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Treasury of Sacred Song
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CCCXXX

AVE, GRATIA PLENA

See Note

Mother of GOD! O, not in vain

We learn'd of old thy lowly strain.

Fain in thy shadow would we rest,

And kneel with thee, and call thee blest;

With, thee would 'magnify the LORD,'--

And if thou art not here adored,

Yet seek we, day by day, the love and fear

Which bring thee, with all saints, near and more near.

What glory thou above hast won,

By special grace of thy dear Son,

We see not yet, nor dare espy

Thy crownéd form with open eye.

Rather beside the manger meek

Thee bending with veil'd brow we seek;

Or where the angel in the thrice-great Name

Hail'd thee, and JESUS to thy bosom came.

Yearly since then with bitterer cry

Man hath assail'd the Throne on high,

And sin and hate more fiercely striven

To mar the league 'twixt earth and heaven.

But the dread tie, that pardoning hour,

Made fast in Mary's awful bower,

Hath mightier proved to bind than we to break:--

None may that work undo, that Flesh unmake.

Thenceforth, Whom thousand worlds adore,

He calls thee Mother evermore;

Angel nor Saint His face may see

Apart from what He took of thee.

How may we choose but name thy name,

Echoing below their high acclaim

In holy Creeds? Since earthly song and prayer

Must keep faint time to the dread anthem there.

How, but in love, on thine own days,

Thou blissful one, upon thee gaze?

Nay every day, each suppliant hour,

Whene'er we kneel in aisle or bower,

Thy glories we may greet unblamed,

Nor shun the lay by seraphs framed,

'Hail, Mary, full of grace!' O, welcome sweet,

Which daily in all lands all saints repeat!

Therefore as kneeling day by day

We to our Father duteous pray,

So unforbidden may we speak

An Ave to CHRIST's Mother meek:

(As children with 'good morrow' come

To elders in some happy home:)

Inviting so the saintly host above

With our unworthiness to pray in love.

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