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And the Angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. St. Luke i. 28.

O Thou who deign’st to sympathise

With all our frail and fleshly ties,

Maker yet Brother dear,

Forgive the too presumptuous thought,

If, calming wayward grief, I sought

To gaze on Thee too near.

Yet sure ’twas not presumption, Lord,

’Twas Thine own comfortable word

That made the lesson known:

Of all the dearest bonds we prove,

Thou countest sons and mothers’ love

Most sacred, most Thine own.

When wandering here a little span,

Thou took’st on Thee to rescue man,

Thou had’st no earthly sire:

That wedded love we prize so dear,

As if our heaven and home were here,

It lit in Thee no fire.

On no sweet sister’s faithful breast

Wouldst Thou Thine aching forehead rest,

On no kind brother lean:

But who, O perfect filial heart,

E’er did like Thee a true son’s part,

Endearing, firm, serene?

Thou wept’st, meek maiden, mother mild,

Thou wept’st upon thy sinless Child,

Thy very heart was riven:

And yet, what mourning matron here

Would deem thy sorrows bought too dear

By all on this side Heaven?

A Son that never did amiss,

That never sham’d His Mother’s kiss,

Nor cross’d her fondest prayer:

Even from the tree He deign’d to bow,

For her His agonised brow,

Her, His sole earthly care.

Ave Maria! blessed Maid!

Lily of Eden’s fragrant shade,

Who can express the love

That nurtur’d thee so pure and sweet,

Making thy heart a shelter meet

For Jesus’ holy dove?

Ave Maria! Mother blest,

To whom, caressing and caress’d,

Clings the eternal Child;

Favour’d beyond Archangels’ dream,

When first on Thee with tenderest gleam

Thy new-born Saviour smil’d: —

Ave Maria! thou whose name

All but adoring love may claim,

Yet may we reach thy shrine;

For He, thy Son and Saviour, vows

To crown all lowly lofty brows

With love and joy like thine.

Bless’d is the womb that bare Him — bless’d106106St. Luke xi. 27, 28.

The bosom where His lips were press’d,

But rather bless’d are they

Who hear His word and keep it well,

The living homes where Christ shall dwell,

And never pass away.

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