Monday, February 07, 2005

Poem of the Day

Ode on a Grecian Urn

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,

Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,

Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape

Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave

Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,

For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;

And, happy melodist, unwearièd,

For ever piping songs for ever new;

For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,

For ever panting, and for ever young;

All breathing human passion far above,

That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,

A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

To what green altar, O mysterious priest,

Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,

And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?

What little town by river or sea-shore,

Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,

Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?

And, little town, thy streets for evermore

Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell

Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede

Of marble men and maidens overwrought,

With forest branches and the trodden weed;

Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!

When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

John Keats

To work for the Glory of God

"The world will be saved by beauty"

Prince Myshkin in The Idiot
by Theodore Dostoevsky

The interesting thing about this quote is that it was said by the lead character, the idiot of the title, who only appears to be an idiot to the other characters as he is such a wholly good person; the author intended him to be an allegory of Our Lord. The point I was making about the Beauty of God was that not just about the beauty of the natural world but also about the beauty which resides in first rate works of art. Simone Weil said that all first rate works of art, no matter the subject, are inspired by God, the rest are not. Many people often argue that we should not be spending money on beautifying churches but the irony is that it is often the ugliest which cost the most money. The primary roles of the Church are the salvation of souls and to give glory to God. Artists (painters, musicians etc.) can do the latter and even assist in the former through there work and really try to give us a glimpse of the beatific vision. There can be no exscuse for the neglect of our churches, where Our Lord is truly present.

With love and prayers

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rome Mosaic Posted by Hello
"The Beauty of the World is the Mouth of a Labyrinth"
Simone Weil

Posted by Hello , click for larger image

Poem of the Day

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim
Fresh firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow and plough
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise Him

Gerald Manley Hopkins

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Beauty of God

Am I the only one who has ever wondered how the Beauty of God has been neglected for so long alongside other better known attributes such as goodness and power? I'm currently writing an essay on this topic and it's really interesting. I'll post my thoughts about it as I progress.