XVIII. OUR LADY OF THE SNOW
MEEK Virgin Mother, more benign
Than fairest Star, upon the height
Of thy own mountain, set to keep
Lone vigils through the hours of sleep,
What eye can look upon thy shrine
Untroubled at the sight?
These crowded offerings as they hang
In sign of misery relieved,
Even these, without intent of theirs,
Report of comfortless despairs, 10
Of many a deep and cureless pang
And confidence deceived.
To Thee, in this aerial cleft,
As to a common centre, tend
All sufferers that no more rely
On mortal succour--all who sigh
And pine, of human hope bereft,
Nor wish for earthly friend.
And hence, O Virgin Mother mild!
Though plenteous flowers around thee blow, 20
Not only from the dreary strife
Of Winter, but the storms of life,
Thee have thy Votaries aptly styled,
OUR LADY OF THE SNOW.
Even for the Man who stops not here,
But down the irriguous valley hies,
Thy very name, O Lady! flings,
O'er blooming fields and gushing springs,
A tender sense of shadowy fear,
And chastening sympathies! 30
Nor falls that intermingling shade
To summer-gladsomeness unkind:
It chastens only to requite
With gleams of fresher, purer, light;
While, o'er the flower-enamelled glade,
More sweetly breathes the wind.
But on!--a tempting downward way,
A verdant path before us lies;
Clear shines the glorious sun above;
Then give free course to joy and love, 40
Deeming the evil of the day
Sufficient for the wise.