What greater mercy than to raise the arts
From frigid friezes fraught with scenes of war,
And frozen idols lacking human hearts,
To heights of tenderness where angels soar;
To quell the ardeur of base passion’s flame,
That poetry may burn, yet not consume,
And gentle music wild emotions tame,
To dissipate our fears and banish gloom.
Alas, thy sweetness sweetens not the song
Of self-made poets of the formal schools,
Whose scansions starve a starved already throng,
And trade art’s purpose for its ill-used tools.
Most clement Virgin, make my sonnets be
A mirror of thy mercy, and of thee!
From Sonnets for Heaven’s Queen © Joseph Charles MacKenzie. All rights reserved.