(For a Picture. [The Girlhood of Mary Virgin])


This is that blessed Mary, pre-elect,
     God's Virgin. Gone is a great while, and she
    Dwelt young in Nazareth of Galilee.
Unto God's will she brought devout respect,
Profound simplicity of intellect,
     And supreme patience. From her mother's knee
     Faithful and hopeful; wise in charity;
Strong in grave peace; in pity circumspect.

So held she through her girlhood; as it were
     An angel-watered lily, that near God
               Grows and is quiet. Till, one dawn at home,
She woke in her white bed, and had no fear
     At all, — yet wept till sunshine, and felt awed;
               Because the fulness of the time was come.


These are the symbols. On that cloth of red
     I' the centre is the Tripoint: perfect each,
     Except the centre of its points,to teach
That Christ is not yet born. The books — whose head
Is golden Charity, as Paul hath said —
     Those virtues are wherein the soul is rich;
     Therefore on them the lily standeth, which
Is innocence, being interpreted.

The seven-thorn'd brier and palm seven-leaved
     Are here great sorrow and her great reward
          Until the end be full, the Holy One
Abides without. She soon shall have achieved
     Her perfect purity: yea, God the Lord
          Shall soon vouchsafe His Son to be her Son.


Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. The Poetical Works. 2vols. [Ed. William Michael Rossetti.] Boston: Little, Brown, 1913. I, 281-82. American printing of British edition published by Roberts Brothers, 1887. [Text scanned, edited, formatted, and linked by George P. Landow.]

Last modified 5 November 2003