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For not alone by men of dignity
“ Wherefore in praise, the worthiest that I may,
"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
might, Conceived was the Father's sapience, Help me to tell it in thy reverence!
" Lady! thy goodness, thy magnificence,
“My knowledge is so weak, O blissful Queen! To tell abroad thy mighty worthiness,
That I the weight of it may not sustain;
“ 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
,' Among these children was a Widow's son, 50
“ This Widow thus her little Son hath taught
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.
“This Latin knew he nothing what it said,
“ His Schoolfellow, who elder was than he, Answered him thus:- This song, I have heard
say, 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
Now, certès, I will use my diligence
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 piercèd 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 0
woe, 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
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 accursèd 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
sought, Until thus far she learned, that he had been 140 In the Jews' street, and there he last was seen.