Easter Poetry

The pictures which accompany our collection of Easter poetry commemorate the Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin's seven joys are the following events: the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the Resurrected Christ's appearance to Mary, Christ's Ascension, Pentecost, and Mary's death and Assumption. The first presented image depicts the risen Christ's appearance to Mary Magdalene. The second image portrays the Sacrifice of the Innocents carried out by Herod when Christ was born. Our Lady rejoiced that her new born Son was safe. Images three and four are actually two halves (left and right sides) of one picture. The whole picture portrays all of the Virgin Mary's seven joys. All the art is by Hans Memling (1430-1494).



Hans Memling (1430-1494)
The Risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene

OUR LADY'S EASTER

She knelt, expectant, through the night:
For He had promised. In her face
The pure soul beaming, full of grace,
But sorrow-tranced a frozen light.

But, ere her eastward lattice caught
The glimmer of the breaking day,
No more in that sweet garden lay
The buried picture of her thought.

The sealed stone shut a void, and lo!
The Mother and the Son had met!
For her a day should never set
Had burst upon the night of woe.

In sudden glory stood He there,
And gently raised her to His breast:
And on His heart, in perfect rest,
She poured her own a voiceless prayer.

Enough for her that He has died,
And lives, to die again no more:
The foe despoiled, the combat o'er,
The Victor crowned and glorified.

What song of seraphim shall tell
My joy today, my blissful queen?
Yet truly not in vain, I ween,
Our earthly alleluias swell.

But thou, sweet Mother, grant us more
Than here to join the festive strain:
To hymn, but never know, our gain
Were ten times loss for once before.

For so, amid the onward years,
This feat shall bring us strength renewed;
To pass secure, o'er self subdued,
To Easter in the sinless spheres.

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

TO THE MOTHER OF GOD
ON EASTER NIGHT

Hans Memling (1430-1494)
The Slaughter of the Innocents

Thy faith had never faltered, nor thy trust;
Thy love had loyal proved when Calvary
Had mingled with its very mire and dust
The Blood Divine which God had gained thro' thee.
Thine eyes looked up thro' tears of sorrow such
As mother-heart, in all earth's centuries,
Had never known, nor ever shall, Thy touch
Yet unto us, who brought upon thee woe,
Forbidden was to soothe God's agonies.
Thou givest love-when we have wronged thee so!
Thyself hast seen Him in the morning bright,
And won for us the Pax of Easter night!
O Mother, in thy joy at this our bliss,
Help us forget the awful Judas-kiss,
The sorry symbol of our cowardice
And errant emblem of our perfidy!
God's Mother Mary, keep us close to thee,
And teach our hearts to tender such embrace
As brings the glow of gladness to His Face
That Face Divine which won its features fair
From thine, thine own, thou Lily chaste and rare!
Thy heart is knowing that we feel His peace,
Thy soul is sighing that we give Him love.
Throughout earth's exile help our hope increase,
Till Christ shall crown it in His courts above!

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




Hans Memling (1430-1494)
Annunciation

Nativity
Adoration of the Magi

CHRIST IS RISEN

Christ is risen! Lift the song
Of our Easter gladness;
With the bright triumphant throng
Cast away all sadness,
Springtide flowers tell us how
We must leave the sighing,
As we pass the sorrow now
Of our earthly dying.

Lo, the Marys in the gloom
Weeping, bowed with sorrow,
Little dreaming at the Tomb
What their joy tomorrow
Whom they sought the Lord they found
Now no more in sadness;
Where did woe and grief abound
There He brought the gladness!

Lo, that eve in sorrow went
Two disciples walking,
All their mind on Jesus bent,
Of His Passion talking
Till a Stranger on the road
To those hearts now burning,
Told of suffering here for God
Into Glory turning!

 

 

Lo, the Apostles met in fear
That same sorrow bearing
Till the Master came to hear
They His grief were sharing
And through doors fast closed,
once dead,
He appeared, who ever,
Loved them to the end, He said,
And would leave them never.

Lo, in all our sorrow here,
Often deep repining,
Through all doubt and darksome fear
Easter sun is shining
Wherefore now on things above
Set we our affection
Know the power of Jesus' Love
By His Resurrection!

Gladsome birds, fresh breezes tell
With the sunny weather
That dear Creed we love so well,
"All things rise together,"--
So the angels joyfully
Taught the wondrous story,--
"Christ is risen! To Galilee
Go and preach His Glory!"

Doane, M.C. The Book of Easter.
Norwood, Mass., USA: Norwood Press, 1910.

THE WORLD ITSELF
KEEPS EASTER DAY

Hans Memling (1430-1494)
The Risen Christ appears to his Mother
Ascension
Pentecost
Mary's death and assumption


The world itself keeps Easter Day,
And Easter larks are singing;
And Easter flowers are blooming,
And Easter buds are springing.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
The Lord of all things lives anew,
And all His works are living too.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

There stood three Marys by the tomb
On Easter morning early
When day had scarcely chased the gloom,
And dew was white and pearly.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
With loving, but erring, mind
They came the Prince of Life to find,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

But earlier still the angel sped,
His news of comfort giving;
And "Why," he said, "among the dead
Thus seek ye for the living?"
Alleluia! Alleluia!
"Go tell them all, and make them blest,
Tell Peter first, and then the rest."
Alleluia! Alleluia!

But one, and one alone, remained,
With love that could not vary;
And thus a higher joy she gained,
That sometime sinner, Mary.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
The first the dear, dear form to see
Of Him that hung upon the tree.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

The world itself keeps Easter Day,
And Easter larks are singing;
And Easter flowers are blooming,
And Easter buds are springing.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
The Lord of all things lives anew,
And all His works are living too.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

John Mason Neale
Doane, M.C. The Book of Easter.
Norwood, Mass.,
USA: Norwood Press, 1910.


Source of paintings:
Faggin, Giorgio. Les Classiques de l'Art:Tout l'oeuvre peint de Memling. Paris: Flammarion, 1973.

 

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