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Ecce Ancilla Domini [Behold the blesséd Mary] more
This is that blessed Mary, pre-elect
God’s Virgin. Gone is a great while, and she
Dwelt young in Nazareth of Galilee,
Unto God’s will she brought devout respect,
Profound simplicity of intellect,
And supreme patience. From her mother’s knee
Faithful and hopeful; wise in charity;
Strong in grave peace; in pity circumspect.
So held she through her girlhood; as it were
An angel-watered lily, that near God
Grows and is quiet. Till, one dawn at home
She woke in her white bed, and had no fear
At all,—yet wept till sunshine, and felt awed;
Because the fulness of the time was come.
It is another incongruity of the versatile genis of Rossetti, that one of his most successful pictures should bealmost colourless in comparison with the rest. His Annunciation or Ecce Ancilla Domini as he named it, is a study of purity almost unique in its dignity and restraing. “The white daub” was his own name for this masterpiece, which for very very many years found no purchaser, and drew down such “a nice derangement of epitaphs” from this principal art critics as might have fatally discouraged a less indomitable man at the very outset of his career.