May 31, 2014

Poem: Antiphon

Let All the World in Ev'ry Corner Sing, My God and King!

Antiphon is a poem by George Herbert (1593–1633). It was published posthumously in 1633 as part of the collection, The Temple. In 1911, the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) published Five Mystical Songs, a setting of five of Herbert's poems from The Temple. Williams' Antiphon (featured in the following video), along with three other poems from Five Mystical SongsThe CallEaster, and Love are included in the Religious Poems Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).

From Five Mystical Songs - "Antiphon" begins at 7:40

ANTIPHON I by George Herbert, 1633 (Public Domain)

Chorus: Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
                         My God and King.

Verse: The heav’ns are not too high,
           His praise may thither flie:
           The earth is not too low,
           His praises there may grow.

Chorus: Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
                        My God and King.

Verse: The church with psalms must shout,
           No doore can keep them out:
           But above all, the heart
           Must bear the longest part.

Chorus: Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
                         My God and King.

May 29, 2014

Poem: The Dial

Sun Dial, 1871 / St. Vigeans Church, Scotland - Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Dial is by the Anglican Bishop, Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626). He headed the committee of scholars that translated Genesis to 2nd Kings in the King James Version of the Bible. The Dial was part of a manuscript of his own personal devotions for daily prayer that was published posthumously in 1675 as Preces Privatae (Private Devotions). It is included in the Poems for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).

THE DIAL by Lancelot Andrewes, 1675 (Public Domain)

Thou who hast put the times and seasons in thine own power: grant that we make our prayer unto Thee in a time convenient and when Thou mayest be found, and save us.

Thou who for us men and for our salvation wast born at dead of night: give us daily to be born again by renewing of the Holy Ghost, Till Christ be formed in us unto a perfect man, and save us.

Thou who very early in the morning while the sun was yet arising didst rise from the dead: raise us up daily unto newness of life, suggesting to us ways of repentance which Thyself knowest, and save us.

Thou who at the third hour didst send down thy Holy Ghost on the apostles: take not away the same Spirit from us, but renew Him daily within us, and save us.

Thou who at the sixth hour and on the sixth day didst nail the sins of the world with Thyself on the cross: blot out the handwriting of our sins which is against us and taking it out of the way, save us.

Thou who at the sixth hour didst let down a great sheet from heaven to earth, a figure of thy Church: receive us up into it, sinners of the gentiles, and with it receive us up together into heaven, and save us.

Thou who at the seventh hour didst will that the fever should leave the noblemans son: if aught abide of fever or of sickness in our soul, take it away from us also, and save us.

Thou who at the ninth hour for us sinners and for our sins didst taste of death: mortify in us our earthly members and whatsoever is contrary to thy will, and save us.

Thou who hast willed the ninth hour to be an hour of prayer: hear us while we pray in the hour of prayer and make us to obtain our prayer and our desires, and save us.

Thou who at the tenth hour didst will thine apostle, whenas he found thy Son, to declare with great joy WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH: make us also in like sort to find the Messiah and when He is found in like sort to rejoice, and save us.

Thou who at eventide didst will to be taken down from the cross and buried in the tomb: take away our sins from us and bury them in thy sepulchre, covering with good works whatsoever we have committed ill, and save us.

Thou who didst vouchsafe even at the eleventh hour of the day to send men into thy vineyard and to fix a wage, notwithstanding they had stood all the day idle: do unto us like favour and, though it be late, as it were about the eleventh hour, accept us graciously when we return to Thee, and save us.

Thou who at the hour of supper didst will to institute the most sacred mysteries of thy body and blood: make us mindful of the same and partakers thereof, and that, never unto judgement but unto remission of sin and unto acquiring of the bequests of the new testament, and save us.

Thou who late in the night didst by thy breathing confer on thine apostles the authority as well to forgive as to  retain sins: make us partakers of that authority, yet that it be unto remission, not unto retention, o Lord,
and save us.

Thou who at midnight didst awaken David thy prophet and Paul the apostle to praise Thee: give us also songs by night and to remember Thee upon our beds, and save us.

Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight the Bridegroom shall come: grant that the cry THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet Him, and save us.

Thou who by the crowing of a cock didst admonish thine apostle and make him to return to penitence: grant us also at the same admonition to do the same, to wit to go forth and weep bitterly the things wherein we have sinned against Thee, and save us.

Thou who hast foretold that Thou wilt come to judgement  in a day when we look not for Thee and at an hour when we are not aware: make us prepared every day and every hour to be ready for thine advent, and save us.

May 26, 2014

Poem: Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness

I Joy, That In These Straits, I See My West

Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness is by the English poet, lawyer, and cleric in the Church of England, John Donne (1572-1631). Scholars believe it was certainly written at a time when he felt that death was imminent, but are divided as to whether it was composed in 1630/31 or during some earlier period of illness. It is included in the Poems for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).

Reading (with scriptural references)

HYMN TO GOD MY GOD, IN MY SICKNESS by John Donne (Public Domain)

Since I am coming to that holy room,
     Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made thy music; as I come
     I tune the instrument here at the door,
     And what I must do then, think here before. 

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
     Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
     That this is my south-west discovery,
     Per fretum febris, by these straits to die,

I joy, that in these straits I see my west;
     For, though their currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me? As west and east
     In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,
     So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
     The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,
     All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,
     Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.

We think that Paradise and Calvary,
     Christ's cross, and Adam's tree, stood in one place;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me;
     As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
     May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

So, in his purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord;
     By these his thorns, give me his other crown;
And as to others' souls I preach'd thy word,
     Be this my text, my sermon to mine own:
"Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down."

May 25, 2014

Poem: Good Lord, Deliver Us!

Good Lord, Deliver Us! is by the English poet, lawyer, and cleric in the Church of England, John Donne (1572-1631). It is included in the Poems for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974). It is made up of stanzas: 15-17, and 21 of Donne's 28 stanza poem A Litany, likely written in 1609, during a period of convalescence from a severe illness.

GOOD LORD, DELIVER US! (from 'A Litany') by John Donne, 1609 (Public Domain)

     From being anxious, or secure,
Dead clods of sadness, or light squibs of mirth,
     From thinking that great courts immure
All, or no happiness, or that this earth
          Is only for our prison framed,
          Or that Thou'rt covetous
To them whom Thou lovest, or that they are maim'd
From reaching this world's sweet who seek Thee thus,
With all their might, good Lord, deliver us.

     From needing danger, to be good, From owing
Thee yesterday's tears to-day,
     From trusting so much to Thy blood
That in that hope we wound our soul away,
          From bribing Thee with alms, to excuse
          Some sin more burdens,
From light affecting, in religion, news,
From thinking us all soul, neglecting thus
Our mutual duties, Lord, deliver us.

     From tempting Satan to tempt us,
By our connivance, or slack company,
     From measuring ill by vicious
Neglecting to choke sin's spawn, vanity,
          From indiscreet humility,
          Which might be scandalous
And cast reproach on Christianity,
From being spies, or to spies pervious,
From thirst or scorn of fame, deliver us.

     When senses, which Thy soldiers are,
We arm against Thee, and they fight for sin;
     When want, sent but to tame, doth war,
And work despair a breach to enter in;
          When plenty, God's image, and seal,      
          Makes us idolatrous,
And love it, not him, whom it should reveal;
When we are moved to seem religious
Only to vent wit ; Lord, deliver us.

May 24, 2014

Poem: 'O Come Quickly!' (Never Weather-Beaten Sail)

'O Come Quickly!' (Never Weather-Beaten Sail) is by the English composer, poet, and physician: Thomas Campion (1567-1620). Writer of both the words and music, Campion published the song in his Two Bookes of Ayres (1613?). It is included in the Poems for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).

Performed by Stile Antico

NEVER WEATHER-BEATEN SAIL by Thomas Campion, 1613 (Public Domain)

Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore.
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest.
Ever blooming are the joys of Heaven's high Paradise.
Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes:
Glory there the sun outshines whose beams the blessed only see:
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to thee!

