Three Minutes with Newman
Three Minutes with Newman
Pilgrim Queen
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The Pilgrim Queen, was written in 1849 as a hymn for the Virgin Mary by Blessed John Henry Newman, after he had established the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England. Newman’s earlier poetry, before he converted to Catholicism, was written during the Oxford Movement, and is often complex and can be difficult to understand at first reading. The early poetry was written for a different purpose than his later poetry; these later poems he wrote expressly to be sung as hymns, with the intent that they be easy to understand, especially by children. These hymn poems are straightforward and exceedingly charming in their lyrical language. The Pilgrim Queen is a perfect example of Newman’s hymn poetry; the verses’ meanings need little explanation. The Pilgrim Queen can be sung to many hymn tunes since the syllable count in each line is regular. This Newman hymn is appropriate for the week in which we have just celebrated the Queenship of Mary.
In the poem, we find Mary waiting, when Jesus is discovered missing from the tomb. Notice the striking imagery used throughout. For example, Christ’s tomb is both “planted deep” and “raised high.” This tomb is called a “palace of ice” for when Christ was gone for the hours until His resurrection, much like on Good Friday when the tabernacles are empty, and His palace (either the tomb or tabernacles) is without Him, who is all Light. When summer came (that is, His resurrection) the ice “melted” away.
 
The Pilgrim Queen (A Song.)
THERE sat a Lady
             all on the ground,
Rays of the morning
             circled her round,
Save thee, and hail to thee,
             Gracious and Fair,
In the chill twilight
             what wouldst thou there?
 
“Here I sit desolate,”
             sweetly said she,
“Though I’m a queen,
             and my name is Marie:
Robbers have rifled
             my garden and store,
Foes they have stolen
             my heir from my bower.
 
“They said they could keep Him
             far better tha

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