Magnificat in Little

By Léonie Adams 1899–1988 Leonie Adams
I was enriched, not casting after marvels,   
But as one walking in a usual place,
Without desert but common eyes and ears,   
No recourse but to hear, power but to see,   
Got to love you of grace.

Subtle musicians, that could body wind,   
Or contrive strings to anguish, in conceit   
Random and artless strung a branch with bells,   
Fixed in one silver whim, which at a touch   
Shook and were sweet.

And you, you lovely and unpurchased note,
One run distraught, and vexing hot and cold   
To give to the heart’s poor confusion tongue,
By chance caught you, and henceforth all unlearned   
Repeats you gold.

Léonie Adams, “Magnificat in Little” from Poems: A Selection (New York: The Noonday Press, 1959). Used by permission of Judith Farr, Literary Executrix of the Estate of Léonie Adams.

Source: Poems: A Selection (1959)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Léonie Adams 1899–1988

Subjects Love, Relationships, Romantic Love


An educator, consultant, editor, and poet, Leonie Adams was best known for her lyric poetry reminiscent of both the Romantic and Metaphysical periods. Her poetry won her several awards, including the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize. She served in editorial capacities for both Wilson Publishing and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City during the 1920s and later taught . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Romantic Love

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.