Sweet, blessed beads! I would not part
With one of you for richest gem
That gleams in kingly diadem;
Ye know the history of my heart.
For I have told you every grief
In all the days of twenty years,
And I have moistened you with tears,
And in your decades found relief.
Ah! time has fled, and friends have failed
And joys have died; but in my needs
Ye were my friends, my blessed beads!
And ye consoled me when I wailed.
For many and many a time, in grief,
My weary fingers wandered round
Thy circled chain, and always found
In some Hail Mary sweet relief.
How many a story you might tell
Of inner life, to all unknown;
I trusted you and you alone,
But ah! ye keep my secrets well.
Ye are the only chain I wear --
A sign that I am but the slave,
In life, in death, beyond the grave,
Of Jesus and His Mother fair.