The Black Virgin Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


One in thy thousand statues we salute theeA
On all thy thousand thrones acclaim and claimB
Who walk in forest of thy forms and facesC
Walk in a forest calling on one nameB
And most of all how this thing may be soD
Who know thee not are mystified to knowD
That one cries Here she stands and one cries YonderE
And thou wert home in heaven long agoD
Burn deep in Bethlehem in the golden shadowsF
Ride above Rome upon the horns of stoneG
From low Lancastrian or South Saxon sheltersH
Watch through dark years the dower that was shine ownG
Ghost of our land White Lady of WalsinghameB
Shall they not live that call upon thy nameB
If an old song on a wild wind be blowingI
Crying of the holy country whence they cameB
Root deep in Chartres the roses blown of glassJ
Burning above thee in the high vitraillesJ
On Cornish crags take for salute of swordsJ
O'er peacock seas the far salute of sailsJ
Glooming in bronze or gay in painted woodK
A great doll given when the child is goodK
Save that She gave the Child who gave the dollL
In whom all dolls are dreams of motherhoodK
I have found thee like a little shepherdessJ
Gay with green ribbons and passed on to findM
Michael called Angel hew the Mother of GodN
Like one who fills a mountain with a mindM
Molten in silver or gold or garbed in blueO
Or garbed in red where the inner robe burns throughO
Of the King's daughter glorious withinP
Change shine unchanging light with every hueO
Clothed with the sun or standing on the moonQ
Crowned with the stars or single a morning starR
Sunlight and moonlight are thy luminous shadowsJ
Starlight and twilight thy refractions areR
Lights and half lights and all lights turn about theeA
But though we dazed can neither see nor doubt theeA
Something remains Nor can man live without itS
Nor can man find it bearable without theeA
There runs a dark thread through the tapestriesJ
That time has woven with all the tints of timeB
Something not evil but grotesque and gropingI
Something not clear not final not sublimeB
Quaint as dim pattern of primal plant or treeA
Or fish the legless elfins of the seaA
Yet rare as this shine image in ebonyA
Being most strange in its simplicityA
Rare as the rushing of the wild black swansJ
The Romans saw or rocks remote and grimB
Where through black clouds the black sheep runs accursedA
And through black clouds the Shepherd follows himB
By the black oak of the aeon buried groveT
By the black gems of the miner's treasure troveT
Monsters and freaks and fallen stars and sunkenU
Most holy dark cover our uncouth loveV
From shine high rock look down on AfricaW
The living darkness of devouring greenX
The loathsome smell of life unquenchableO
Look on low brows and blinking eyes betweenX
On the dark heart where white folk find no placeJ
On the dark bodies of an antic raceJ
On all that fear thy light and love thy shadowA
Turn thou the mercy of thy midnight faceJ
This also is in thy spectrum this dark rayY
Beyond the deepening purples of thy LentA
Darker than violet vestment dark and secretA
Clot of old night yet cloud of heaven sentA
As the black moon of some divine eclipseJ
As the black sun of the ApocalypseJ
As the black flower that blessed Odysseus backZ
From witchcraft and he saw again the shipsJ
In all thy thousand images we salute theeA
Claim and acclaim on all thy thousand thronesJ
Hewn out of multi colored rocks and risenU
Stained with the stored up sunsets in all tonesJ
If in all tones and shades this shade I feelO
Come from the black cathedrals of CastilleO
Climbing these flat black stones of CataloniaW
To thy most merciful face of night I kneelO

Gilbert Keith Chesterton


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