed kine
  It flashes, guiding from afar
    The Magians to the Child Divine.

  Gold, frankincense, and myrrh they bring--
    Love, Worship, Life severe and hard:
  Well pleased the symbol gifts the King
    Accepts; and Truth is their reward.

  Rejoice, O Sion, for thy night
    Is past: the Lord, thy Light, is born.
  The Gentiles shall behold thy light;
    The kings walk forward in thy morn.


{36}


XXX.


  The sunless day is sweeter yet
    Than when the golden sun-showers danced
  On bower new-glazed or rivulet;
    And Spring her banners first advanced.

  By wind unshaken hang in dream
    The wind-flowers o'er their dark green lair;
  And those thin poppy cups that seem
    Not bodied forms, but woven of air.

  Nor bird is heard; nor insect flits.
    A tear-drop glittering on her cheek,
  Composed but shadowed, Nature sits--
    Yon primrose not more staid and meek.

  The light of pensive hope unquenched
    On those pathetic brows and eyes,
  She sits, by silver dew-showers drenched,
    Through which the chill spring-odours rise.

  Was e'er on human countenance shed
    So sweet a sadness? Once: no more.
  Then when his charge the Patriarch led
    Dream-warned to Egypt's distant shore.

  Down on her Infant Mary gazed;
    Her face the angels marked with awe;
  Yet 'neath its dimness, undisplaced,
    Looked forth that smile the Magians saw.


{37}

_Legenda._


XXXI.

  As, flying Herod, southward went
    That Child and Mother, unamazed,
  Into Egyptian banishment,
    The weeders left their work, and gazed.

  The bright One spake to them and said,
    "When Herod's messengers demand,
  "Passed not the Infant, Herod's dread,--
    "Passed not the Infant through your land?

  "Then shall ye answer make, and say,
    "Behold, since first the corn was green
  "No little Infant passed this way;
    "No little Infant we have seen."

  Earth heard; nor missed the Maid's intent--
    As on the Flower of Eden passed
  With Eden swiftness up she sent
    A sun-browned harvest ripening fast.

  By simplest words and sinless wheat
    The messengers rode back beguiled;
  And by that truthfullest deceit
    Which saved the little new-born Child!


{38}


PART II.


{39}{40}

{41}


PART II.

_Conservabat in Corde._


I.


  As every change of April sky
    Is imaged in a placid brook,
  Her meditative memory
    Mirrored His every deed and look.

  As suns through summer ether rolled
     Mature each growth the spring has wrought,
  So Love's strong day-star turned to gold
    Her harvests of quiescent thought.

  Her soul was as a vase, and shone
    Translucent to an inner ray;
  Her Maker's finger wrote thereon
    A mystic Bible new each day.

  Deep Heart! In all His sevenfold might
    The Paraclete with thee abode;
  And, sacramented there in light,
    Bore witness of the things of God.


{42}


_Ascensio Domini_.


II.


  Rejoice, O Earth, thy crown is won!
    Rejoice, rejoice, ye heavenly host!
  And thou, the Mother of the Son,
    Rejoice the first; rejoice the most!

  Who captive led captivity--
    From Hades' void circumference
  Who led the Patriarch Band on high,
    There rules, and sends us graces thence.

  Rejoice, glad Earth, o'er winter's grave
    With altars wreathed and clarions blown;
  And thou, the Race Redeemed, outbrave
    The rites of nature with thine own!

  Rejoice, O Mary! thou that long
    Didst lean thy breast upon the sword--
  Sad nightingale, the Spirit's song
    That sang'st all night! He reigns, restored!

  Rejoice! He goes, the Paraclete
    To send! Rejoice! He reigns on high!
  The sword lies broken at thy feet--
    His triumph is thy victory!


{43}


_Ascensio Domini._


III.

  I take this reed--I know the hand
    That wields it must ere long be dust--
  And write, upon the fleeting sand
    Each wind can shake, the words, "I trust."

  And if that sand one day was stone
    And stood in courses near the sky,
  For towers by earthquake overthrown,
    Or mouldering piecemeal, what care I?

  Things earthly perish: life to death
    And death to life in turn succeeds.
  The spirit never perisheth:
    The chrysalis its Psyche breeds.

  True life alone is that which soars
    To Him who triumphed o'er the grave:
  With Him, on life's eternal shores,
    I trust one day a part to have.

  Ah, hark! above the springing corn
    That chime; in every breeze it swells!
  Ye bells that wake the Ascension morn,
    Ye give us back our Paschal bells!


{44}


_Elias._


IV.

  O thou that rodest up the skies,
    Thy task fulfilled, on steeds of fire,--
  That somewhere, sealed from mortal eyes,
    Some air immortal dost respire!

  Thou that in heavenly beams enshrined,
    In quiet lulled of soul and flesh,
  With one great thought of God thy mind
    Dost everlastingly refresh!

  Where art thou? age succeeds to age;
    Thou dost not hear their fret and jar:
  With thy celestial hermitage
    Successive winters wage not war.

  Still as a corse with field-flowers strewn
    Thou liest; on God thine eyes are bent:
  And the fire-breathing stars alone
    Look in upon thy cloudy tent.

  Behold, there is a debt to pay!
    Like Enoch, hid thou art on high:
  But both shall back return one day,
    To gaze once more on earth, and die.


{45}

V.

  Stronger and steadier every hour
    The pulses of the season's glee,
  As toward her zenith climbs that Power
    Which rules the purple revelry.

  Trees, that from winter's grey eclipse
    Of late but pushed their topmost plume,
  Or felt with green-touched finger-tips
    For spring, their perfect robes assume.

  Like one that reads, not one that spells,
    The unvarying rivulet onward runs:
  And bird to bird, from leafier cells,
    Sends forth more leisurely response.

  Through the gorse covert bounds the deer:--
    The gorse, whose latest splendours won
  Make all the fulgent wolds appear
    Bright as the pastures of the sun.

  A balmier zephyr curls the wave;
    More purple flames o'er ocean dance;
  And the white breaker by the cave
    Falls with more cadenced resonance;

  While, vague no more, the mountains stand
    With quivering line or hazy hue;
  But drawn with finer, firmer hand,
    And settling into deeper blue.


{46}


_Speculum Justitiae._


VI.


  Not in Himself the Eternal Word
    Lay hid upon creation's day:
  His Loveliness abroad He poured
    On all the worlds; and pours for aye.

  Not in Himself the Incarnate Son,
    In whom Man's race is born again,
  His glory hides. The victory won,
    He rose to send His "Gifts on Men."

  In sacraments--His dread behests;
    In Providence; in granted prayer;
  Before the time He manifests
    His glory, far as man may bear.

  He shines not from a vault of gloom;
    The horizon vast His splendour paints:
  Both heaven and earth His beams illume;
    His light is glorious in His saints.

{47}

  He shines upon His Church--that Moon
    Who, in the watches of the night,
  Transmits to man the entrusted boon;
    A sister orb of sacred light.

