No coral beads on costly chain of gold
The Palmer's pious lips at vespers told;
No gauds of art could Pilgrim's favor win
Who only craved release from earth and sin.
He from the Holy Land his rosary brought;
From sacred olive wood each bead was wrought,
Whose grain was nurtured, ages long ago,
By blood the Saviour sweated in His woe;
Then on the Holy Sepulchre was laid
This crown of roses from His passion made;
The Sepulchre, from which the Lord of all
Arose from death's dark bed and icy thrall.
Yet not complete that wreath of joy and pain,
Which for the dead must sweet indulgence gain;
The pendent cross, on which with guileless art
Some hand had graved what touches every heart,
The image of the Lamb for sinners slain,
From Bethlehem's crib, now shrine, his prayers obtain;
And tears and kisses tell the holy tale
Of pilgrim love and penitential wail.
The love, the tears which fed his pious flame,
May well be thine, my heart, in very same;
Since bead and cross, by Palmer prized so well,
At vesper-hour these fingers softly tell,
And press, through them, each dear and sacred spot
Where God once walked, "yet men received him not."
And still, with pious Palmer gray of yore,
Thy lips can kiss the ground He wet with gore,
Still, at the Sepulchre with her delay
Who found Him risen ere the break of day;
And hover round the crib, with meek delight,
Where shepherds hasted from their flocks by night,
To there adore Him whom a Virgin blessed,
Bore in her arms and nourished at her breast.
My Rosary dear! my Bethlehem Cross so fair!
No rose, no lily can with thee compare;
No gems, no gold, no art or quaint device,
Could be my precious Rosary's priceless price;
For Heaven's eternal joys at holier speed,
I trust to win through every sacred bead;
And still for suffering souls obtain release
From cleansing fires to everlasting peace.