Friday, February 26, 2016

MAGNIFICAT. [Visitation. A Silence Full of Bells] Part Five


(Behold, all generations shall call me blessed.)

All generations come to her calling,
hail Mary, Holy Mary!

In the cool of the quiet morning children sing
bringing lily and lilac to her shrine on the green hill,
(their will is joyous and still under their mother's eyes
and their praise is a bird in the skies with a shrill song.)

Now in the terrible noon of insistent life
we who no longer shine with innocence
cut with a knife the tough blooms of our wayward summer
to lay before her shrine in the grey grottoes,
calling her name under the stress of sin,
hail Mary, Holy Mary, pray for us in the rough sea of our shame.

Our cries are borne to her in the storm of the elements
and in the heart's storm.
(twisted and torn in the stern tempest of love
we turn and cry to her, Hail Mary, Holy Mary!)
and the moon rises serenely above the deep wood
where we stood frightened.
She is light in the dark night, blessed among women,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun.

We have wrought her image in silver and gold,
in stone and clay, as she told Elizabeth we would,
calling her blessed through the generations.

Nations have carved her image in wood and marble
according to their vision. There is no place
where her face has not been moulded in clay or gold;
there is no day passes but thousands pray
hail Mary, Holy Mary, blessed art thou!

It is just as she said
the day she bowed her head in Elizabeth's room
when her womb rang out with the Word
bounding against the pure curve of her emptiness like a bell
giving tongue to her young blessedness.

Now we tell in our generation
what the old have told
what they will tell who come after ...
hail Mary, Holy Mary, blessed art thou!

Sister Agnes
Sign. 23 November 1948

1 (My soul) gives praise (to the Lord)

THE INCARNATION. [Annunciation. A Silence Full of Bells] Part Four


Divine immensity
captive of Mary's charm
empties himself to fit
the circle of her arms

Sister M Adelaide RSM
Messenger of the Sacred Heart. December 1951

THIRD SORROW. [Lady of Sorrows. A Silence Full of Bells] Part Four

This is rehearsal, Mother,
for a later loss
when on Calvary they take Him
down from the cross.
Had you not lost your Son,
you never could have been
refuge of sinners, Mother,
who knew no sin. 

Sister M Adelaide RSM
In: Laube 1961

OUR LADY'S SONG - Christmas Season. [A Silence Full of Bells] Part Three

Our Lady made a lullaby
a long, long time ago,
when winter winds blew down the sky
and stars were hanging low.
And, as she sang, our little Lord
smiled up into her eyes
as though it were enough reward
for leaving Paradise.
Then suddenly the wind did sing
Our Lady's lovely lay,
and on its wild, enraptured wing
it bore her song away.
And so it comes through all the years
as clearly as of old - 
the song that dried God's human tears
at midnight in the cold.

Sister M Ada
America. 26 December 1942

EXPECTANCY - Christmas Season. [A Silence Full of Bells] Part Two

It may not be on Christmas Eve
when silver bells are ringing,
there may not be a starry sky
with hosts of angels singing
It may be very dark the night
when she and God together
come seeking out my little heart
to shield them from the weather
His mother may not be in blue - 
I may not even know them - 
perhaps I'd best give all the world
the courtesy I'd show them
And lest they take me by surprise
I think it ample reason
to leave my heart's expectant door
flung wide in every season

Sister M Ada CSJ
America. 25 December 1953

CHILD AND MADONNA - [A Silence Full of Bells] Part Two

You are the Butterfly
she is the Rose
with petals uplifted
for your repose.
You are the Nightingale
she is the Air
breathing your music on
souls everywhere.
You are the Grain of Wheat
she is the Field
snowily beautiful.
bearing your yield.
You are the Word of God,
she is His Song.
Help me to sing you both
all my life long.
Sister M Ada CSJ
Magnificat. September 1946

A Silence Full of Bells

Your name is as oil poured out
on the troubled waters of the world.
Your name is like a silence full of bells.
Mother M Francis PCC



Canst thou forget that breathless day
when hidden in thy womb there lay,
("Ave" and Fiat" being said,)
we the members, Christ the Head?

Canst thou forget that happy morn
when thou didst see thy newly born
asleep within a manger bed
we the members, Christ the Head?