  And thou, pure mirror of His grace!--
    As sun reflected in a sea--
  So, Mary, feeblest eyes the face
    Of Him thou lovest discern in thee.


{48}


_Munera._


VII.

  Not for herself does Mary hold
    Among the saints that queenly throne,
  Her seat predestined from of old;
    But for the brethren of her Son.

  Pure thoughts that make to God their quest,
    With her find footing o'er the clouds;
  Like those sea-crossing birds that rest
    A moment on the sighing shrouds.

  In her our hearts, no longer nursed
    On dust, for spiritual beauty yearn;
  From her our instincts, as at first,
    An upward gravitation learn.

  Her distance makes her not remote:
    For in true love's supernal sphere
  No more round self the affections float--
    More near to God, to man more near.

  In her, the weary warfare past,
    The port attained, the exile o'er,
  We see the Church's barque at last
    Close-anchored on the eternal shore!


{49}


_Predestinata._


VIII.

  Eternal Beauty, ere the spheres
    Had rolled from out the gulfs of night,
  Sparkled, through all the unnumbered years,
    Before the Eternal Father's sight.

  Like objects seen by Man in dream,
    Or landscape glassed on morning mist,
  Before His eyes it hung--a gleam
    Flashed from the eternal Thought of Christ.

  It stood the Archetype sublime
    Of that fair world of finite things
  Which, in the bands of Space and Time,
    Creation's glittering verge enrings.

  Star-like within the depths serene
    Of that still vision, Mary, thou
  With Him, thy Son, of God wert seen
    Millenniums ere the lucid brow

{50}

  Of Eye o'er Eden founts had bent,--
    Millenniums ere that second Fair
  With dust the hopes of man had blent,
    And stained the brightness once so fair.

  Elect of Creatures! Man in thee
    Beholds that primal Beauty yet,--
  Sees all that Man was formed to be,--
    Sees all that Man can ne'er forget!

{51}

IX.

  Three worlds there are:--the first of Sense--
    That sensuous earth which round us lies;
  The next of Faith's Intelligence;
    The third of Glory, in the skies.

  The first is palpable, but base;
    The second heavenly, but obscure;
  The third is star-like in the face--
    But ah! remote that world as pure!

  Yet, glancing through our misty clime,
    Some sparkles from that loftier sphere
  Make way to earth;--then most what time
    The annual spring-flowers re-appear.

  Amid the coarser needs of earth
    All shapes of brightness, what are they
  But wanderers, exiled from their birth,
    Or pledges of a happier day?

  Yea, what is Beauty, judged aright,
    But some surpassing, transient gleam;
  Some smile from heaven, in waves of light,
    Rippling o'er life's distempered dream?

  Or broken memories of that bliss
    Which rushed through first-born Nature's blood
  When He who ever was, and is,
    Looked down, and saw that all was good?

{52}

X.

  Alas! not only loveliest eyes,
    And brows with lordliest lustre bright,
  But Nature's self--her woods and skies--
    The credulous heart can cheat or blight.

  And why? Because the sin of man
    Twixt Fair and Good has made divorce;
  And stained, since Evil first began,
    That stream so heavenly at its source.

  O perishable vales and groves!
    Your master was not made for you;
  Ye are but creatures: human loves
    Are to the great Creator due.

  And yet, through Nature's symbols dim,
    There are with keener sight that pierce
  The outward husk, and reach to Him
    Whose garment is the universe.

  For this to earth the Saviour came
    In flesh; in part for this He died;
  That man might have, in soul and frame,
    No faculty unsanctified.

  That Fancy's self--so prompt to lead
    Through paths disastrous or defiled--
  Upon the Tree of Life might feed;
    And Sense with Soul be reconciled.


{53}


_Idolatria._


XI.

  The fancy of an age gone by,
    When Fancy's self to earth declined,
  Still thirsting for Divinity,
    Yet still, through sense, to Godhead blind,

  Poor mimic of that Truth of old,
    The patriarchs' hope--a faith revealed--
  Compressed its God in mortal mould,
    The prisoner of Creation's field.

  Nature and Nature's Lord were one!
    Then countless gods from cloud and stream
  Glanced forth; from sea, and moon, and sun:
    So ran the pantheistic dream.

  And thus the All-Holy, thus the All-True,
    The One Supreme, the Good, the Just,
  Like mist was scattered, lost like dew,
    And vanished in the wayside dust.

{54}

  Mary! through thee the idols fell:
    When He the nations longed for  [Footnote 1] came--
  True God yet Man--with man to dwell,
    The phantoms hid their heads for shame.

  [Footnote 1: "The Desire of the Nations."]

  His place or thine removed, ere long
    The bards would push the sects aside;
  And lifted by the might of song
    Olympus stand re-edified.

{55}

_Tota Pulchra._


XII.

  A broken gleam on wave and flower--
    A music that in utterance dies--
  O Poets, and O Men! what more
    Is all that Beauty which ye prize?

  And ah! how oft Corruption works
    Through that brief Beauty's force or wile!
  How oft a gloom eternal lurks
    Beneath an evanescent smile!

  But thou, serene and smiling light
    Of every grace redeemed from Sense,
  In thee all harmonies unite
    That charm a pure Intelligence.

  Whatever teaches mind or heart
    To God by loveliest types to mount,
  Mary, is thine. Of each true Art
    The parent art thou, and the fount.

{56}

  Those pictures, fair as moon or star,
    The ages dear to Faith brought forth,
  Formed but the illumined calendar
    Of her, that Church which knows thy worth.

  Not less doth Nature teach through thee
    That mystery hid in hues and lines:
  Who loves thee not hath lost the key
    To all her sanctuaries and shrines.


{57}


_Stella Matutina._


XIII.


  Shine out, O Star, and sing the praise
    Of that unrisen Sun whose glow
  Thus feeds thee with thine earlier rays--
    The secret of thy song we know.

  Thou sing'st that Sun of Righteousness,
    Sole light of this benighted globe,
  Whose beams, reflected, dressed and dress
    His Mother in her shining robe.

  Pale Lily, pearled around with dew,
    Lift high that heaven-illumined vase,
  And sing the glories ever new
    Of her, God's chalice, "full of grace."

  Cerulean Ocean, fringed with white,
    That wear'st her colours evermore,
  In all thy pureness, all thy might,
    Resound her name from shore to shore.

  That fringe of foam, when drops the sun
    To-night, a sanguine stain shall wear:--
  Thus Mary's heart had strength, alone,
    The passion of her Lord to share.


{58}


_Janua Coeli._


XIV.


  The night through yonder cloudy cleft,
    With many a lingering last regard,
  Withdraws--but slowly--and hath left
    Her mantle on the dewy sward.

  The lawns with silver dews are strewn;
    The winds lie hushed in cave and tree;
  Nor stirs a flower, save one alone
    That bends beneath the earliest bee.

