‘Tis midnight, and solemn darkness broods
In a lonely, sacred fane–
The church of Our Lady of Montserrat,
So famous throughout all Spain;
For countless were the pilgrim hosts
Who knelt at that sacred shrine
With aching hearts, that came to seek
Relief and grace divine.
Pure as the light of the evening star
Shines the lamp’s pale, solemn ray,
That burns through midnight’s hush and gloom,
As well as the glare of day,
Like the Christian soul, enwrapped in God,
Resigning each vain delight,
Each earthly lure, to burn and shine
With pure love in His sight.
Softly the gentle radiance falls
On a mail-clad warrior there,
Who humbly bows his stately head
In silent, earnest prayer;
It flashes back from his corslet bright,
From each shining steel clad hand,
And the brow which tells that he was born
To pomp and high command.
Say, who is he, that vigil keeps,
Like the warrior knights of old,
Through the long lone hours of the silent night,
Ere they donned their spurs of gold?
A soldier brave and proud is he,
And bears a noble name,
Since Pampeluna’s glorious day
Won Loyola his fame.
What doth he at this lowly shrine?
What mean those prayers and sighs,
The tearful mist that dims the light
Of his flashing, eagle eyes?
They tell of life’s vain pomps and pride
Esteemed as worthless dross,
For the dauntless soldier has become
The soldier of the Cross.
That sword, that once like lightning swept
Through ranks of foes hard pressed,
Now hangs beside Our Lady’s shrine,
Henceforth in peace to rest,–
And soon the penitent’s rough, dark robe,
His girdle and cowl of gloom,
Will replace the soldier’s armor bright,
And his lofty, waving plume.
Well done, well done, thou warrior brave!
A noble choice is thine!
What are the laurels of earth beside
The joys of bliss divine?
And thou hast won, though seeking not,
The saint’s undying fame–
Christ’s Holy Church will evermore
Revere and bless thy name!