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Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89).  Poems.  1918.
 
18. The May Magnificat
 
 
MAY is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
    Her feasts follow reason,
    Dated due to season—
 
Candlemas, Lady Day;        5
But the Lady Month, May,
    Why fasten that upon her,
    With a feasting in her honour?
 
Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?        10
    Is it opportunest
    And flowers finds soonest?
 
Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
    Question: What is Spring?—        15
    Growth in every thing—
 
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
    Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
    Throstle above her nested        20
 
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
    And bird and blossom swell
    In sod or sheath or shell.
 
All things rising, all things sizing        25
Mary sees, sympathising
    With that world of good,
    Nature’s motherhood.
 
Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind        30
    How she did in her stored
    Magnify the Lord.
 
Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
    Much, had much to say        35
    To offering Mary May.
 
When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
    And thicket and thorp are merry
    With silver-surfèd cherry        40
 
And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
    And magic cuckoocall
    Caps, clears, and clinches all—
 
This ecstasy all through mothering earth        45
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
    To remember and exultation
    In God who was her salvation.
 
See Notes.
 

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