Canst thou forget the bitter woe
of that Good Friday long ago,
the cross where agonising bled
we the members, Christ the Head?

Oh Mother, thou canst not forget,
His suffering members bleeding yet,
till time to timelessness has fled,
we the members, Christ the Head

Sister M Aurea BVM
Sign. January 1961

"Ave" - Hail
"Fiat" - Let it be done


According to Christian tradition, honor of Jesus Christ the Son of God is interwoven with the history of His mother, Mary.
  Popular church tradition made points of remembrance of the life of Jesus by remembering His family history.

Prayer rhythm of Church

The life of Mary from the Annunciation to her Assumption was one of ongoing relationship with God.
  In remembrance of the great work God carried out within her life, the church celebrates days of remembrance and prayer.
  Marian feastdays - days of special remembrance - have been included within the prayer rhythm of the Church. 
  These days of special remembrance have been solemnized by the Church in order to encourage personal and communal prayer.

  These days are popularly known as 'Feasts'. Ancient and medieval Christian history evince many instances in which these days were marked by attendance at Holy Mass, followed by feasting and rest from manual labor.

Marian Feastdays
Date Feast is Celebrated in the Church
January 1st - Mary, the holy Mother of God
January 3rd - Our Lady of Sichem, Belgium
January 4th - Our Lady of Treves, Italy
January 5th - Our Lady of Abundance or Prosperity, Italy
January 6th - Our Lady of Cana
January 7th - Our Lady of Egypt
January 8th - Our Lady of Prompt Succour
January 9th - Our Lady beyond the Tiber, Rome/ and Our Lady of Absam, Austria
January 10th - Our Lady of Guides, Turkey
February 2nd - Candlemas/ or the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
February 11th - Our Lady of Lourdes
March 25th - the Annunciation of the Lord
April 27th - Our Lady of Montserrat
During month of May - May devotions in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
May 13th - Our Lady of Fatima
May 31st in the WestMarch 30th in the East - the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
9 days after Corpus Christi - The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
July 16th - Our Lady of Mount Carmel
August 5th - Dedication of Mary of the snows
August 15th - the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 22nd - the Queenship of Mary
September 8th - The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 12th - The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 15th - Mother of Sorrows
September 24th - Our Lady of Walsingham
October month - is known as Rosary month, where congregants are encouraged to pray the rosary, thus reflecting on the events of the life of Jesus Christ and His family
October 7th - Our Lady of the Rosary
November 21st - The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 8th - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 12th - Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 25th - The Nativity of Our Lord [Christmas]
Holy Family - First Sunday after Christmas

*The first Saturday of each month is also dedicated to Marian devotions


A perusal of Anglo-Saxon Marian poetry showed a marked similarity to the majestic Latin and Greek panegyrics found in writings dating back to the Early Church.
Cynewulf, who was the first English poet to sign his work, albeit with a Runic signature, sang the Blessed Virgin's praises in strains which harked back to the Latin origins of which much of his work was a translation.
The Marian poetry of the era justifies the assumption that the English Christians of the first millennium regarded their new religion with some remnant of their pagan fears: that they experienced God more as a remote, majestic King rather than as a Redeemer and Father Figure, and that they likewise phrased their panegyrics to the Blessed Virgin with extreme courtesy and subservience.

Judging by the changed tenor of the mediæval lyric as compared with the lofty Anglo-Saxon panegyrics in praise of God and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this situation appears to have altered considerably as the centuries passed.
From the middle of the twelfth century when the mediæval lyric made its first appearance with St Godric's A Cry to Mary, the English poet writing in praise of Mary appears to be very confident of her personal partiality towards him and of her powerful protection of him - due, he believes, to the magnitude of her mediating powers with the Almighty.

Hundreds of lyrics from the era, still extant today, bear witness to the tranquil security the Christian of the Middle Ages felt with regard to the Blessed Virgin.
He saw her as his haven of refuge, his Mother who would open her arms to him and wrap him in her cloak, not only to provide security from the snares of the devil but also to stay God's Hand from striking him with just punishment for his sins.
This the mediæval Christian felt he fully deserved, since he subjected himself to stringent self-analysis and harboured no illusions about his virtue.

