Friday, 20 May 2011

Two poems, did one inspire the other?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen made the poem 'Lovely Lady dressed in blue'  popular and well loved at the height of his television fame in the 1950s.
It was written by an American, Mary Dixon Thayer, born in 1896.

Some may find it a shade over sentimental and some may find it uncannily similar to a poem written by Francis Thompson.

Here is the Mary Dixon Thayer poem, 'Lovely Lady dressed in blue'



Lovely Lady dressed in blue ----
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
Tell me what to say!
Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?
Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?
Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things-
Little things that happen? And
Do the Angels' wings
Make a noise? And can He hear
Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me ---- for you know?
Lovely Lady dressed in blue ----
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
And you know the way.

And now for Little Jesus by Francis Thompson (1859-1907)


Little Jesus, was Thou shy
Once, and just so small as I?
And what did it feel like to be
Out of Heaven, and just like me?
Didst Thou sometimes think of there,
And ask where all the angels were?

I should think that I would cry
For my house all made of sky;
I would look about the air,
And wonder where my angels were;
And at waking twould distress me
Not an angel there to dress me!
Hadst Thou ever any toys,
Like us little girls and boys?
And didst Thou play in Heaven with all
The angels that were not too tall,
With stars for marbles? Did the things
Play Can you see me? through their wings?
And did Thy Mother let Thee spoil
Thy robes, with playing on our soil?
How nice to have them always new In Heaven, because twas quite clean blue!

Didst Thou kneel at night to pray,
And didst Thou join Thy hands, this way?
And did they tire sometimes, being young,
And make the prayer seem very long?
And dost Thou like it best, that we
Should join our hands to pray to Thee?
I used to think, before I knew,
The prayer not said unless we do.
And did Thy Mother at the night
Kiss Thee, and fold the clothes in right?
And didst Thou feel quite good in bed,
Kissed, and sweet, and Thy prayers said?

Thou canst not have forgotten all
That it feels like to be small:
And Thou knowst I cannot pray
To Thee in my fathers way
When Thou was so little, say,
Couldst Thou talk Thy Fathers way?
So, a little Child, come down
And hear a childs tongue like Thy own;
Take me by the hand and walk,
And listen to my baby-talk.
To Thy Father show my prayer
(He will look, Thou art so fair),
And say: O Father, I, Thy Son,
Bring the prayer of a little one.

And He will smile, that childrens tongue
Has not changed since Thou wast young!

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