On a Picture (Murillo’s “Immaculate Conception”)

On a Picture (Murillo’s “Immaculate Conception”)

On Murillo’s reverent and spiritual interpretation of S. Luke i. 33.

“and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”

On a Picture

(The Saviour of the World, Vol I Book I Poem VII)

The Immaculate Conception, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Child of Art, Spirit-born,

Our thanks we give

For the still holiness,
The fair child innocence,

For the worship embodied

In thee that live!

Well was’t to make thee rise,

Thou woman pure!

Held by slight chain of sin,
Few earth-tied hopes within,

Drawn to Centre above thee,

Thy course were sure!

Knowest how high thou art,

God-seeking soul,

Above all earth’s clamour,
Above the moon’s glamour,

Above the thick clouds which still

Over us roll?

Nay, thy simplicity

Knows not its state!

Into thy joy’s pure deep
Thought of self might not creep,

And leave thee unconscious still,

Childlike and great.

In air we breathe not yet

Thy soul doth soar;

We climb the heights of prayer
Only by efforts rare:—

But, higher thy dwelling-place,

Thou dost adore!

The Power of the Highest

’Tis thine to know:

In fearing the Mystery,
Adoring the Majesty,

And loving that Love supreme

All thy powers flow.

What meed to the seer

Who for men brought,

From the innermost shrine,
’Neath the Shadow divine,

That face, in its purity

Hushing our thought?

3 Replies to “On a Picture (Murillo’s “Immaculate Conception”)”

  1. I’m preparing to teach Bible Lessons in our community group using The Saviour of the World starting with Volume 1. How were the pictures used in the classroom? Would a picture study be done after the Bible reading? The poetry reading? Would they look at the image as the poem is being read? Thank you.

    1. Sally,

      I believe that the pictures in The Saviour of the World are meant to be used the way other pictures would be used in a Bible lesson. I discuss this in Question 13 (Q13) of my Bible Lessons FAQ article. I don’t think the intention is for a full picture study to take place. I also don’t think the picture should be displayed while a text is being read. Since pictures are usually shown in the Discussion step of the lesson, I generally show the picture after the narration of the Bible reading but before the reading of the poem. I give my student a few moments to observe and contemplate the picture, and then we continue with the lesson. I hope this helps!


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