It is an interesting phenomenon that few mediæval poets signed their poetry. This might indicate that the majority of the lyric writers were clerics who traditionally forebore from broadcasting their identity and furthermore that the lyrics were written less in the pursuit of art than as a way of educating the masses in their devotional practices.

What emerged strongly in later years is the fact that humankind appears to have a great need of a woman figure to venerate.
Richard Crashaw and John Donne contributed to the dormant Marian poem genre in the seventeenth century, making it come alive before it again came to a halt in the eighteenth century.

If Bennett was correct in describing the Middle Ages as 'one of the greatest revolutions in feelings Europe has witnessed', the nineteenth-century revival, though less spectacular and widespread, is similarly striking.
In the latter case, the message of a deepening in spirituality was highlighted by such religious leaders as Pusey, Keble and Newman who in their turn passed it on to other priests, including Hopkins, and members of the community in sermons and poetry.
The latter subsequently immortalised the message of the need for a renewal of spirituality, which included the reinstatement of hyperdulia, in their own poetry.

It appears that a veneration of Mary draws the Christian closer to God rather than the reverse.
The fact that the poet is ever in search of a model woman figure would appear to demonstrate a natural inclination in humankind to venerate the Mother of God.
The massive corpus of English poetry in praise of the Blessed Virgin reveals that no other woman has inspired to great a following among praise poets writing in English and that hyperdulia has been a prominent part of the religious customs of the English Christian throughout the years since English poets first put quill to parchment.
England was known as Mary's Dowry and to this day the pilgrims at the Shrine of Walsinghum still sing:

     Mary of Walsinghma, Mother of Jesus,
     Pray for thy Dowry, the land that we love
     England has need of thy powerful protection
     Pour on thy children thy gifts from above

     Countless the pilgrims whose footsteps have echoed
     Down through the year along Walsingham's Way
     Countless the prayers that thy children have offered;
     Mary of Walsingham, hear us, we pray

Like this hymn, each of the poems and extracts quoted in the blog posts in its own unique way appears to demonstrate that those poets who have written praise verse in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the benefit of humankind, in their heart of hearts retain a sense of nostalgia for all that was clean and innocent in their youth.
That this childlike human innocence in all its pristine glory is embodied in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is my own submission.

Dr Luky Whittle

Ave Maria

 With thanks to


In contrast with his mediæval counterpart, a nineteenth-century poet who sings in praise of the Blessed Virgin seldom approaches Mary in the guise of a sorrowful sinner, mourning his imperfections. We look in vain for such humble confessions as the mediæval:

  . . . me þet am zuo wylde          I who am so wild
  uram zenne þou me ssylde       from sin do thou shield me
  ase ich þe bydde can . . .           if I may [so] pray [beg] thee

Clearly, therefore, the sinner-mentality so universally present in the mediæval poet appears to be absent from the work of the nineteenth-century poets. It may, however, still be discerned fleetingly in Thompson's description of himself as a poor Thief.

There is a tremendous sense of reverence to be found in mediæval Marian praise poems. The mediæval Christian highly honoured the Blessed Virgin. Therefore it is highly unlikely that he would have described the Blessed Virgin pictured on a painting as some kneeling girl with passionless pale face,   the way Oscar Wilde did in the nineteenth century. This indicates that in the intervening centuries some poets had changed in attitude towards religious matters and appeared to have lost the spiritual innocence of an earlier age. Moreover, Wilde's dismay at the simplicity of the Annunciation scene shows that ostentation was highly prized in the visually-oriented outlook of the nineteenth century in contrast to the uncluttered simplicity valued by those who worshipped in mediæval times.

In contrast with his humbler mediæval brother who is nearly always the suppliant, the nineteenth-century poet at times almost seems to be writing as though from a position of power and certitude. He may even at times betray a condescension, albeit a gracious one, to his subject, Mary. This could mean that he uses the same themes, eg Ave/Eva, or Mary as mother, sister, spouse and daughter, as the mediæval poets, but that he uses them in different ways. While the mediæval poet loses himself in wonderment, the nineteenth century is sometimes seen as using his subject to foreground his own cleverness. What is best about this cleverness, however, is that it is more readily understandable to the modern reader than Donne's metaphysical interpretation. Whilst the mediæval poems have the clarity of simplicity, the nineteenth century may  have a clarity of the intellectual mind, which focuses on communicating knowledge, intent and insight, rather than on disguising these attributes.

