Pictures & Poems
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Mary's Girlhood
1232901Pictures & Poems — Mary's GirlhoodDante Gabriel Rossetti

The Girlhood of Mary, Virgin


"Ecce Ancilla Domini!"



THIS is that blessed Mary, pre-elect

God's Virgin. Gone is a great while, and she

Dwelt young in Nazareth of Galilee.

Unto God's will she brought devout respect,

Profound simplicity of intellect,

And supreme patience. From her mother's knee

Faithful and hopeful; wise in charity;

Strong in grave peace; in pity circumspect.

So held she through her girlhood; as it were

An angel-watered lily, that near God

Grows and is quiet. Till, one dawn at home

She woke in her white bed, and had no fear

At all,—yet wept till sunshine, and felt awed:

Because the fullness of the time was come.


These are the symbols. On that cloth of red

I' the centre is the Tripoint: perfect each,

Except the second of its points, to teach

That Christ is not yet born. The books—whose head

Is golden Charity, as Paul hath said—

Those virtues are wherein the soul is rich:

Therefore on them the lily standeth, which

Is Innocence, being interpreted.

The seven-thorn'd briar and the palm seven-leaved

Are her great sorrow and her great reward.

Until the end be full, the Holy One

Abides without. She soon shall have achieved

Her perfect purity: yea, God the Lord

Shall soon vouchsafe His Son to be her Son.

"Ecce Ancilla Domini!"