Songs of the Affections, with Other Poems/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.


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 star-light gleams,
Mother of Sorrows! lo, I come to thee.

    Unto thy shrine I bear
Night-blowing 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 early 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 waves;
    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'ershadow'd 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 burden of too deep a tenderness.

    Too much o'er him is pour'd
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!