Franz Schubert composed Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III, D839, Op 52 no 6, 1825), Ellen's third song in English, as part of his Opus 25, a setting of seven songs from Walter Scott's popular epic poem "The Lady of the Lake," and was translated into German by Adam Storck ; it opens with the greeting "Ave Maria" ("Hail Mary"), but is not a setting of the traditional Ave Maria prayer. It has become one of Schubert's most popular works under the title of Ave Maria. It is, however, often performed with the Ave Maria prayer sung in place of the original text; this is misidentified as "Schubert's Ave Maria ."   In Walt Disney 's Fantasia , the tune is used in the final segment.
Louis Macneice , born in Belfast Ireland, lived from 1907 until 1963. Therefore, he would have experienced World War I in his very early years, and World War II in his later years. This particular poem was written during the second world war. It is easy to see the author’s point of view in this poem. He writes from his own perspective, as a newborn baby. Of course, it quickly becomes clear that the baby has a knowledge of one who has already lived. Therefore, A Prayer Before Birth reads as a prayer that an old man wished he could have prayed as a newborn, before the world got a hold of him with all of the evil therein. Of course the readers, being fully aware that no such prayer can come from an infant, realize that the author himself if speaking his own thoughts through the infant child. Therefore, the author’s beliefs about evil, war, and the world are revealed.
I will tell you the story of how he received it, which is found in the very well-known book "De Dignitate Psalterii" by Blessed Alan de la Roche . Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people's sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse where he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of Almighty God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma.