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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882 / London / England)

Johannes Ronge


Silesian shepherd, blesed be
The sequel of that history
That I have read with heart elate,
Entwining it with my own fate;
So dear to me the visions seem
That thou, oh child unknown, didst dream—
In earliest days on mountain wild:—
How dreadful spirits sternly smiled,
And prophecied thy future days,
And pointed out untrodden ways,
And gave thee weapons strong & good,
As the wierd lady of the Wood
To young St. George. Must I compare
With those dove winged guardians fair
Who to the little English maid
In crowded streets brief visits paid;
For in the year that gave me birth
Didst thou appear upon this earth:
And we have wandered far & wide
Seeking for truth on every side.
Sweet dreadful spirits strengthed thee
Into a noble destiny
Sweet smiling angels sang to me
Strains full of love and mystery.
Yet know I not what I should do
In worship of the good & true.
Oh! gentle shepherd, dost thou wear
Meek flowers on thy waving hair,
And dost thou pipe a simple song,
And love thy flock the whole day long?
Or, stately shepherd, comest thou
With flaming signs around thy brow
And God's commandment in thy hand?
And dost thou read & understand?
Deliverer—for the good & true
Within one day what shall we do?
How shall we build the mystic shrine?
What symbols shall be thine & mine?
Tell, modern priest, what robes should be
Emblems of richest charty?
What consecrations may there be,
What hope, what faith, what mystery?
And wilt thou walk thy people thro',
And sprinkle us with heavenly dew?
And shall we from the sacred door
Go forth & search the parish o'er,
And mark what evil there is done,
And give some remedy, each one?
A cup of water, if no more.
As thou hast purified before,
With graceful step & action bland,
Shall we, with schemes of duty planned
By wisest hearts, walk daily thro'
With serious step devout & true.
Our spirits may in deepest rest
Sleep softly on the Savior's breast.
Permit it not, dear Lord, that we
Should ever fall from loving thee.
Countless I trust the spirits be
Who rest upon thee lovingly.
The holy Mary, beauteous light,
Who gazes on her face aright?
I think the world has yet to turn
Their looks toward her eyes, & learn.
There may they read of things unknown,
And make rare wonders all their own.
Canst thou within that house of gold,
Oh! shepherd, thy poor lambkins fold?

Submitted: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Edited: Saturday, March 10, 2012

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