Our Lady and Child by Sir Ninian Comper (1864-1960), Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk, September 2013
1. Ave Maria! blessed Maid! Lily of Eden’s fragrant shade! Who can express the love That nurtured thee, so pure and sweet, Making thy heart a shelter meet For Jesus’ holy Dove!
2. Ave Maria! Mother blest, To whom, caressing and caress’d, Clings the eternal Child; Favour’d beyond Archangels’ dream, When first on thee with tenderest gleam The new-born Saviour smiled.
3. Thou wept’st, meek Maiden, Mother mild, Thou wept’st upon thy sinless Child, Thy very heart was riven: And yet, what mourning matron here Would deem thy sorrows bought too dear By all on this side heaven?
4. A Son that never did amiss, That never shamed his Mother’s kiss, Nor cross’d her fondest prayer: E’en from the Tree he deign’d to bow For her his agonised brow, Her, his sole earthly care.
5. Ave Maria! thou whose name All but adoring love may claim, Yet may we reach thy shrine; For he, thy Son and Saviour, vows To crown all lowly lofty brows With love and joy like thine.
John Keble, 1792-1866 written as part of his poem ‘The Annunciation of the B.V.M.’ on the death of his mother, 1823 English Hymnal no. 216