Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

The Destined Maid: A Prayer - Poem by Richard Le Gallienne

(Chant Royal)

O MIGHTY Queen, our Lady of the fire,
The light, the music, and the honey, all
Blent in one Power, one passionate Desire
Man calleth Love-'Sweet love,' the blessed
I come a sad-eyed suppliant to thy knee,
If thou hast pity, pity grant to me;
If thou hast bounty, here a heart I bring
For all that bounty 'thirst and hungering.
O Lady, save thy grace, there is no way
For me, I know, but lonely sorrowing-
Send me a maiden meet for love, I pray!

I lay in darkness, face down in the mire,
And prayed that darkness might become my
The rabble rout roared round me like some quire
Of filthy animals primordial;
My heart seemed like a toad eternally
Prisoned in stone, ugly and sad as he;
Sweet sunlight seemed a dream, a mythic thing,
And life some beldam's dotard gossiping.
Then, Lady, I bethought me of thy sway,
And hoped again, rose up this prayer to wing-
Send me a maiden meet for love, I pray!

Lady, I bear no high resounding lyre
To hymn thy glory, and thy foes appal
With thunderous splendour of my rhythmic ire;
A little lute I lightly touch and small
My skill thereon: yet, Lady, if it be
I ever woke ear-winning melody,
'Twas for thy praise I sought the throbbing string,
Thy praise alone-for all my worshipping
Is at thy shrine, thou knowest, day by day,
Then shall it be in vain my plaint to sing?-
Send me a maiden meet for love, I pray!

Yea! why of all men should this sorrow dire
Unto thy servant bitterly befall?
For, Lady, thou dost know I ne'er did tire
Of thy sweet sacraments and ritual;
In morning meadows I have knelt to thee,
In noontide woodlands hearkened hushedly
Thy heart's warm beat in sacred slumbering,
And in the spaces of the night heard ring
Thy voice in answer to the spheral lay:
Now 'neath thy throne my suppliant life I fling-
Send me a maiden meet for love, I pray!

I ask no maid for all men to admire,
Mere body's beauty hath in me no thrall,
And noble birth, and sumptuous attire,
Are gauds I crave not-yet shall have withal,
With a sweet difference, in my heart's own She,
Whom words speak not but eyes know when they
Beauty beyond all glass's mirroring,
And dream and glory hers for garmenting;
Her birth-O Lady, wilt thou say me nay?-
Of thine own womb, of thine own nurturing-
Send me a maiden meet for love, I pray!


Sweet Queen who sittest at the heart of spring,
My life is thine, barren or blossoming;
'Tis thine to flush it gold or leave it grey:
And so unto thy garment's hem I cling-
Send me a maiden meet for love, I pray.

13, 1888.)

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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