May 23, 2014

Poem: True Love (My True-Love Hath My Heart)

There Never Was A Better Bargain Driven 

True Love (My True-Love Hath My Heart) is by the English poet, soldier, and courtier to Elizabeth I: Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586). Also known as The Bargain, his final revision of the sonnet was published in 1593 in The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia. It is included in the Poems for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974).


MY TRUE-LOVE HATH MY HEART by Philip Sidney, 1593 (Public Domain)

My true-love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a bargain better driven.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart for once it was his own;
I cherish his because in me it bides.
His heart his wound receivèd from my sight;
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still methought in me his hurt did smart:
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

Choral setting by Ian Assersohn, performed by the Dorking Camerata

May 19, 2014

Poem: O Deus Ego Amo Te (O God, I Love Thee)

Painting by Paul Rubens - Courtesy of Wikipedia

O Deus Ego Amo Te (O God, I Love Thee) is a translation by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-1889) of O Deus Ego Amo Te, attributed to the early Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552). It was probably written sometime in the 1540's during his time in India and was likely composed as a sonnet in Spanish or Portuguese, then later translated into Latin, either by Xavier himself and/or by others, for there are several Latin versions. O Deus Ego Amo Te (O God, I Love Thee) is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).

O DEUS EGO AMO TE by Gerard Manley Hopkins (Public Domain)

O God, I love thee, I love thee-
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
     In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
     Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
     Sorrows passing number,
     Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
     And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake; not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.

Original Latin hymn sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles

O DEUS, EGO AMO TE - Anonymous 18th Century Hymn

O Deus, ego amo te,
Nec amo te ut salves me,
Nec quod qui te non diligent,
Æterno igne pereunt.

Ex cruces lingo germinat,
Qui pectus amor occupant,
Ex pansis unde brachiis,
Ad te amandum arripes. Amen.

O DEUS, EGO AMO TE by St. Francis Xavier

O Deus, ego amo te,
Nec amo te, ut salves me,
Aut, quia non amantes te
Æterno punis igne.

Tu, tu, mi Jesu, totum me
Amplexus es in cruce;
Tuliste clavos, lanceam,
Multamque ignominiam,

Innumeros dolores,
Sudores, et angores,
Et mortem, et hæc propter me,
Ac pro me peccatore.

Cur igitur non amem te,
O Jesu amantissime,
Non, ut in cœlo salves me,
Aut ne æternum damnes me,

Nec præmii ullius spe;
Sed sicut tu amasti me?
Sic amo et amabo te,
Solum quia Rex meus es,
Et solum, quia Deus es.

May 18, 2014

Poem: If, Lord, Thy Love for Me is Strong

Stained Glass, Ballinasloe Co. Ire. - Courtesy of Wikipedia

If, Lord, Thy Love for Me is Strong is a translation by Arthur Symons (1865–1945) of a poem by St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). It is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).


May 17, 2014

Poem: The Hound of Heaven

The Hound of Heaven is by the Catholic poet, Francis Thompson (1859-1907). After attending college, he moved to London with hopes of becoming a writer. Instead, he ended up destitute and addicted to opium. Nevertheless, he still continued to write: sometimes selling poems written out on scraps of paper to passers-by, or submitting them to publications. One submission caught the attention of editor of publisher and editor, Wilfrid Meynell (1852-1948). He and his wife, the writer and poet Alice Meynell (1847-1922) arranged for his care at the Our Lady of England Priory, where he overcame his addiction, and in 1893 oversaw the publication of his first collection of poems, which included The Hound of Heaven. Unfortunately, his years of homelessness and addiction had left him with chronic health problems and emotional instability, at one point attempting suicide. He died from tuberculosis in 1907 at St John's Hospice, London. -  The Hound of Heaven is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).

Read by Richard Burton

THE HOUND OF HEAVEN Francis Thompson, 1893 (Public Domain)

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
     I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
     Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
          Up vistaed hopes I sped;
          And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
     From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
          But with unhurrying chase,
          And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
          They beat—and a Voice beat
          More instant than the Feet—
'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me'.

