Bernard's prayer to the Virgin Print
By Dante Alighieri   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012

“O virgin mother, daughter of thy Son,
  Created beings all in lowliness
  Surpassing, as in height, above them all,
Term by th’ eternal counsel pre-ordain’d,
  Ennobler of thy nature, so advanc’d
  In thee, that its great Maker did not scorn,
Himself, in his own work enclos’d to dwell!
  For in thy womb rekindling shone the love
  Reveal’d, whose genial influence makes now
This flower to germin in eternal peace!
  Here thou to us, of charity and love,
  Art, as the noon-day torch: and art, beneath,
To mortal men, of hope a living spring.
  So mighty art thou, lady! and so great,
  That he who grace desireth, and comes not
To thee for aidance, fain would have desire
  Fly without wings. Nor only him who asks,
  Thy bounty succours, but doth freely oft
Forerun the asking. Whatsoe’er may be
  Of excellence in creature, pity mild,
  Relenting mercy, large munificence,
Are all combin’d in thee. Here kneeleth one,
  Who of all spirits hath review’d the state,
  From the world’s lowest gap unto this height.
Suppliant to thee he kneels, imploring grace
  For virtue, yet more high to lift his ken
  Toward the bliss supreme. And I, who ne’er
Coveted sight, more fondly, for myself,
  Than now for him, my prayers to thee prefer,
   And pray they be not scant) that thou wouldst drive
Each cloud of his mortality away;
  That on the sovran pleasure he may gaze.
  This also I entreat of thee, O queen!
Who canst do what thou wilt! that in him thou
  Wouldst after all he hath beheld, preserve
  Affection sound, and human passions quell.
Lo! Where, with Beatrice, many a saint
  Stretch their clasp’d hands, in furtherance of my suit!”


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