Poet from both periods tend to take their Marian imagery from the Bible. Before 1350, William of Shoreham in Marye, Mayde mylde and fre addressed Mary as þe slinge, [and her] Sone [as] þe ston/þat dauy slange golye op-on [25-26], þe coluere of noe [13], iudith, þat fayre wyf [37], hester þate swete þinge [43], þe temple salomen [31] and þe gate so stronge so stel/Ac euere y-schet fram manne [51-52]. Six centuries later, Christina Rossetti addresses her as fruitful shoot from Jesse's root [2] and Francis Thompsom compares her to a Breathing Eden [46].

Flower imagery is similarly found in the Marian poetry of both eras. St Godric calls Mary moderes flur [6], in a macaronic verse she is addressed as rose sine spina [rose without thorns] [6] and in a third mediæval poem she is called quite as leli floure [12]. In the nineteenth century, Christina Rossetti still calls Mary rose [1] and fair lily [2].

Judging from their Marian poetry, poets of the nineteenth century had less empathy with Christ's sufferings on the cross than did their mediæval counterparts. Their panegyrics were more lofty; their poetry was more multi-syllabic. Though not all of them shared the simplicity and brevity of the mediæval poet, the connection between the world of nature and the spiritual emotion was made by poets of both eras. Of all the occasions in Mary's life, both the mediæval and the nineteenth-century poets as well as those few who lived and wrote between these two eras appear to have been most inspired by the Annunciation and the Assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven. However, whereas the poets of the Middle Ages frequently wrote poems concerning Christ's Crucifixion, this does not seem to have been the case in the nineteenth century.

So, in sum, somes areas of content are similar - celelbration of Biblical events, themes like Mary's role in redemption [Eve/Ave] or her relation to the Divinity - but the forms of the poems tend to be more complex and sophisticated in the nineteenth century. Moreover, aspects such as attitude [which includes the cerebral nature of some of the nineteenth-century poets] also differ. Nevertheless, the intention, which is praise of Mary for her recognised role, seems the same.

The contrast between the tenor of Marian poetry in its two golden ages is notable. Their similarities would appear to have arisen from the sincerity and earnest desire to sing the praises of the most blessed of all human beings which shines like a beacon from the vast corpus of Marian poetry.

In her Magnificat, the Blessed Virgin predicted that thenceforth all generations would call her blessed, In English poetry during the centuries, these words have indeed proved prophetic and we have seen their truth in extant English poetry dating from the Anglo-Saxon era, when English [though in a completely different guise from the way it is written today] first appeared in written form, until the late nineteenth century.

Dr Luky Whittle

Mary Queen of Heaven in the Bible

Perfect Love [Mary's Song]

With thanks to  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


The renascence of Marian poetry in the nineteenth century rose to so formidable a height that its flowering was matched only by that of the Middle Ages. These two periods therefore mark the two golden ages of Marian poetry in England.

An examination of some prominent contrasts and similarities observed in the genre as it presents itself in the time spans concerned will seek to establish the fact that there are as many ways of praising the Blessed Virgin in verse form as there are poets. However, whereas each generation calls Mary blessed in its own way, the basic Christian thinking of the period concerned tends to affect the nature of its poetic outflow.

The cult of the Virgin was at its peak in England during the mediæval period. The populace of the time appear to have seen love for Mary as indistinguishable from that cherished in respect of her Divine Son.
The people felt that the more Mary was praised, the more Christ was being honoured, since Mary's prominence derived only from her relationship with God.
The special privileges showered by God upon her on this account appear to have indicated to them that God approved of humanity's devotion in her regard. To them she was:

     . . . the model of womanhood- and, indeed, of the condition of
     being human-and the mediatrix through whom the Deity might
     be approached, since it was felt that the Son could hardly deny
     the requests of His beloved mother. In York wills before the
     Reformation, she is almost always included in invocations
     directed to God, as in the almost standard formula: 'I give my
     soul to God Almighty and His mother Mary and all the saints.'
                                                                   [Davidson 1984:163]

The fact that mediæval people shared one Christian belief is evident in the warm simplicity of the Marian lyrics of their day.

