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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE CONTINENT, 1820

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.


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