Ave Maria, blessed Maid. J. Keble. [Blessed Virgin Mary.] From his Poem for "The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary," stanzas 7-10. The original poem was written on the death of his mother, June 1, 1823. This fact supplies the key to the line of thought in the opening stanza:—
"Oh! Thou Who deign'st to sympathize
With all our frail and fleshly ties,
Maker, yet Brother dear.
Forgive the too presumptuous thought,
If, calming wayward grief, I sought
To gaze on Thee too near."
The poem as originally written was too personal for publication in the Christian Year, and, in 1826 (dated Mar. 9, 1826), the four concluding stanzas were omitted, and those beginning in that work, "Ave Maria, blessed Maid," to the end, were substituted, and the poem in this its new form was first published therein in 1827. The original was included with a special note in his Miscellaneous Poems, 1869, pp. 230-33, and the cento, as a hymn, in the Appendix to the Hymnal Noted, 2nd ed., 1864, the People's Hymnal, 1867, No. 192, and others.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)