The nineteenth-century poets who wrote Marian poetry wished to pay homage to the mother of Jesus in a manner which would honour her without doing dishonour to her Son.
Hence the poets of the nineteenth century varied in their approach, from Hopkins' mixture of the brilliant childlike lyric-type offering with its underlying erudition, the quest for truth of Christina Rossetti and Wilde's reaching out for the distinction between true values and that which is merely valuable, to the Baroque splendour of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's work and the Greek panegyric-type of praise poetry, such as Thompson's Assumpta Maria.

With the rapid advance of English literature during the centuries which followed the mediæval heyday of Marian poetry, the craft of poetry-writing had been developed to a fine art by the time the nineteenth century was reached.
Hence a number of the Marian poems of the latter period show a sophistication and a background of learning often lacking in the mediæval poems, much of which was undated, incomplete or both, and sometimes, due to negligent treatment, lacked palæographical evidence.

During the years separating the Middle Ages from the nineteenth century, poetry writing had become a highly sophisticated pursuit; much more of a cerebral exercise than before.
Even though some of the mediæval poetry, notably the macaronic variety, betrayed a measure of learning on the part of the poets, there was more warmth and naïveté to be found in such works than we find in similar ones written in the nineteenth century, which are often far more thoughtful.
This can be clearly seen when we juxtapose an excerpt of the spontaneous mediæval Of on that is so fair and bright such as:

     Wel he wot he is thy sone
     Ventre quem portasti
     He will nought werne thee thy bone
     Parvum quem lactasti

with one from its stately nineteenth-century counterpart Assumpta Maria by Francis Thompsom:

     Lo he standeth Spouse and Brother
     I to Him and He to me,
     Who upraised me where my mother
     fell beneath the apple-tree
     Risen 'twixt Anteros and Eros,
     Blood and Water, Moon and Sun
     He upbears me, He Ischyros,
     I bear Him, the Athanaton.

A lofty solemnity and an air of learning pervade the latter poem in which the poet endeavours [Connolly 1979:477] "to adapt a Parmorean conception of Eros to the Roman Catholic liturgy of the Assumption". All this is absent from its more intimate mediæval counterpart.

The warm informality of mediæval lyrics, naïve as many of them are in form, is likewise found in a few of the nineteenth-century poets who wrote poems in praise of the Blessed Virgin.
Though in a different idiom, Gerard Manley Hopkins writes in as spontaneous and informal a way as does the mediæval poet who penned the following quatrain, contained in the thirteenth-century poem Thanks and a plea to Mary:

     Moder, loke one me,                  Mother look upon me
     Wid thine swete eyen                 With thy sweet eyes
     Reste and blisse gev thus me     Rest and bliss give thou to me
     My levedy, then ic deyen           My lady, when I am dying.


This may be seen inter alias in Hopking's poem The May Magnificat, which in one particularly colloquial-sounding part reads:
     Is it only its being brighter
     Than the most are must delight her?
     Is it opportunest
     and flowers finds soonest.

Whereas the various forms of English used from the twelfth to the sixteenth century clearly show their Saxon roots, the language had evolved to resemble modern English by the nineteench century.
Words which in mediæval times would read: Levedy ic thonke thee [1] [Lady, I thank thee], were by the nineteenth century being written exactly as they would be today.
While furthering the immediate comprehensibility of the poetry, the more contemporary poetry in a measure robs the Marian poetry of its mystique.

Dr Luky Whittle

Song; Hail Queen of Heaven, Hymn to the Blessed Virgin, Robert Kochis

With thanks to Youtube


Ave Maria, Gratia Plena, was a product of the pen of Oscar Wilde [1858-1900]. This poem was written in Florence, and describes the poet's mystification at the lack of fanfare involved in the Annunciation, possibly after he saw Leonardo da Vinci's picture of the event at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It marks Wilde's dawning realisation of the very real emotion that may exist and the world-shattering events which may occur and yet be cloaked under an outward lack of ostentation. The poem cannot precisely be described as a poem in praise of the Blessed Virgin, since its only reference to Mary is as Some kneeling girl with passionless pale face [12]. The poem casts a light on the poet's dawning insight into the paltry rewards of superficial gloss and glitter.


