The Virgin

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth, Ecclesiastical Sketches (1822).
2With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
3Woman! above all women glorified,
4Our tainted nature's solitary boast;
5Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
6Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
7With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
8Before her wane begins on heaven's blue coast;
9Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
10Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
11As to a visible Power, in which did blend
12All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
13Of mother's love with maiden purity,
14Of high with low, celestial with terrene!


1] This is from a series of 132 sonnets mostly written in 1821. "It struck me that certain points in the Ecclesiastical History of our Country might advantageously be presented to view in verse. Accordingly, I took up the subject, and what I now offer to the reader was the result" (Wordsworth, with reference to the whole series). In later editions these poems were known as Ecclesiastical Sonnets. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.398.