The Eighth of December, 1854
The sun has gone down on the Sev'nth of December
When peals from the belfries woke hill-top and dome,
And quickened the ardor of vehement yearning
Which throbbed in the heart of Pontifical Rome.
But why, kingly people, these vesperal volleys?
Have victors arrived with their spoils and their throng?
Or have you decided to bind with fresh laurel
The brow of a favorite child of sweet song?
No, no; for your Capitol opens its portals
No longer to victor or patriot bard;
A scene more imposing, a sanctified pageant
Awaits on the morrow your anxious regard.
That morrow auspiciously breaks o'er the City
And kindles all hearts with its orient glow:
The air is now vocal with joyous commotion,
As on to St. Peter's the multitudes flow.
The moment has come in the cycle of ages
So ardently looked for by Doctor and Saint
To publicly honor with due recognition
Our Lady's conception as free from all taint.
The Pontiff arises and, full of emotion
Which thrilled ev'ry heart in the time-honored fane,
Proclaims that our Lady was vested with beauty
Which never was sullied by spot or by stain.
At this declaration, a thousand full voices
The solemn Te Deum spontaneously sing,
While guns from St. Angelo greet it with thunders
And bells without number right merrily ring.
From Tiber's proud banks to the shores of Columbia,
From Erin's sweet vales to the points of Ind,
The dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception
Is instantly borne on the wings of the wind.
By two hundred millions, the great definition
Is welcomed with outbursts of holiest glee,
And two hundred millions repeat with devotion
"From stain and from blemish, our Lady is free."
A dewdrop of the darkness born,
Wherein no shadow lies;
The blossom of a barren thorn,
Whereof no petal dies;
A rainbow beauty passion-free,
Wherewith was veiled Divinity.
John Bannister Tabb
Therese, M. I Sing of a Maiden.
New York: Macmillan Company, 1947.
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