  Peace over all the garden broods;
    Pathetic sweets the thickets throng;
  Like breath the vapour o'er the woods
    Ascends--dim woods without a song:

  Or hangs, a shining, fleece-like mass
    O'er half yon lake that winds afar
  Among the forests, still as glass,
    The mirror of that Morning Star

{59}

  Which, halfway wandering from the sky,
    Amid the rose of morn delays
  And (large and less alternately)
    Bends down a lustrous, tearful gaze.

  Mother and home of spirits blest!
    Bright gate of Heaven and golden bower!
  Thy best of blessings, love and rest,
    Depart not till on earth thou shower!

{60}

XV.

  If sense of Man's unworthiness
    With Nature's blameless looks at strife,
  Should wake with wakening May, and press
    New-born contentment out of life:

  If thoughts of sable breed and blind
    Should stamp upon the springing flower,
  Or blacker memories haunt the mind
    As ravens haunt the ruined tower:--

  O then how sweet in heart to breathe
    Those pure Judean gales once more;
  From Bethlehem's crib to Nazareth
    In heart to tread that Syrian shore!

  To watch that star-like Infant bring
    To one of soul as clear and white
  May-lilies, fresh from Siloa's spring,
    Or Passion-flower with May-dews bright!

  To follow, earlier yet, the feet
    Of her the "hilly land" who trod
  With true love's haste, intent to greet
    That aged saint beloved of God.

  Before her, like a stream let loose,
    The long vale's flowerage, winding, ran:
  Nature resumed her Eden use;
    And Earth was reconciled with Man.


{61}


_Causa Nostra Laetitiae._


XVI.

  Whate'er is floral on the earth
    To thee, O Flower, of right belongs;
  Whate'er is musical in mirth,
    Whate'er is jubilant in songs.

  Childhood and springtide never cease
    For him thy freshness keeps from stain:
  Dew-drenched for him, like Gideon's fleece,
    The dusty paths of life remain.

  Spirit of Brightness and of Bliss!
    Thou threaten'st none! A sinless lure,
  Thy fragrance and thy gladsomeness
    Draw on to Christ; to Christ secure.

  Hope, Hope is Strength! That joy of thine
    To us is Glory's earliest ray!
  Through Faith's dim air, O star benign,
    Look down, and light our onward way!


{62}


_Stella Maris._


XVII.


  I left at morn that blissful shore
    O'er which the fruit-bloom fluttered free;
  And sailed the wildering waters o'er,
    Till sunset streaked with blood the sea.

  My sleep the hoarse sea-thunders broke,
    And sudden chill. Their feet foam-hid,
  Huge cliffs leaned out, through vapour-smoke,
    Like tower, and tomb, and pyramid.

  In the black shadow, ghostly white
    The breaker raced o'er foaming shoals:
  From caverns of eternal night
    Came wailings, as of suffering souls.

  Sudden, through clearing mists, the star
    Of ocean o'er the billow rose:
  Down dropped the elemental war;
    Tormented chaos found repose.

{63}

  Star of the ocean! dear art thou,
    Ah! not to earth and heaven alone:
  The suffering Church, when shines thy brow
    Upon her penance, stays her moan.

  The Holy Souls draw in their breath;
    The sea of anguish rests in peace;
  And, from beyond the gates of death,
    Up swell the anthems of release.

{64}

XVIII.

  Blossom for ever, blossoming Rod!
    Thou did'st not blossom once to die:
  That Life which, issuing forth from God,
    Thy life enkindled, runs not dry.

  Without a root in sin-stained earth,
    'Twas thine to bud Salvation's flower.
  No single soul the Church brings forth
    But blooms from thee and is thy dower.

  Rejoice, O Eve! thy promise waned;
    Transgression nipt thy flower with frost
  But, lo! a mother man hath gained
    Holier than she in Eden lost.


{65}


_Unica._


XIX.

  While all the breathless woods aloof
    Lie hush'd in noontide's deep repose,
  That dove, sun-warmed on yonder roof,
    With what a grave content she coos!

  One note for her! Deep streams run smooth
    The ecstatic song of transience tells.
  O what a depth of loving truth
    In thy divine contentment dwells!

  All day, with down-dropt lids, I sat,
    In trance; the present scene forgone.
  When Hesper rose, on Ararat,
    Methought, not English hills, he shone.

  Back to the ark, the waters o'er,
    The primal dove pursued her flight:
  A branch of that blest tree she bore
    Which feeds the Church with holy light.

  I heard her rustling through the air
    With sliding plume--no sound beside,
  Save the sea-sobbings everywhere,
    And sighs of that subsiding tide.

{66}


_Magnificat._


XX.

  She took the timbrel, as the tide
    Rushed, refluent, up the Red Sea shore:
  "The Lord hath triumphed," she cried:
    Her song rang out above the roar

  Of lustral waves that, wall to wall,
    Fell back upon the host abhorred:
  Above the gloomy watery pall,
    As eagles soar, her anthem soared.

  Miriam, rejoice! a mightier far
    Than thou, one day shall sing with thee!
  Who rises, brightening like a star
    Above yon bright baptismal sea?

  That harp which David touched who rears
    Heaven-high above those waters wide?
  The Prophet-Queen! Throughout all years
    She sings the Triumph of the Bride!


{67}


_Mystica._


XXI.

  As pebbles flung for sport, that leap
    Along the superficial tide,
  But enter not those chambers deep
    Wherein the beds of pearl abide;

  Such those light minds that, grazing, spurn
    The surface text of Sacred Lore,
  Yet ne'er its deeper sense discern,
    Its hails of mystery ne'er explore.

  Ah! not for such the unvalued gems;
    The priceless pearls of Truth they miss:
  Not theirs the starry diadems
    That light God's temple in the abyss!

  Ah! not for such to gaze on her
    That moves through all that empire pale;
  At every shrine doth minister,
    Yet never drops her vestal veil.

  "The letter kills." Make pure thy Will;
    So shalt thou pierce the Text's disguise:
  Till then, revere the veil that still
    Hides truth from truth-affronting eyes.

{68}


_Expectatio._


XXII.


  A sweet exhaustion seems to hold
    In spells of calm the shrouded eve:
  The gorse itself a beamless gold
    Puts forth:--yet nothing seems to grieve.

  The dewy chaplets hang on air;
    The willowy fields are silver-grey;
  Sad odours wander here and there;--
    And yet we feel that it is May.

  Relaxed, and with a broken flow,
    From dripping bowers low carols swell
  In mellower, glassier tones, as though
    They mounted through a bubbling well.

  The crimson orchis scarce sustains
    Upon its drenched and drooping spire
  The burden of the warm soft rains;
    The purple hills grow nigh and nigher.

{69}

  Nature, suspending lovely toils,
    On expectations lovelier broods,
  Listening, with lifted hand, while coils
    The flooded rivulet through the woods.

