There in the shrine at Lourdes 
Embellished with old crutches, splints, and canes 
(Freely abandoned by the cured, 
The scoured of sins, the shorn and healed of pains)

It is said the Madonna once 
Cloaked in compassionate blue and full of grace, 
Showed up from nowhere there in France, 
Conferring a special virtue on that place;

And that at scattered sites
Throughout the world (though only, be it said, 
Where the faithful worshiped and their rites 
All were observed) appearances were made.

Yet Alphonse Ratisbonne, 
Alsatian, Jewish, yearning to dodge the heat 
Of a pitiless Roman summer sun, 
Stepped into S. Andrea’s cool retreat

Where all his banker’s wiles 
Deserted him as the Virgin made her pitch; 
And in a swoon he bequeathed piles 
Of bullion, portfolios, bright baubles of the rich