The English words to Ave Maria are "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” The melody, written by Franz Schubert in 1825, is most widely known when sung to the Latin words of the Catholic prayer Hail Mary (Ave Maria).
The Hail Mary is a Christian prayer asking for help from the Virgin Mary. The original song does not contain the words to the Christian prayer. The words were originally a part of a narrative poem entitled "The Lady of the Lake," about a young woman forced to hide out in a cave following struggles between several Scottish Highland clans. While in the cave she sings a song to the Virgin Mary for help and comfort. The song is called "Hymn to the Virgin" and contains the words “Ave Maria” only as reference to the prayer.
Schubert’s Ave Maria, considered a masterpiece during his lifetime, is one of only a few of his compositions that he saw published. Ave Maria has become one of the most popular songs in the world.