  She sees, drawn out in vision clear,
    A world with summer radiance drest,
  And all the glories of that year
    Which sleeps within her virgin breast.


{70}

XXIII.

  Still on the gracious work proceeds;--
    The good, great tidings preached anew
  Yearly to green enfranchised meads,
    And fire-topped woodlands flushed with dew.

  Yon cavern's mouth we scarce can see;
    Yon rock in gathering bloom lies meshed;
  And all the wood-anatomy
    In thickening leaves is over-fleshed.

  That hermit oak which frowned so long
    Upon the spring with barren spleen,
  Yields to the holy Siren's song,
    And bends above her goblet green.

  Young maples, late with gold embossed,--
    Lucidities of sun-pierced limes,
  No more surprise us--merged and lost
    Like prelude notes in deepening chimes.

  Disordered beauties and detached
    Demand no more a separate place:
  The abrupt, the startling, the unmatched,
    Submit to graduated grace;

  While upward from the ocean's marge
    The year ascends with statelier tread
  To where the sun his golden targe
    Finds, setting, on yon mountain's head.


{71}

_Turris Eburnea._


XXIV.

  This scheme of worlds, which vast we call,
    Is only vast compared with man:
  Compared with God, the One yet All,
    Its greatness dwindles to a span.

  A Lily with its isles of buds
    Asleep on some unmeasured sea:--
  O God, the starry multitudes,
    What are they more than this to Thee?

  Yet girt by Nature's petty pale
    Each tenant holds the place assigned
  To each in Being's awful scale:--
    The last of creatures leaves behind

  The abyss of nothingness: the first
    Into the abyss of Godhead peers;
  Waiting that vision which shall burst
    In glory on the eternal years.

{72}

  Tower of our Hope! through thee we climb
    Finite creation's topmost stair;
  Through thee from Sion's height sublime
    Towards God we gaze through purer air.

  Infinite distance still divides
    Created from Creative Power;
  But all which intercepts and hides
    Lies dwarfed by that surpassing Tower!

{73}

XXV.

  Who doubts that thou art finite? Who
    Is ignorant that from Godhead's height
  To what is loftiest here below
    The interval is infinite?

  O Mary! with that smile thrice-blest
    Upon their petulance look down;--
  Their dull negation, cold protest--
    Thy smile will melt away their frown!

  Show them thy Son! That hour their heart
    Will beat and burn with love like thine;
  Grow large; and learn from thee that art
    Which communes best with things divine.

  The man who grasps not what is best
    In creaturely existence, he
  Is narrowest in the brain; and least
    Can grasp the thought of Deity.

{74}

XXVI.

  They seek not; or amiss they seek;--
    The cold slight heart and captious brain:--
  To Love alone those instincts speak
    Whose challenge never yet was vain.

  True Gate of Heaven! As light through glass,
    So He who never left the sky
  To this low earth was pleased to pass
    Through thine unstained Virginity.

  Summed up in thee our hearts behold
    The glory of created things:--
  From His, thy Son's, corporeal mould
    Looks forth the eternal King of Kings!

{75}

XXVII.

  A sudden sun-burst in the woods,
    But late sad Winter's palace dim!
  O'er quickening boughs and bursting buds
    Pacific glories shoot and swim.

  As when some heart, grief-darkened long,
    Conclusive joy by force invades--
  So swift the new-born splendours throng;
    Such lustre swallows up the shades.

  The sun we see not; but his fires
    From stem to stem obliquely smite,
  Till all the forest aisle respires
    The golden-tongued and myriad light.

  The caverns blacken as their brows
    With floral fire are fringed; but all
  Yon sombre vault of meeting boughs
    Turns to a golden fleece its pall,

  As o'er it breeze-like music rolls.
    O Spring, thy limit-line is crossed!
  O Earth, some orb of singing Souls
    Brings down to thee _thy_ Pentecost!


{76}

_Dominica Pentecostes._

XXVIII.

  Clear as those silver trumps of old
    That woke Judea's jubilee;
  Strong as the breeze of morning, rolled
    O'er answering woodlands from the sea,

  That matutinal anthem vast
    Which winds, like sunrise, round the globe,
  Following the sunrise, far and fast,
    And trampling on his fiery robe.

  Once more the Pentecostal torch
    Lights on the courses of the year:
  The "upper chamber" of the Church
    Is thrilled once more with joy and fear.

  Who lifts her brow from out the dust?
    Who fixes on a world restored
  A gaze like Eve's, but more august?
    Who bends it heaven-ward on her Lord?

{77}

  It is the Birthday of the Bride.
    The new begins; the ancient ends:
  From all the gates of Heaven flung wide
    The promised Paraclete descends.

  He who o'er-shadowed Mary once
    O'ershades Humanity to-day;
  And bids her fruitful prove in sons
    Co-heritors with Christ for aye.


{78}


_Dominica Pentecostes._


XXIX.

  The Form decreed of tree and flower,
    The shape susceptible of life,
  Without the infused vivific Power,
    Were but a slumber or a strife.

  He whom the plastic hand of God
    Himself created out of earth
  Remained a statue and a clod
    Till spirit infused to life gave birth.

  So, till that hour, the Church. In Christ
    Her awful structure, nerve and bone,
  Though built, and shaped, and organised,
    Existed but in skeleton;

  Till down on that predestined frame,
    Complete through all its sacred mould,
  The Pentecostal Spirit came,--
    The self-same Spirit who of old

  Creative o'er the waters moved.
    Thenceforth the Church, made One and Whole,
  Arose in Him, and lived, and loved--
    His Temple she; and He her Soul.


{79}


_Turris Davidica._


XXX.

  The towered City loves thee well,
    Strong Tower of David's House! In thee
  She hails the unvanquished citadel
    That frowns o'er Error's subject sea.

  With magic might that Tower repels
    A host that breaks where foe is none,--
  No foe but statued Saints in cells
    High-ranged, and smiling in the sun.

  There stands Augustin; Leo there;
    And Bernard, with a maiden face
  Like John's; and, strong at once and fair,
    That Spirit-Pythian, Athanase.

  Upon thy star-surrounded height
    God's angel keepeth watch and ward;
  And sunrise flashes thence ere night
    Hath left dark street and dewy sward.


{80}


_"Tu sola interemisti omnes Haereses."_


XXXI.

  What tenderest hand uprears on high
    The standard of Incarnate God?
  Successive portents that deny
    Her Son, who tramples? She who trod

  On Satan erst with starlike scorn!
    Ah! never Alp looked down through mist
  As she, that whiter star of morn,
    Through every cloud that darkens Christ!

  Roll back the centuries:--who were those
    That, age by age, their Lord denied?
  Their seats they set with Mary's foes:--
    They mocked the Mother as the Bride.

  Of such was Arius; and of such
    He whom the Ephesian Sentence felled,   [Footnote 2]
  Her Title triumphed. At the touch   [Footnote 3]
    Of Truth the insurgent rout was quelled.

