Madonna Mia

Under green apple-boughs

That never a storm will rouse,

My lady hath her house

Between two bowers;

In either of the twain

Red roses full of rain;

She hath for bondwomen

All kind of flowers.

She hath no handmaid fair


To draw her curled gold hair

Through rings of gold that bear

Her whole hair’s weight;

She hath no maids to stand

Gold-clothed on either hand;

In all the great green land

None is so great.

She hath no more to wear

But one white hood of vair

Drawn over eyes and hair,


Wrought with strange gold,

Made for some great queen’s head,

Some fair great queen since dead;

And one strait gown of red

Against the cold.

Beneath her eyelids deep

Love lying seems asleep,

Love, swift to wake, to weep,

To laugh, to gaze;

Her breasts are like white birds,


And all her gracious words

As water-grass to herds

In the June-days.

To her all dews that fall

And rains are musical;

Her flowers are fed from all,

Her joy from these;

In the deep-feathered firs

Their gift of joy is hers,

In the least breath that stirs


Across the trees.

She grows with greenest leaves,

Ripens with reddest sheaves,

Forgets, remembers, grieves,

And is not sad;

The quiet lands and skies

Leave light upon her eyes;

None knows her, weak or wise,

Or tired or glad.

None knows, none understands,


What flowers are like her hands;

Though you should search all lands

Wherein time grows,

What snows are like her feet,

Though his eyes burn with heat

Through gazing on my sweet,

Yet no man knows.

Only this thing is said;

That white and gold and red,

God’s three chief words, man’s bread


And oil and wine,

Were given her for dowers,

And kingdom of all hours,

And grace of goodly flowers

And various vine.

This is my lady’s praise:

God after many days

Wrought her in unknown ways,

In sunset lands;

This was my lady’s birth;


God gave her might and mirth

And laid his whole sweet earth

Between her hands.

Under deep apple-boughs

My lady hath her house;

She wears upon her brows

The flower thereof;

All saying but what God saith

To her is as vain breath;

She is more strong than death,


Being strong as love.