OUR LADY OF THE MAY

O Flower of flowers, Our Lady of the May!
Thou gavest us the World's one Light of Light:
Under the stars, amid the snows, He lay;
While Angels, through the Galilean night
Sang glory and sang peace:
Nor doth their singing cease,
For thou their Queen and He their King sit crowned
Above the stars, above the bitter snows;
They chant to thee, the Lily, to Him the Rose,
With white Saints kneeling round.
Gone is cold night: thine now are spring and day:
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!
Thou gavest us the blessed Christmas mirth:
And now, not snows, but blossoms, light thy way;
We give thee the fresh flower-time of the earth.
These early flowers we bring,
Are angels of the spring,
Spirits of gracious rain and light and dew.
Nothing so like to thee the whole earth yields,
As these pure children of her vales and fields,
Bright beneath skies of blue.
Hail Holy Queen! Their fragrant breathings say:
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!
Breathe from God's garden of eternal flowers
Blessing, when we thy little children pray:
Let thy soul's grace steal gently over ours.
Send on us dew and rain,
That we may bloom again,
Nor wither in the dry and parching dust.
Lift up our hearts, till with adoring eyes,
O Morning Star! We hail thee in the skies,
Star of our hope and trust!
Sweet Star, sweet Flower, there bid thy beauty stay:
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

O Flower of flowers, Our Lady of the May!
Thou leftest lilies rising from thy tomb:
They shone in stately and serene array,
Immaculate amid death's house of gloom.
Ah, let thy graces be
Sown in our dark hearts! We
Would make our hearts gardens for thy dear care:
Watered from wells of Paradise, and sweet
With balm winds flowing from the Mercy Seat,
And full of heavenly air:
While music ever in thy praise should play,
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!
Not only for ourselves we plead, God's Flower!
Look on thy blinded children, who still stray,
Lost in this pleasant land, thy chosen Dower!
Send us a perfect spring:
Let faith arise and sing,
And England from her long, cold winter wake.
Mother of Mercy! Turn upon her need
Thine eyes of mercy: be there spring indeed:
So shall thine Angels make
A starrier music, than our hearts can say,
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

Lionel Johnson
Thérèse, M. I Sing of a Maiden: The Mary Book of Verse. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

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TO CROWN THE QUEEN OF MAY
We hunted through the mountains,
The meadows and the town
To find some shining jewels
To make our Queen a crown.

We dug the earth for diamonds
And polished them with care;
But vanquished was their luster
When laid within her hair.

The seven seas we sounded,
And strained the densest sands
To find a pearl to rival
The whiteness of her hands.

The glowing gold was blackened
When brought before her feet.
And silver in her shadow
Was sordid as the street.

The emeralds lost their greenness
Like plants who knew not rains.
And rubies paled like warriors
Who fall with bursting veins.

Twas then that we remembered
How men were once in awe
To see a Babe of beauty,
Whose jewels were some straw.

So we went and robbed a manger,
And crowned the Queen of May
With a wreath that we had woven
From homely strands of hay.

T.H. Cosgrove
Robert, Cyril. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry. New York: Marist Press, 1944.


The Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Gerard David (1460-1523)

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THE GIFT OF THE SPRINGTIME

Mother Nature had painted
A ballroom for fairy queens,
With draperies of weeping willows,
And music from babbling streams.

Where the fairy knight waltzed with a princess,
And drank from a goblet of gold;
When the air was scented with perfume-
Those were the Mays of old.

When after the fall of evening,
Into the hush of night,
I'd creep from my bed to dreamland,
With fire fairies for light.

Down through the lane of maples,
Down through lilac row,
Where butterflies stood as sentries-
That's where I used to go.

Lanterns were strung from the moonbeams,
A rose bush surrounded the throne
Of the loveliest fairy princess,
A dreamland ever owned.

Her eyes were filled with star dust,
Her hair was the gold of the sun,
And she danced with the grace of a bluebird,
Till the night of her fairies was done.