  [Footnote 2: Nestorius.]

  [Footnote 3: Dei-para.]

  Back, back the hosts of Hell were driven
    As forth that sevenfold thunder rolled:--
  And in the Church's mystic Heaven
    There was great silence as of old.

{81}

MAY CAROLS.


PART III.


{82}

{83}


PART III.


I.

  In vain thine altars do they heap
    With blooms of violated May
  Who fail the words of Christ to keep;
    Thy Son who love not, nor obey.

  Their songs are as a serpent's hiss;
    Their praise a poniard's poisoned edge;
  Their offering taints, like Judas' kiss,
    Thy shrine; their vows are sacrilege.

  Sadly from such thy countenance turns:
    Thou canst not stretch thy Babe to such
  (Albeit for all thy pity yearns)
    As greet Him with a leper's touch.

  Who loveth thee must love thy Son.
    Weak Love grows strong thy smile beneath:
  But nothing comes from nothing; none
    Can reap Love's harvest out of Death.


{84}


_Babylon._


II.

  The watchman watched along the walls:
    And lo! an hour or more ere light
  Loud rang his trumpet. From their halls
    The revellers rushed into the night.

  There hung a terror on the air;
    There moved a terror under ground;--
  The hostile hosts, heard everywhere,
    Within, without--were nowhere found.

  "The Christians to the lions! Ho!"--
    Alas! self-tortured crowds, let be!
  Let go your wrath; your fears let go:
    Ye gnaw the net, but cannot flee.

  Ye drank from out Orestes' cup;
    Orestes' Furies drave ye wild.
  Who conquers from on high? Look up!
    A Woman, holding forth a Child!

{85}

III.

  The golden rains are dashed against
    Those verdant walls of lime and beech
  With which our happy vale is fenced
    Against the north; yet cannot reach

  The stems that lift yon leafy crest
    High up above their dripping screen:
  The chestnut fans are downward pressed
    On banks of bluebell hid in green.

  White vapours float along the glen,
    Or rise from every sunny brake;--
  A pause amid the gusts--again
    The warm shower sings across the lake.

  Sing on, all-cordial showers, and bathe
    The deepest root of loftiest pine!
  The cowslip dimmed, the "primrose rathe"
    Refresh; and drench in nectarous wine

  Yon fruit-tree copse, all blossomed o'er
    With forest-foam and crimson snow--
  Behold! above it bursts once more
    The world-embracing, heavenly bow!

{86}


_Sedes Sapientiae._


IV.

  O that the wordy war might cease!
    Self-sentenced Babel's strife of tongues!
  Loud rings the arena. Athletes, peace!
    Nor drown the wild-dove's Song of Songs.

  Alas, the wanderers feel their loss:
    With tears they seek--ah, seldom found--
  That peace whose volume is the Cross;
    That peace which leaves not holy ground.

  Mary, who loves true peace loves thee!
    A happy child, not taught of Scribes,
  He stands beside the Church's knee;
    From her the lore of Christ imbibes.

  Hourly he drinks it from her face:
    For there his eyes, he knows not how,
  The face of Him she loves can trace,
    And, crowned with thorns, the sovereign brow.

  "Behold! all colours blend in white!
    Behold! all Truths have root in Love!"
  So sings, half lost in light of light,
    Her Song of Songs the mystic Dove.


{87}


_Sedes Sapientiae._


V.

  "Wisdom hath built herself a House,
    And hewn her out her pillars seven."   [Footnote 4]
  Her wine is mixed. Her guests are those
    Who share the harvest-home of heaven.

  [Footnote 4: Proverbs ix. 1.]

  Who guards the gates? The flaming sword
    Of Penance. Every way it turns:
  But healing from on high is poured
    On each that fire seraphic burns.

  The fruits upon her table piled
    Are gathered from the Tree of Life.
  Around are ranged the undefiled,
    And those that conquered in the strife.

  Who tends the guests? Who smiles away
    Sad memories? bids misgiving cease?
  A crowned one countenanced like the day--
    The Mother of the Prince of Peace.

{88}

VI.

  Here, in this paradise of light,
    Superfluous were both tree and grass:
  Enough to watch the sunbeams smite
    Yon white flower sole in the morass.

  From his cold nest the skylark springs;
    Sings, pauses, sings; shoots up anew;
  Attains his topmost height, and sings
    Quiescent in his vault of blue.

  With eyes half-closed I watch that lake
    Flashed from whose plane the sun-sparks fly,
  Like souls new-born that shoot and break
    From thy deep sea, Eternity!

  Ripplings of sunlight from the wave
    Ascend the white rock, high and higher;
  Soft gurglings fill the satiate cave;
    Soft airs amid the reeds expire.

  All round the lone and luminous meer
    The dark world stretches, far and free:
  That skylark's song alone I hear;
    That flashing wave alone I see.

  O myriad Earth! Where'er thy Word
     Makes way indeed into the soul,
  An answering echo there is stirred:--
    Of thee the part is as the whole.

{89}

_Fest. B.V.M. de Monte Carmelo._


VII.

  Carmel, with Alp and Apennine,
    Low whispers in the wind that blows
  Beneath the Eastern stars, ere shine
    The lights of morning on their snows.

  Of thee, Elias, Carmel speaks,
    And that white cloud, so small at first,
  Thou saw'st approach the mountain peaks
    To quench a dying nation's thirst.

  On Carmel, like a sheathed sword,
    Thy monks abode till Jesus came;
  On Carmel then they served their Lord;--
    Then Carmel rang with Mary's name.

  Blow over all the garden; blow
    O'er all the garden of the West,
  Balm-breathing Orient! Whisper low
    The secret of thy spicy nest.

{90}

  "Who from the Desert upward moves
    Like cloud of incense onward borne?
  Who, moving, rests on Him she loves?
    Who mounts from regions of the Morn?

  "Behold! The apple-tree beneath--
    There where of old thy Mother fell--
  I raised thee up. More strong than Death
    Is Love;--more strong than Death or Hell."  [Footnote 5]

  [Footnote 5: Cant. viii. 5.]

{91}


VIII.

  Come from the midnight mountain tops,
    The mountains where the panthers play:
  Descend; the veil of darkness drops;
    Come fair and fairer than the day!

  Our hearts are wounded with thine eyes:
    They character in words of light
  Thereon the mystery of the skies:
    The "Name o'er every name" they write.

  Come from thy Lebanonian peaks
    Whose sacerdotal cedars nod
  Above the world, when morning breaks--
    The Mountain of the House of God.

  The land thou lov'st--well is she!
    The ploughers on her back may plough;
  But in her vales upgrows the Tree
    Of Life, and binds the bleeding brow.

{92}


_Advocata Nostra._


IX.

  I saw, in visions of the night,
    Creation like a sea outspread,
  With surf of stars and storm of light
    And movements manifold and dread.

