The May Magnificat

our-lady-of-sorrows

Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “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 honour?

 

Is it only it being brighter

Than the most are must delight her?

It is opportunest

And flowers finds soonest?

 

Ask of her, the mighty mother:

Her reply puts this other

Question: What is Spring?—

Growth in everything—

 

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,

Grass and green world all together;

Star-eyed strawberry-breasted

Throstle above her nested

 

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin

Forms and warms the life within;

And bird and blossom swell

In sod or sheath or shell.

 

Their magnifying of each its kind

With delight calls to mind

How she did in her stored

Magnify the Lord.

 

Well but there was more than this:

Spring’s universal bliss

Much, had much to say

To offering Mary May.

 

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple

Bloom lights the orchard-apple

And thicket and thorp are merry

With silver-surfèd cherry

 

And azuring-over greybell makes

Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes

And magic cuckoocall

Cap, clears, and clinches all—

 

This ecstasy all through mothering earth

Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth

To remember and exultation

In God who was her salvation.

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