O Madonna, pure and holy,
From sin's dark stain ever free,
Refuge of the sinner lowly,
I come - I come to thee!
Now with wreaths of sinful pleasure
Yet my tresses twined among;
From the dance's giddy measure,
From the idle jest and song.
See! I tear away the flowers
From my perfumed golden hair,
Closely tended in past hours
With such jealous, sinful care;
Never more for me they blossom,
Not for me those jewels vain:
On my arms or brow or bosom,
They shall never shine again.
Dost thou wonder at my daring
Thus to seek thy sacred shrine,
When the sinner's lot despairing,
Wretched - hopeless - should be mine?
To the instincts high of woman
Most unfaithful and untrue;
Yet Madonna, hope inspires me,
For thou wast a woman too.
Evil promptings, dark-despairing,
Whisper: "Leave this sacred spot;
Back to sinful joys, repairing,
In them live and struggle not!"
But a bright hope tells that heaven
May by me e'en yet be won,
That I yet may be forgiven,
Mary, by thy spotless Son!
Yes! I look on thy mild features,
Full of dove-like, tender love -
Once the humblest of God's creatures,
Now with Him enthroned above!
Every trait angelic breathing
Sweetest promises of peace;
And the smile thy soft lips wreathing
Tell me that my griefs shall cease.
Soft the evening shadows gather
But no longer shall I wait,
I will rise and seek the Father,
For it is not yet too late;
And when earthly cares oppress me,
When life's paths my bruised feet pain;
Hither shall I come to rest me,
And new strength and courage gain!