  Then lo, within a Human Hand
    A Sceptre moved that storm above:
  Thereon, as on the golden wand
    Of kings new-crowned, there sat a Dove.

  Beneath her gracious weight inclined
    That Sceptre drooped. The waves had rest
  And Sceptre, Hand, and Dove were shrined
    Within a glassy ocean's breast.

  His Will it was that placed her there!
    He at whose word the tempests cease
  Upon that Sceptre planted fair
    That peace-bestowing type of Peace!

{93}

_Thronus Trinitatis._


X.

  Each several Saint the Church reveres,
    What is he but an altar whence
  Some separate Virtue ministers
    To God a separate frankincense?

  Each beyond each, not made of hands,
    They rise, a ladder angel-trod:
  Star-bright the last and loftiest stands--
    That altar is the Throne of God.

  Lost in the uncreated light
    A Form all Human rests thereon:
  His shade from that surpassing height
    Beyond creation's verge is thrown.

  Him "Lord of lords, and King of kings,"
    The chorus of all worlds proclaim:--
  "He took from her," one angel sings
    At intervals, "His Human frame."

{94}

_Cultus Sanctorum._


XI.

  He seemed to linger with them yet:
    But late ascended to the skies,
  They saw--ah, how could they forget?--
    The form they loved, the hands, the eyes.

  From anchored boat--in lane or field--
    He taught; He blessed, and brake the bread;
  The hungry filled; the afflicted healed;
    And wept, ere yet he raised, the dead.

  But when, like some supreme of hills,
    Whose feet shut out its summit's snow,
  That, hid no longer, heavenward swells
    As further from its base we go,

  Abroad His perfect Godhead shone,
    Each hour more plainly kenned on high,
  And clothed His Manhood with the sun,
    And, cleansing, hurt the adoring eye;

{95}

  Then fixed His Church a deepening gaze
    Upon His Saints. With Him they sate,
  And, burning in that Godhead's blaze,
    They seemed that Manhood to dilate.

  His were they: of His likeness each
    Had grace some fragment to present,
  And nearer brought to mortal reach
    Of Him some line or lineament.


{96}

_Fest. S. S. Trinitatis._

XII.

  Fall back, all worlds, into the abyss,
    That man may contemplate once more
  That which He ever was Who is:--
    The Eternal Essence we adore.

  Angelic hierarchies! recede
    Beyond extinct creation's shade!
  What were ye at the first? Decreed:--
    Decreed, not fashioned; thought, not made!

  Like wind the untold Millenniums passed.
    Sole-throned He sat; yet not alone:
  Godhead in Godhead still was glassed;--
    The Spirit was breathed from Sire and Son.

  Prime Virgin, separate and sealed;
    Nor less of social love the root;
  Dimly in lowliest shapes revealed;
    Entire in every Attribute;--

{97}

  Thou liv'st in all things, and around;
    To Thee external is there nought;
  Thou of the boundless art the bound;
    And still Creation is Thy Thought.

  In vain, O God, our wings we spread;
    So distant art Thou--yet so nigh.
  Remains but this, when all is said,
    For Thee to live; in Thee to die.

{98}

XIII.

  Where is the crocus now, that first,
    When earth was dark and heaven was grey,
  A prothalamion flash, up-burst?
    Ah, then we deemed not of the May!

  The clear stream stagnates in its course;
    Narcissus droops in pallid gloom;
  Far off the hills of golden gorse
    A dusk Saturnian face assume.

  The seeded dandelion dim
    Casts loose its air-globe on the breeze;
  Along the grass the swallows skim;
    The cattle couch among the trees.

  Yet ever lordlier loveliness
    Succeeds to that which slips our hold:
  The thorn assumes her snowy dress;
    Laburnum bowers their robes of gold.

  Down waves successive of the year
    We drop; but drop once more to rise,
  With ampler view, as on we steer,
    Of lovelier lights and loftier skies.


{99}


_"Ad Nives."_


XIV.

  Before the morn began to break
    The bright One bent above that pair
  Whose childless vows aspired to take
    The mother of their Lord for heir.

  'Twas August: even in midnight shade
    The roofs were hot, and hot the street:--
  "Build me a fane," the vision said,
    "Where first your eyes the snow shall meet."   [Footnote 6]

  [Footnote 6: Santa Maria Maggiore, on
  the Esquiline, at Rome.]

  With snow the Esquiline was strewn
    At morn!--Fair Legend! who but thinks
  Of thee, when first the breezes blown
    From summer Alp to Alp he drinks?

  He stands: he hears the torrents dash:
    Slowly the vapours break; and lo!
  Through chasms of endless azure flash
    The peaks of everlasting snow.

{100}

  He stands; he listens; on his ear
    Swells softly forth some virgin hymn:
  The white procession windeth near,
    With glimmering lights in sunshine dim.

  Mother of Purity and Peace!
    They sing the Saviour's name and thine
  Clothe them for ever with the fleece
    Unspotted of thy Lamb Divine!

{101}

_Fest. Puritatis._


XV.

  Far down the bird may sing of love;
    The honey-bearing blossom blow:
  But hail, ye hills that rise above
    The limit of perpetual snow!

  O Alpine City, with thy walls
    Of rock eterne and spires of ice,
  Where torrent still to torrent calls,
    And precipice to precipice;--

  How like that holier City thou,
    The heavenly Salem's earthly porch,
  Which rears among the stars her brow,
    And plants firm feet on earth--the Church!

  "Decaying, ne'er to be decayed,"
    Her woods, like thine, renew their youth:
  Her streams, in rocky arms embayed,
    Are clear as virtue, strong as truth.

{102}

  At times the lake may burst its dam;
    Black pine and rock the valley strew;
  But o'er the ruin soon the lamb
    Its flowery pasture crops anew.

  She, too, in regions near the sky
    Up-piles her cloistered snows, and thence
  Diffuses gales of purity
    O'er fields of consecrated sense.

  On those still heights a love-light glows
    The plains from them alone receive;--
  Not all the Lily! There thy Rose,
    O Mary, triumphs, morn and eve!

{103}

XVI.

  Cloud-piercing Mountains! Chance and Change
    More high than you their thrones advance.
  Self-vanquished Nature's rockiest range
    Gives way before them like the trance

  Of one that wakes. From morn to eve
    Through fissured clefts her mists make way;
  At Night's cold touch they freeze, and cleave
    Her crags; and, with a Titan's sway,

  Flake off and peel the rotting rocks,
    And heap the glacier tide below
  With isles of sand and floating blocks,
    As leaves on streams when tempests blow.

  Lo, thus the great decree all-just,
    O Earth, thy mountains hear; and learn
  From fire and frost its import--"dust
    Thou art; and shalt to dust return."

  He only is Who ever was;
    The All-measuring Mind; the Will Supreme.
  Rocks, mountains, worlds, like bubbles pass:
    God is; the things not God but seem.


{104}


_Foederis Arca._


XVII.