     Was this His coming! I had hoped to see
     A scene of wondrous glory, as was told
     Of some great God who in a rain of gold
     Broke open bars and fell on Danae:
     Or a dread vision as when Semele
     Sickening for love and unappeased desire
     Prayed to see God's clear body, and the fire
     Caught her brown limbs and slew her utterly:
     With such glad dreams I sought this holy place,
     And now with wondering eyes and heart I stand
     Before this supreme mystery of Love:
     Some kneeling girl with passionless pale face,
     An angel with a lily in his hand,
     And over both the white wings of a Dove.

Here Wilde obliquely refers to passion for exhibitionism which has been put to the blush by the simplicity of the supreme mystery of Love [11] in which God chose unto Himself a mother for His only-begotten Son with dignity and majesty. Unlike mankind, the Almighty needed no crowds to hail or glorify this world-shattering event when:

     the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us [and we saw His
     glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father],
     full of grace and truth.
                                           [John 1:14].

As Wilde's death took place in the year 1900, at the turn of the century, his poem might have been taken as the last word on Marian poetry of the nineteenth century.
However, Rossetti's vision shows that he put a completely different interpretation on the low-key situation that forms the background to the overwhelming Annunciation event:

     The lilies stand before her like a screen
     Through which, upon this warm and solemn day,
     God surely hears.  For there she kneels to pray
     Who wafts our prayers to God - Mary the Queen.
     She was Faith's Present, parting what had been
     From what began with her, and is for aye.
     On either hand, God's twofold system lay:
     With meek bowed face a Virgin prayed between.

     So prays she, and the Dove flies in to her,
     And she has turned.  At the low porch is one
     Who looks as though deep awe made him to smile
     Heavy with heat, the plants yield shadow there;
     The loud flies cross each other in the sun;
     And the aisled pillars meet the poplar aisle.

The disparity between the two poets' versions of pictures dealing with the same event highlights the diversity of the poetic experience, which is intolerant of insincerity and allows readers an insight into the poet's mind which in conversation and social interchange he or she might deny close friends.

Wilde's worship of the pomp and circumstance of pagan times when some great God . . . in a rain of gold/Broke open bars [3-4] is countered by the simplicity displayed by Rossetti, who discerns the ultimate beauty in a lily and sees no need to gild it, since in his capacity as founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood he has a reverence for all created things, which encompass the loud flies [13] along with the heaven-inspired symmetry of the aisled pillars [14] wrought by humanity's co-operation with God-given talents.

Wilde judges the kneeling girl with . . . pale face to be passionless [12], whereas to Rossetti she is the one Who wafts our prayers to God [4], which conjures up the imagery of Mary as a thurible, whence the fragrance of incense ascends to the Lord.
However, Wilde's allusion to the white wings of a Dove [14] which hovers over the girl and the angel carries a great deal more impact than does Rossetti's Dove which flies in to her [9], wince it betrays Wilde's reaching out for understanding of the symbolism embodied in the Dove, which is more striking than Rossetti's apparent certitude in this regard.

Many more poems in honour of the Virgin Mary were published in the nineteenth century and the era therefore offers a fertile field for poetic research in the genre.

Dr Luky Whittle





     Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
     With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
     Woman! above all women glorified,
     Our tainted nature's solitary boast;
     Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
     Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
     With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
     Before her wane begins on heaven's blue coast;
     Thy Image falls to earth.  Yet some, I ween
     Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend
     As to a visible Power, in which did blend
     All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
     Of mother's love with maiden purity,
     Of high with low, celestial with terrene!
                                             [1 - 14]

The pun uncrost [1] is striking with its connotation of the shameful death the mother's Son is to undergo. Our tainted nature's solitary boast [4] is a prime example of encapsulation, demonstrating the poet's gift of pressing several truths into a handful of words without apparent effort. To strike home its message of Mary as human anchor to the Divinity, the sonnet relies heavily on the employment of contrast, such as: mixed and reconciled [12], mother's love with maiden purity [13] and high with low, celestial with terrene [14].

Dr Luky Whittle