Monday, August 12, 2013

I know what beauty is - a poem

I am back at work all too quickly. I haven't quite got my headspace sorted yet, and didn't manage a whole lot of reading, but while away we went to Berkelouw's Book Barn in Berrima, where the new open fireplace amongst the books is quite perfect, and it was my Mum who actually spied an old two-volume set of George MacDonald's poetry, dated 1911. George MacDonald and I are old friends, as some readers will know, but I had not yet seen his poetry collection, and I am so chuffed with these books. (I will take photos soon.) Here is one poem from his Organ Songs (curiously, there is another version online that I found, which is really quite different).

I KNOW WHAT BEAUTY IS
~By George MacDonald (1824–1905)

I KNOW what beauty is, for Thou
   Hast set the world within my heart;
   Of me Thou madest it a part;
I never loved it more than now.

I know the Sabbath afternoons;
   The light asleep upon the graves;
   Against the sky the poplar waves;
The river murmurs organ tunes.

I know the spring with bud and bell;
   The hush in summer woods at night;
   Autumn, when leaves let in more light;
Fantastic winter’s lovely spell.

I know the rapture music gives,
   Its mystery of ordered tones;
   Dream-muffled soul, it loves and moans,
And, half-alive, comes in and lives.

And verse I know, whose concord high
   Of thought and music lifts the soul
   Where many a glimmering starry shoal
Glides through the Godhead’s living sky.

Yea, Beauty’s regnant All I know—
   The imperial head, the thoughtful eyes;
   The God-imprisoned harmonies,
That out in gracious motions go.

But I leave all, O Son of man,
   Put off my shoes, and come to Thee,
   Most lovely Thou of all I see,
Most potent Thou of all that can!

As child forsakes his favourite toy,
   His sisters’ sport, his new-found nest;
   And, climbing to his mother’s breast,
Enjoys yet more his late-left joy—

I lose to find. On fair-browed bride
   Fair pearls their fairest light afford;
   So, gathered round Thy glory, Lord,
All glory else is glorified.

2 comments:

Margaret Meandering said...

Aaah, wonderful!

Ali said...

Ah Margaret! I only just worked out who this is. Lovely! Glad you liked it.