  From end to end, O God, Thy Will
    With swift yet ordered might doth reach:
  Thy purposes their scope fulfil
    In sequence, resting each on each.

  In Thee is nothing sudden; nought
    From harmony and law that swerves:
  The orbits of Thine act and thought
    In soft succession wind their curves.

  O then with what a gradual care
    Must thou have shaped that sacred shrine,
  That Ark of grace, ordained to bear
    The burthen of the Babe divine!

  How many a gift within her breast
    Lay stored, for Him a couch to strew!
  How many a virtue lined His nest!
    How many a grace beside Him grew!

  Of love on love what sweet excess!
    How deep a faith! a hope how high!--
  Mary! on earth of thee we guess;
    But we shall see thee when we die!

{105}


_Domus Aurea._

XVIII.

  She mused upon the Saints of old;
    Their toils, their pains, she longed to share
  Of Him she mused, the Child foretold;
    To Him her hands she stretched in prayer.

  No moment passed without its crown;
    And each new grace was used so well
  It drew some tenfold talent down,
    Some miracle on miracle.

  O golden House! O boundless store
    Of wealth by heavenly commerce won!
  When God Himself could give no more,
    He gave thee all; He gave His Son!

  Blessed the Mother of her Lord!
    And yet for this more blessed still,
  Because she heard and kept His Word--
    High servant of His sovereign Will!


{106}

_Respexit Humilitatem._


XIX

  Not all thy purity, although
    The whitest moon that ever lit
  The peaks of Lebanonian snow
    Shone dusk and dim compared with it;--

  Not that great love of thine, whose beams
    Transcended in their virtuous heat
  Those suns which melt the ice-bound streams,
    And make earth's pulses newly beat:--

  It was not these that from the sky
    Drew down to thee the Eternal Word:
  He looked on thy humility;
    He knew thee, "Handmaid of thy Lord."

  Let no one claim with thee a part;
    Let no one, Mary, name thy name,
  While, aping God, upon his heart
    Pride sits, a demon robed in flame.

  Proud Vices, die! Where Sin has place
    Be Sin's familiar self-disgust.
  Proud Virtues, doubly die; that Grace
    At last may burgeon from your dust.


{107}


_Respexit Humilitatem._


XX.

  Supreme among the things create
    Omnipotence revealed below,
  More swift than thought, more strong than fate,
    Such, such, Humility, art thou!

  All strength beside is weakness. Might
    Belongs to God: and they alone,
  Self-emptied souls and seeming-slight,
    Are filled with God and share his throne.

  O Mary! strong wert thou and meek;
    Thy meekness gave thee strength divine:
  Thyself in nothing didst thou seek;
    Therefore thy Maker made Him thine.

  Through Pride our parents disobeyed;
    Rebellious Sense avenged the crime:
  The soul, the body's captive made,
    Became the branded thrall of time.

{108}

  With barrenness the earth was cursed;
    Inviolate she brought forth no more
  Her fruits, nor freely as at first:--
    Thou cam'st, her Eden to restore!

  Low breathes the wind upon the string;
    The harp, responsive, sounds in turn:
  Thus o'er thy Soul the Spirit's wing
    Creative passed; and Christ was born.

{109}


_"Sine Labe originali Concepta."_


XXI.

  Met in a point   [Footnote 7] the circles twain
    Of temporal and eternal things
  Embrace, close linked. Redemption's chain
    Drops thence to earth its myriad rings.

  [Footnote 7: The Incarnation.]

  In either circle, from of old,
    That point of meeting stood decreed;--
  Twin mysteries cast in one deep mould,
    "The Woman," and "the Woman's Seed."

  Mary, long ages ere thy birth
    Resplendent with Salvation's Sign,
  In thee a stainless hand the earth
    Put forth, to meet the Hand Divine!

  First trophy of all-conquering Grace,
    First victory of that Blood all pure,
  Of man's once fair but fallen race
    Thou stood'st, the monument secure.

  The Word made Flesh! the Way! the Door!
    The link that dust with Godhead blends!
  Through Him the worlds their God adore:--
    Through thee that God to man descends.

{110}

_"Sine Labe originali Concepta."_


XXII.

  A soul-like sound, subdued yet strong,
    A whispered music, mystery-rife,
  A sound like Eden airs among
    The branches of the Tree of Life--

  At first no more than this; at last
    The voice of every land and clime,
  It swept o'er Earth, a clarion blast:
    Earth heard, and shook with joy sublime.

  Mary! thy triumph was her own.
    In thee she saw her prime restored:
  She saw ascend a spotless Throne
    For Him, her Saviour, and her Lord.

  The Church had spoken. She that dwells
    Sun-clad with beatific light,
  From Truth's unvanquished citadels,
    From Sion's Apostolic height,

  Had stretched her sceptred hands, and pressed
    The seal of Faith, defined and known,
  Upon that Truth till then confessed
    By Love's instinctive sense alone.

{111}

XXIII.

  Brow-bound with myrtle and with gold,
    Spring, sacred now from blasts and blights,
  Lifts in a firm, untrembling hold
    Her chalice of fulfilled delights.

  Confirmed around her queenly lip
    The smile late wavering, on she moves;
  And seems through deepening tides to step
    Of steadier joys and larger loves.

  The stony Ash itself relents,
    Into the blue embrace of May
  Sinking, like old impenitents
    Heart-touched at last; and, far away,

  The long wave yearns along the coast
    With sob suppressed, like that which thrills
  (While o'er the altar mounts the Host)
    Some chapel on the Irish hills.


{112}

_Corpus Christi._


XXIV.

  Rejoice, O Mary! and be glad,
    Thou Church triumphant here below!
  He cometh, in meekest emblems clad;
    Himself he cometh to bestow!

  That body which thou gav'st, O Earth,
    He giveth back--that Flesh, that Blood;
  Born of the Altar's mystic birth;
    At once thy Worship and thy Food.

  He who of old on Calvary bled
    On all thine altars lies to-day,
  A bloodless Sacrifice, but dread;
    The Lamb in heaven adored for aye.

  His Godhead on the Cross He veiled;
    His Manhood here He veileth too:
  But Faith has eagle eyes unsealed;
    And Love to Him she loves is true.

{113}

  "I will not leave you orphans. Lo!
    While lasts the world with you am I."
  Saviour! we see Thee not; but know,
    With burning hearts, that Thou art nigh!

  He comes! Blue Heaven, thine incense breathe
    O'er all the consecrated sod;
  And thou, O Earth, with flowers enwreathe
    The steps of thine advancing God!


{114}

_Corpus Christi._


XXV.

  What music swells on every gale?
    What heavenly Herald rideth past?
  Vale sings to vale, "He comes; all hail!"
    Sea sighs to sea, "He comes at last."

  The Earth bursts forth in choral song;
    Aloft her "Lauda Sion" soars;
  Her myrtle boughs at once are flung
    Before a thousand Minster doors.

