The Virgin Mary
Words: Latin, fifteenth century;
Trans. Laurence Housman (1865-1959), 1906
Portal of the world's salvation,
lo, a Virgin pure and mild,
humble-hearted, high in station,
form of beauty undefiled,
crown of earth's anticipation,
comes the Mother-maid with child.
Here the serpent's power subduing,
see the bush unburned by fire,
Gideon's fleece of heaven's imbuing,
Aaron's rod of bright attire,
fair, and pure, and peace-ensuing,
spouse of Solomon's desire.
Jesse's branch received its flower,
Mother of Emmanuel,
portal sealed and mystic bower
promised by Ezekiel,
rock of Daniel's dream, whose power
smote, and lo, the image fell!
See in flesh so great a wonder
by the power of God ordained,--
him, whose feet all worlds lay under,
in a Virgin's womb contained;--
so on earth, her bonds to sunder,
righteousness from heaven hath rained.
Virgin sweet, with love o'erflowing,
to the hills in haste she fares;
on a kindred bestowing
blessing from the joy she bears;
waiting while with mystic showing
time the sacred birth prepares.
What fair joy o'ershone that dwelling,
called so great a guest to greet;
what her joy whose love compelling
found a rest for Mary's feet,
when, the bliss of time foretelling,
lo, the Voice and Word did meet!
God most high, the heaven's foundation,
ruler of eternity;
Jesus, who for man's salvation
came in flesh to make us free;
Spirit, moving all creation,
evermore be praise to thee!