Catholic Poems: Lines Suggested by “The Canticle of the Magnificat”


An echo from the hill-top, where, on sweet-scented air,
Arose a psalm prophetic, of gratitude and prayer,
That wafts adown long ages, in whispers soft and low,
The accents of God’s Mother, exulting long ago.

It lends a voice of gladness, to joys of exile years;
It calms the restless spirit, and dries the mourners’ tears.
Through aisles of grand cathedrals, it “magnifies” the Lord
In tones of His blest ” Handmaid,” submissive to His word.

And in this holy island, our own dear native land,
Is *twined with skill poetic, by priestly master-hand,
A “wreath of song” for Mary, a graceful touching strain:
“Magnificat !” most gladly, we hear thy notes again.

“No artist,” sings our poet, “has struck the faultless grace,”
Or caught the inspiration of Mary’s childlike face.
On that sweet summer evening, so beautiful and calm,
When scarce a leaf was rustling, of cedar or of palm.

Through sunlit day at even’ when fall the shadows dim;
“In sanctities of night-time” we hear that glorious hymn.
Now thrilling like to song-birds, among the woodland trees
Then murmuring as wavelets, of rippling sapphire seas.

And is the singer lowest of Mary’s bardic train? *
Ah! No! May verdant laurels immortalize his strain!
Its rare poetic beauty, and glowing imagery
In metaphors well chosen, from earth and sky and sea.

The measured classic rhythm of ancient Grecian lore.
Seems blending with this music from our historic shore;
O scientist and poet! I praise God’s gifts to thee.
And, like the listening Angels, now silent shall I be.

My song seems but discordance, thine every perfect chord
Awakens aspirations, to “magnify the Lord”
With thee, and with our Mother, the star-crowned Queen above,.
In praise and in thanksgiving, humility and love.

— Enfant de Marie,

Source: The Carmelite Review, June 1902 Edition

 * “And  the very lowest, of all thy bardic train.”
Rev. P. A. Sheehan.

Image taken from Public Domain Here

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