Perhaps you have heard of these splendors,
Perhaps you have seen them as I,
Dance in the mist of twilight,
Under the evening sky.

But if you've not dreamed in the May time,
Of fairies, and moonlight, and love,
You've missed the gift of springtime,
Granted by Mary above.

So tonight as the shadows start falling,
Say a prayer to the Queen of the May,
That you may dream of fairies and moonlight
Till the rose-colored dawn of day.

Gay Lowry
Robert, Cyril. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry. New York: Marist Press, 1944.

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THE MAY QUEEN

She wears sunlight in her hair
And violets in her eyes
And her cheeks are the petals of a rose.
She bears Love on her arm
And lilies are her feet,
And they carry Life wherever she goes.
There are graces on her lips
And rainbows on her robes
And her wreath is the coronet of May.
She is Fairy Queen of earth-
The wand at her heart
Is a Bud from the Triune Bouquet.
She is Mother, Queen, and Maid,
And God is her Child,
And her Courts are the meadows where They play
And her Courts
Forever and for aye.
She is Mary full of grace.
She is Queen of Eternal May.

Marie Fischer
Robert, Cyril. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry. New York: Marist Press, 1944.


The Virgin and Child with Angels in the Rose garden
Stephen Lochner (1442-1451)

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GALILEAN MAY
Into the hills of Galilee
Our Lady went one day,
Lured by the wonder-woven bloom
Dropped from the looms of May.

Slim lilies leaned to touch her gown.
Curving through delicate air,
A fledgling thrush flew to her hand,
Butterflies to her hair.

She told a secret to the winds
That brushed her garment hem-
The tear-wet, pitying winds that blew
Up from Jerusalem.

And as she spoke a little Name,
Whispering low and sweet,
A golden surf of buttercups
Broke against her feet.

The winds and flowers of Galilee,
Grown wistful of her face,
Still wait her footfall at the May-
Gentle, and full of grace.

M. Thérèse
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine. New York: Marist Press, 1946.


The Virgin and Child with S.S. Catherine of Alexandria
Master of the St. Lucy Legend (1480)

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OUR LADY OF MAY

How like a timid virgin comes the May,
In verdure robed and crown'd with chaplets sweet
Rifling earth's choicest treasures, to lay
Rich spoils of beauty at Our Lady's feet!
And, her to honor, from her teeming stores
Of leaf and bud, in greening garths and bowers,
Nature her lavish offering outpours
Of delicate blossoms and of fragile flowers.

The south wind whispers and young grasses stir,
Renascent blooms from crypts of winter rise,
Lily and rose awake to worship her
Who is the peerless Rose of Paradise.

Spirits of Spring - crocus and daffodil
And violet and lilac fresh and frail -
At Mary's shrine their fragrance sweet distill
And in her praise their passionate souls exhale.

Madonna! Mother of our Christ and Lord!
Now in the opening year's auroral prime
Heaven and earth in rapturous accord
Hail thee and hymn with canticles sublime.
All innocent things, and all things pure and fair,
Hasten their homage at thy throne to pay;
And we, thy children, come with love and pray'r-
Oh, hear and help us, Lady of the May!

Touch us to harmony with the gracious hours,
And from our lives all discords harsh efface!
Help us to grow in beauty, like the flowers,
Responsive to the Godhead's quickening grace!
Oh, fill us with the season's peace and love,
And guide our feet in virtue's arduous way
That we may tread the paths that lead above
To thy dear Son, O Lady of the May!

P.J. Coleman
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine. New York: Marist Press, 1946.

