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For not alone by men of dignity

Thy worship is performed and precious laud; But by the mouths of children, gracious God! 5 Thy goodness is set forth; they when they lie Upon the breast thy name do glorify.



Wherefore in praise, the worthiest that I Jesu! of thee, and the white Lily-flower Which did thee bear, and is a Maid for aye, 10 To tell a story I will use my power;

Not that I may increase her honour's dower, For she herself is honour, and the root

Of goodness, next her Son, our soul's best boot.


"O Mother Maid! O Maid and Mother free! 15 O bush unburnt! burning in Moses' sight! That down didst ravish from the Deity, Through humbleness, the spirit that did alight Upon thy heart, whence, through that glory's


Conceived was the Father's sapience,

Help me to tell it in thy reverence!



"Lady! thy goodness, thy magnificence,
Thy virtue, and thy great humility,
Surpass all science and all utterance ;
For sometimes, Lady! ere men pray to thee 25
Thou goest before in thy benignity,

The light to us vouchsafing of thy prayer,
To be our guide unto thy Son so dear.


"My knowledge is so weak, O blissful Queen! To tell abroad thy mighty worthiness,


That I the weight of it may not sustain;
But as a child of twelvemonths old or less,
That laboureth his language to express,
Even so fare I; and therefore, I thee pray,
Guide thou my song which I of thee shall



"There was in Asia, in a mighty town,


'Mong Christian folk, a street where Jews might be,

Assigned to them and given them for their own
By a great Lord, for gain and usury,
Hateful to Christ and to his company;


And through this street who list might ride and wend;

Free was it, and unbarred at either end.


"A little school of Christian people stood Down at the farther end, in which there were A nest of children come of Christian blood, 45 That learned in that school from year to


Such sort of doctrine as men used there,

That is to say, to sing and read alsò,
As little children in their childhood do.


‚' Among these children was a Widow's son, 50
A little scholar, scarcely seven years old,
Who day by day unto this school hath gone,
And eke, when he the image did behold
Of Jesu's Mother, as he had been told,
This Child was wont to kneel adown and say 55
Ave Marie, as he goeth by the way.



"This Widow thus her little Son hath taught
Our blissful Lady, Jesu's Mother dear,
To worship aye, and he forgat it not;
For simple infant hath a ready ear.
Sweet is the holiness of youth and hence,
Calling to mind this matter when I may,
Saint Nicholas in my presence standeth aye,
For he so young to Christ did reverence.



This little Child, while in the school he sate 65 His Primer conning with an earnest cheer, The whilst the rest their anthem-book repeat The Alma Redemptoris did he hear;

And as he durst he drew him near and near, And hearkened to the words and to the note, 70 Till the first verse he learned it all by rote.

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This Latin knew he nothing what it said, For he too tender was of age to know; But to his comrade he repaired, and prayed That he the meaning of this song would show, And unto him declare why men sing so; This oftentimes, that he might be at ease, This child did him beseech on his bare knees.



"His Schoolfellow, who elder was than he, Answered him thus:-This song, I have heard


Was fashioned for our blissful Lady free;
Her to salute, and also her to pray


To be our help upon our dying day:

If there is more in this, I know it not;


Song do I learn,-small grammar I have got.'


"And is this song fashioned in reverence
Of Jesu's Mother?' said this Innocent;
Now, certès, I will use my diligence
To con it all ere Christmas-tide be spent ;
Although I for my Primer shall be shent,
And shall be beaten three times in an hour,
Our Lady I will praise with all my power.'




"His Schoolfellow, whom he had so besought,
As they went homeward taught him privily
And then he sang it well and fearlessly,
From word to word according to the note:
Twice in a day it passed through his throat;
Homeward and schoolward whensoe'er he went,
On Jesu's Mother fixed was his intent.


"Through all the Jewry (this before said I) 100
This little Child, as he came to and fro,
Full merrily then would he sing and cry,
O Alma Redemptoris ! high and low :
The sweetness of Christ's Mother pierced so
His heart, that her to praise, to her to pray, 105
He cannot stop his singing by the way.


The Serpent, Satan, our first foe, that hath His wasp's nest in Jew's heart, upswelled—'O



O Hebrew people!' said he in his wrath,
Is it an honest thing? Shall this be so?
That such a Boy where'er he lists shall go
In your despite, and sing his hymns and saws,
Which is against the reverence of our laws!'



"From that day forward have the Jews conspired
Out of the world this Innocent to chase;
And to this end a Homicide they hired,
That in an alley had a privy place,

And, as the Child 'gan to the school to pace,
This cruel Jew him seized, and held him fast
And cut his throat, and in a pit him cast.



“I say that him into a pit they threw,
A loathsome pit, whence noisome scents exhale;
O cursed folk! away, ye Herods new!
What may your ill intentions you avail?
Murder will out; certès it will not fail;
Know, that the honour of high God may spread,
The blood cries out on your accursed deed.


"O Martyr 'stablished in virginity!


Now may'st thou sing for aye before the throne,
Following the Lamb celestial," quoth she, 130
"Of which the great Evangelist, Saint John,
In Patmos wrote, who saith of them that go
Before the Lamb singing continually,
That never fleshly woman they did know.


'Now this poor Widow waiteth all that night 135
After her little Child, and he came not;
For which, by earliest glimpse of morning light,
With face all pale with dread and busy thought,
She at the School and elsewhere him hath


Until thus far she learned, that he had been 140 In the Jews' street, and there he last was seen.

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