Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

(23 September 1861 – 25 August 1907)

Our Lady Poem by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge


MOTHER of God! no lady thou:
Common woman of common earth
Our Lady ladies call thee now,
But Christ was never of gentle birth;
A common man of the common earth.

For God’s ways are not as our ways:
The noblest lady in the land
Would have given up half her days,
Would have cut off her right hand,
To bear the child that was God of the land.

Never a lady did He choose,
Only a maid of low degree,
So humble she might not refuse
The carpenter of Galilee:
A daughter of the people, she.

Out she sang the song of her heart.
Never a lady so had sung.
She knew no letters, had no art;
To all mankind, in woman’s tongue,
Hath Israelitish Mary sung.

And still for men to come she sings,
Nor shall her singing pass away.
‘He hath fillàd the hungry with good things’—
O listen, lords and ladies gay!—
‘And the rich He hath sent empty away.’

Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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