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MAY DAY PAGEANT

Above all the blue, till the banners that blow out of
Heaven
Have not space in their infinite fields to possess or
contain it,
And the universe finds itself barren of throne or
dominion to hold it,
We speak of that Love that is wholly divine and
eternal.
And so it is fit--we return to the day's first beginnings
With singing of praises to one, of the ages beloved
Above every other, with crowning of one to whom
earthful
Of crowns would seem little. Our Mother, Our Mary,
our Silver
And ceaseless--sung Constellation, hung high in the
Heaven,
Hung higher than blue. And her to whom high love
was given
By Infinite Lover, we honor and bless! We recall her
Who is matchless with Spring by her beauty and life
ever-living!
This one, this unequaled, most lovely and living of
women,
This fairest idea of God whom no other so sweetly
delighted,
We praise and salute! Her than whom God for His
Son's earthly Mother
None else would have chosen, so pure and so stainless
of sinning.
Most beautiful thought in the world, we acclaim once
more Queen,
God's Queen and our Queen and the Queen of the
Spring-ruling kingdom,
And Queen of the world, and Queen of the white-
jeweled Heaven,
Of Saints in their glory and spirits angelic and shining,
Queen Mary of Heavenly May, O remember we love
you!

Betty Odell
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine. New York: Marist Press, 1946.

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IN MAY

In May, sweet roses scent the air,
And glistening insects dart and blare.
Sweet springtime blossoms far and wide.
Dame Nature leaves stern tasks aside,
To garnish earth with tender care.

This happy month is ever fair;
As all things take the utmost care
To honor God's own Virgin Bride
In May.

At dusk, sweet Aves, heavenly prayer,
Attest men's love and are their share
In praising her, while side by side
Their voices sound to show their pride
In Mary, Queen of all that's fair
In May.

F. Sackett
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine. New York: Marist Press, 1946.

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MARY'S MONTH

Blue skies,
Blue waters, blue as Mary's eyes
God scatters with a lavish hand,
On every land.
Still night,
Made lovely with soft, silver light,
God wraps about the world when day
Has slipped away.
Each field
Holds up a golden-flowered shield
Against the shining shafts of sun;
Yet each is won.
Bright rain
God spills to bring to earth again
New freshness. Then like sudden tears
It disappears.
Green trees,
The vagabonding summer breeze,
The golden days and silver nights
His will unites
In one.
And when His work of love is done,
His will decrees a holiday,
The month of May.
And why?
That she, as pure as summer sky,
Who found within an earth-born Boy
What earth contained of joy and pain
Might find her full content of joy
On earth again.

Dennis John Burns
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine. New York: Marist Press, 1946.

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THE MAY MAGNIFICAT

May is Mary's month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season-

Candlemas, Lady Day:
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honor?
Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?
Growth in every thing-

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathizing
With that world of good,
Nature's motherhood.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring's universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine. New York: Marist Press, 1946.

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MAY ALTAR

Beneath her statue in its niche,
(Let busy skeptics gaze and glower!)
Engather flowers, fresh and sweet,
Proclaim this Mary's hour....

Poppies for her mother-heart
Wounded past the mind's belief,
Lilies for her purity,
Lilacs for her grief,

For this the fairest blooms were plucked
And placed below her image there,
To offer beauty as a gift
And fragrance as a prayer.

F.H.W.
Columbia Journal. May 1954.

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THE MONTH OF OUR LADY
The daffodils dance at the dawning,
The may bells make clamor and sing;
What, then, is this season, good mother,
When flowers such loveliness bring?
It is the sweet month of Our Lady,
Whose Son is our Savior and King.

The violets waft their faint incense,
In glory the gillblooms blow;
What, then, is this season, dear mother,
That lilies are sisters of snow?
It is the rich month of Our Lady,
When beauty and loveliness flow.

The south wind's a song of love's triumph,
Twined round a child's laugh in the lane;
What, then, is this season, O mother!
When fragrance grows vocal in rain?
It is the lush month of Our Lady,
Madonna of bliss and of pain.

Like cordons of honor, the poplars,
That stand, rigged in green, in the night,
Let us form, then, for Mary, O mother!
Our own little pageant of white.
It is the glad month of Our Lady,
Earth's fairest, and Heaven's delight!

J. Corson Miller
The Magnificat. Volume LXX. Number 1. May 1942.


The Virgin and Child Enthroned
with an Angel and a Donor

Hans Memling (1465-1494)


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