Poems of Felicia Hemans in The Literary Souvenir, 1829/Italian Girl's Hymn to the Virgin

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For other versions of this work, see Italian Girl's Hymn to the Virgin.

From The Casket (Atkinson, Philadelphia), 1829, page 87



O sanctissima, O, purissima,
    Dulcis Virgo Maria!
Mater amata intemerata
Ora, Ora, pro nobis.
Sicilian Mariner's Hymn.

    In the deep hour of dreams,
Through the dark woods, and past the moaning sea,
    And by the starlight gleams,
Mother of Sorrows! O, I come to thee.

    Unto thy shrine I bear
Night-blooming flowers, like my own heart to lie,
    All, all unfolded there,
Beneath the meekness of thy pitying eye.

    For thou that once didst move,
In thy still beauty, through an earthly home,
    Thou know'st the grief, the love,
The fear of woman’s soul; to thee I come.

    Many, and sad, and deep,
Were the thoughts folded in thy silent breast;
    Thou too couldst watch and weep—
Hear, gentlest Mother! hear a heart opprest!

    There is a wandering bark,
Bearing one from me o'er the restless wave;
    Oh! let thy soft eye mark
His course—be with him, Holiest, guide and save!

    My soul is on that way,
My thoughts are travellers o'er the waters dim,
    Through the long weary day
I walk, o'ershadowed by vain dreams of him.

    Aid him, and me too, aid!
Oh! 'tis not well, this earthly love's excess!
    On thy weak child is laid
The burthen of too deep a tenderness.

    Too much o'er him is poured
My being's hope—scarce leaving Heaven a part:
    Too fearfully adored,
Oh! make not him the chastener of my heart!

    I tremble with a sense
Of grief to be—I hear a warning low—
    Sweet Mother call me hence;
This wild idolatry must end in woe.

    The troubled joy of life,
Love's lightning happiness, my soul hath known,
    And, worn with feverish strife,
Would fold its wings—take back, take back thine own!

    Hark! how the wind swept by!
The tempest's voice comes rolling o'er the wave—
    Hope of the sailor's eye
And maiden's heart, blest Mother, guide and save!