  Far on the white processions wind
    Through wood and plain and street and court
  The kings and prelates pace behind
    The King of kings in seemly sort.

  The incense floats on Grecian air;
    Old Carmel echoes back the chant;
  In every breeze the torches flare
    That curls the waves of the Levant.

  On Ramah's plain--in Bethlehem's bound--
    Is heard to-day a gladsome voice:
  "Rejoice," it cries, "the lost is found!
    With Mary's joy, O Earth, rejoice!"

{115}

XXVI.

  Pleasant the swarm about the bough;
    The meadow-whisper round the woods;
  And for their coolness pleasant now
    The murmur of the falling floods.

  Pleasant beneath the thorn to lie,
    And let a summer fancy loose;
  To hear the cuckoo's double cry;
    To make the noon-tide sloth's excuse.

  Panting, but pleased, the cattle stand
    Knee-deep in water-weed and sedge,
  And scarcely crop the greener band
    Of osiers round the river's edge.

  But hark! Far off the south wind sweeps
    The golden-foliaged groves among,
  Renewed or lulled, with rests and leaps--
    Ah! how it makes the spirit long

  To drop its earthly weight, and drift
    Like yon white cloud, on pinions free,
  Beyond that mountain's purple rift,
    And o'er that scintillating sea!

{116}

XXVII.

  Sing on, wide winds, your anthems vast!
    The ear is richer than the eye:
  Upon the eye no shape can cast
    Such impress of Infinity.

  And thou, my soul, thy wings of might
    Put forth:--thou too, one day shalt soar,
  And, onward borne in heavenward flight,
    The starry universe explore;

  Breasting that breeze which waves the bowers
    Of Heaven's bright forest never mute,
  Whereof perchance this earth of ours
    Is but the feeblest forest-fruit.

  "The Spirit bloweth where He wills"--
    Effluence of that Life Divine
  Which wakes the Universe, and stills,
    In Thy strong refluence make us Thine!

{117}

_Coeli enarrant._


XXVIII.

  Sole Maker of the Worlds! They lay
    A barren blank, a void, a nought,
  Beyond the ken of solar ray
    Or reach of archangelic thought.

  Thou spak'st; and they were made! Forth sprang
    From every region of the abyss,
  Whose deeps, fire-clov'n, with anthems rang,
    The spheres new-born and numberless.

  Thou spak'st:--upon the winds were found
    The astonished Eagles. Awed and hushed
  Subsiding seas revered their bound;
    And the strong forests upward rushed.

  Before the Vision angels fell,
    As though the face of God they saw;
  And all the panting miracle
    Found rest within the arms of Law.

{118}

  Perfect, O God, Thy primal plan--
    That scheme frost-bound by Adam's sin:
  Create, within the heart of Man,
    Worlds meet for Thee; and dwell therein.

  From Thy bright realm of Sense and Nature,
    Which flowers enwreathe and stars begem,
  Shape Thou Thy Church; the crowned Creature;
    The Bride; the New Jerusalem!


{119}


_Caro factus est._


XXIX.

  When from beneath the Almighty Hand
    The suns and systems rushed abroad,
  Like coursers which have burst their band,
    Or torrents when the ice is thawed;

  When round in luminous orbits flung
    The great stars gloried in their might;
  Still, still, a bridgeless gulf there hung
    'Twixt Finite things and Infinite.

  That crown of light creation wore
    Was edged with vast unmeasured black;
  And all of natural good she bore
    Confessed her supernatural lack.

  For what is Nature at the best?
    An arch suspended in its spring;
  An altar-step without a priest;
    A throne whereon there sits no king.

{120}

  As one stone-blind that fronts the morn,
    The world before her Maker stood,
  Uplifting suppliant hands forlorn--
    God's creature, yet how far from God!

  He came. That world His priestly robe;
    The Kingly Pontiff raised on high
  The worship of the starry globe:--
    The gulf was bridged, and God was nigh.

{121}

XXX.

  A woman "clothed with the sun,"   [Footnote 8]
    Yet fleeing from the Dragon's rage!--
  The strife in Eden-bowers begun
    Swells upward to the latest age.

  [Footnote 8: Rev. xii. 1.]

  That woman's Son is throned on high;
    The angelic hosts before Him bend:
  The sceptre of His empery
    Subdues the worlds from end to end.

  Yet still the sword goes through her heart,
    For still on earth His Church survives.
  In her that woman holds a part:
    In her she suffers, wakes, and strives.

  Around her head the stars are set;
    A dying moon beneath her wanes:
  But he that letteth still must let:
    The Power accurst awhile remains.

  Break up, strong Earth, thy stony floors,
    And snatch to penal caverns dun
  That Dragon from the pit that wars
    Against the woman and her Son!

{122}

XXXI.

  No ray of all their silken sheen
    The leaves first fledged have lost as yet
  Unfaded, near the advancing queen
    Of flowers, abides the violet.

  The rose succeeds--her month is come:--
    The flower with sacred passion red:
  She sings the praise of martyrdom,
    And Him for whom His martyrs bled.

  The perfect work of May is done:
    Hard by a new perfection waits:--
  The twain, a sister and a nun,
    A moment parley at the grates.

  The whiter Spirit turns in peace
    To hide her in the cloistral shade:--
  'Tis time that you should also cease,
    Slight carols in her honour made.

{123}

EPILOGUE.

{124}

{125}

_Epilogue_


  Regent of Change, thou waning Moon,
    Whom they, the sons of night, adore,
  Her feet are on thee! Late or soon
    Heap up upon the expectant shore

  The tides of Man's Intelligence;
    Or backward to the blackening deep
  Remit them: Knowledge won from Sense
    But sleeps to wake, and wakes to sleep.

  Where are the hands that reared on high
    Heaven-threat'ning Babel? where the might
  Of them, that giant progeny,
    The Deluge dealt with? Lost in night.

  The child who knows his creed doth stretch
    A sceptred hand o'er Space, and hold
  The end of all those threads that catch
    In wisdom's net the starry fold.

  The Sabbath comes: the work-days six
    Of Time go by; meantime the key,
  O salutary crucifix,
    Of all the worlds, we clasp in thee.

{126}

  Truth deeplier felt by none than him  [Footnote 9]
    Who at the Alban mountain's foot,
  Wandering no more in shadows dim,
    Lay down, a lamb-like offering mute.

  [Footnote 9: Robert Isaak Wilberforce.]

  His mighty lore found rest at last
    In Faith, and woke in God. Ah, Friend!
  When life which is not Life is past,
    Pray that like thine may be my end.

  Thy fair large front; thine eyes' grave blue;
    Thine English ways so staid and plain;--
  Through native rosemaries and rue
    Memory creeps back to thee again.

  Beside thy dying bed were writ
    Some snatches of these random rhymes;
  Weak Song, how happy if with it
    Thy name should blend in after times.

Rome, April 27, 1857.



London:
Printed by Spottiswoode & Co.
New-street Square.





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