Full of Grace

Flowers in the field and odours on the air,
The spring-time everywhere;
Music of singing birds and rippling rills,
Soft breezes from the hills;
So broke the sweetest season, long ago,
Far from this death-cold snow
In that blest land which smiles to every eye,
Most favoured from on high;
And in one town, whose sheltering mountains stand
Broad breast-plates of the land;
So fair a spring-time, sure, was never seen,
Since Eden's walks were green.

A sudden glory flashed upon the air—
A face unearthly fair;
A beauty given but to those alone
The nearest to the throne;
The great archangels who upon their hair
The seven planets wear,
Lightly as diamonds—such the form that now,
With brilliant eyes and brow,
Paused by the humble dwellings of the poor,
Entered the humblest door,
Veiling his awful beauty, far too bright,
With wide wings, strong and white.

Within the dwelling, where his flight was stayed,
A kneeling Woman prayed.
The angel bowed before that holy face,
And hailed her, ‘Full of grace.’
No other title, not the kingly name
Which David's line can claim;
Not highest rank, though unto her was given
Queenship of earth and heaven;
Not as that one who gave life to the dead,
Bruising the serpent's head;
Not even as Mother of the Sacrificed,
The World-redeeming Christ.

This thought might be a sermon while yet we,
Heirs of eternity,
Walk this brief, sin-surrounded tract of life,
Wage this short, sharpest strife,
Which must be passed and won before the rest,
The triumph of the blessed.
And when the hour supreme of fate shall come,
And at our promised home
We wait in breathless and expectant dread,
Between the quick and dead—
Then may the angel-warders of the place
Welcome us, ‘full of grace.’
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