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“O Tolle lege! take, O take and read!”

  • Posted by: Laura Bang
  • Posted Date: April 18, 2013
  • Filed Under: Collections

April is National Poetry Month in the United States and April 18 is “Poem in Your Pocket Day” so today we are highlighting two poetic items from our collections.

Our first selection comes from Cornelia Fletcher’s friendship album (previously written about here), which contains many poems inscribed in the album by friends and family of Cornelia. Most of the poems are transcriptions of poems published elsewhere, but “Cornelia” by A.B. seems to be an original poem. Here is an excerpt from the opening lines:

Handwritten lines from "Cornelia" by A.B. with a decorative illustration.

Dear girl! as young, as sweet as Spring
Who now her blushing beauties flings
To glad all earth, delight the eye,
And flush each flow’r with rainbow dye.
So may you bloom with Virtue’s gem,
How rich her splendid diadem.

 
You can read the whole poem on this page or browse through the whole album here.

Our next poetry selection comes from Eleanor C. Donnelly, a Catholic poetess in the Philadelphia area. The following is an excerpt from her poem “The Conversion of St. Augustine”:

Illustration of "The Conversion of Holy Father St. Augustine"

The hour hath come,—the hour of love, ordained
By Him who reigns and hath forever reigned.
—Above that prostrate form, in robes of snow,
With harp of gold and gladsome face aglow,
An angel spreads his shining wings, and floats
To cheer the mourner with ecstatic notes.
For lo! across the sunny air there rings
A tender voice, which “Tolle lege!” sings;
Close to his ear so musical, so mild,
Like the clearest accents of a sinless child,
(Or dulcet strains from some celestial mead:)
“Son of a sainted mother! take and read!
O Tolle lege! take, O take and read!”

Read the entire poem on this page or browse through the whole book The Conversion of Saint Augustine and Other Sacred Poems.

You can find more poems by searching our Digital Library collections. Happy Poetry Month!

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Last Modified: April 18, 2013