          I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
     Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
          Yet was I sore a dread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
     The gust of His approach would clash it to:
     Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
     And troubled the gold gateway of the stars,
     Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars;
          Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;
     With thy young skiey blossom heap me over
          From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
     I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
     Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
     Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
          But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
     The long savannahs of the blue;
          Or, whether, Thunder-driven,
          They clanged his chariot 'thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet:—
     Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
          Still with unhurrying chase,
          And unperturbed pace,
     Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
          Came on the following Feet,
          And a Voice above their beat—
'Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.'

I sought no more after that which I strayed
          In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children's eyes
          Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
          With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature's—share
With me’ (said I) 'your delicate fellowship;
          Let me greet you lip to lip,
          Let me twine with you caresses,
          With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses,
          With her in her wind-walled palace,
          Underneath her azured dais,
          Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
               From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
               So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.
          I knew all the swift importings
          On the wilful face of skies;
          I knew how the clouds arise
          Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
               All that's born or dies
          Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful divine;
          With them joyed and was bereaven.
          I was heavy with the even,
          When she lit her glimmering tapers
          Round the day's dead sanctities.
          I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
          Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine:
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
          I laid my own to beat, And share commingling heat;
          But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
          These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
          Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
          The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
          My thirsting mouth.
          Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
          With unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
          And past those noisèd Feet
          A voice comes yet more fleet—
     'Lo! naught contents thee, who content'st not Me.'

Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou has hewn from me,
          And smitten me to my knee;
     I am defenceless utterly.
     I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
          I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amidst the dust o' the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
          Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
          Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amarinthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
          Ah! must—
     Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
          From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
          Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
          But not ere him who summoneth
          I first have seen, unwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man's heart or life it be which yields
          Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
          Be dunged with rotten death?

               Now of that long pursuit
               Comes on at hand the bruit;
          That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
          'And is thy earth so marred,
          Shattered in shard on shard?
          Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

          'Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught' (He said),
'And human love needs human meriting:
          How hast thou merited—
Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot?
          Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
          Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
          Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
          All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
          Rise, clasp My hand, and come!'

     Halts by me that footfall:
     Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
     'Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
     I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.'

A modern re-telling, produced by Emblem Media

May 15, 2014

Poem: The Pulley

The Pulley is by the poet, orator, and Anglican priest, George Herbert (1593–1633). It was published posthumously in the collection: The Temple (1633). It is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).

THE PULLEY by George Herbert, 1633 (Public Domain)

     When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
     Contract into a span.”

     So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
     Rest in the bottom lay.

      “For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
     So both should losers be.

     “Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
     May toss him to my breast.”

May 12, 2014

Poem: Lines Written in Her Breviary

Painting by Josefa de Obidos - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Lines Written in Her Breviary is a translation by Arthur Symons (1865–1945) of a poem by St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). It is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).  The more well known translation: Santa Teresa's Book-Mark (Let Nothing Disturb Thee) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) is featured in the following video and text.

Musical setting by David Diamond (1915 - 2005)

SANTA TERESA'S BOOK-MARK translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (Public Domain)

Letrilla que llevaba por Registro en su Breviario (Santa Teresa de Avila)

Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee;
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth.

Poem: I See His Blood Upon the Rose

I See His Face In Every Flower

I See His Blood Upon the Rose is a poem by the Irish nationalist, poet and journalist, Joseph M. Plunkett (1887-1916). He was executed for his involvement in the Easter Rising of 1916. I See His Blood Upon the Rose was published posthumously in The Poems of Joseph Mary Plunkett (1916). It is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).

Choral setting by Michael Bedford

I SEE HIS BLOOD UPON THE ROSE by Joseph M. Plunkett (Public Domain)

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice -- and carven by His power
Rocks are His written words.

All pathways by His feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.


May 11, 2014

Poem: Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord

Oh Thou Lord of Life, Send My Roots Rain

Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord is a sonnet by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844–1889). It draws upon the prophet Jeremiah's petition of complaint to God found in Jeremiah 12:1-4Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord was first published in the posthumous collection: Poems (1918). It is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).


THOU ART INDEED JUST, LORD by Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918 (Public Domain)

Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum: verumtamen justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? etc. (Jeremiah 12:1)

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?

     Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build—but not I build; no, but strain,
Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

Poem: My Own Heart Let Me More Have Pity On

Let Me Live To My Sad Self Hereafter Kind

My Own Heart Let Me More Have Pity On is a sonnet by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844–1889). Composed sometime during the last five years of his life; it was an especially difficult period for him in which he struggled with his new work assignment, failing health, and bouts of depression. My Own Heart Let Me More Have Pity On was first published in the posthumous collection: Poems (1918). It is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).

MY OWN HEART LET ME HAVE MORE PITY ON by Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918 (Public Domain)

My own heart let me have more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
     I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst ’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
’s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.

May 10, 2014

Poem: God's Grandeur

The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God

God's Grandeur is a sonnet by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844–1889). A convert, in 1866 he was received into the Catholic Church by Cardinal John Henry Newman and eventually became a Jesuit priest. God's Grandeur was first published in the posthumous collection: Poems (1918). It is probably his most well known poem and is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).

Reading and commentary by Stanley Kunitz, Reading begins at 2:00 min.

GOD'S GRANDEUR by Gerard Manley Hopkins (Public Domain)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
     It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
     It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
     And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
     And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
     There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
     Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
     World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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May 7, 2014

Poem: Canticle of Brother Sun

Beautiful And Radiant In All His Splendour 

Canticle of Brother Sun is a translation of the Umbrian (extinct Italic language) poem by St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). Written in stages during the final year of his life, and nearly blind he wrote: "For his praise, I wish to compose a new hymn about the Lord's creatures, of which we make daily use, without which we cannot live." Also known as the Canticle of the Creatures, it is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975). The popular hymn: All Creatures of Our God and King is based upon Canticle of Brother Sun.


CANTICLE OF BROTHER SUN by St. Francis of Assisi

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.

May 4, 2014

Poem: The Beauty of Creation Bears Witness to God

Question the Order of the Stars

The Beauty of Creation Bears Witness to God is an anonymous translation of a Latin poem by St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430).  It is included in the Poetry Appendix of the Liturgy of the Hours (1975).

Read by David Rollins


Question the beauty of the earth,
the beauty of the sea,
the beauty of the wide air around you,
the beauty of the sky;
question the order of the stars,
the sun whose brightness lights the days,
the moon whose splendor softens the gloom of night;
question the living creatures that move in the waters,
that roam upon the earth,
that fly through the air;
the spirit that lies hidden,
the matter that is manifest;
the visible things that are ruled,
the invisible things that rule them;
question all these.

They will answer you: "Behold and see, we are beautiful."
Their beauty is their confession to God.
Who made these beautiful changing things,
if not one who is beautiful and changeth not?

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May 3, 2014

Poem: Discipline

My Heart's Desire Unto Thee Is Bent

Discipline is a poem by the Welsh-born English poet, orator, and Anglican priest: George Herbert (1593–1633).  It is included in the Religious Poetry Appendix for Lent and Easter of the Divine Office (1974).

DISCIPLINE by George Herbert (Public Domain)

Throw away thy rod,
Throw away thy wrath:
O my God,
Take the gentle path.

For my hearts desire
Unto thine is bent:
I aspire
To a full consent.

Not a word or look
I affect to own,
But by book,
And thy book alone.

Though I fail, I weep:
Though I halt in pace,
Yet I creep
To the throne of grace.

Then let wrath remove;
Love will do the deed:
For with love
Stony hearts will bleed.

Love is swift of foot;
Love’s a man of war,
And can shoot,
And can hit from farre.

Who can scape his bow?
That which wrought on thee,
Brought thee low,
Needs must work on me.

Throw away thy rod;
Though man frailties hath,
Thou art God:
Throw away thy wrath.

Poem: The Killing

Altarpiece by Ernst Hildebrand - Courtesy Wikipedia

The Killing is by the Scottish poet, novelist, and translator: Edwin Muir (1887–1959). It was published in 1956, along with One Foot in Eden in his final collection of poetry. The Killing is included in the Religious Poetry Appendix for Lent and Easter of the Divine Office (1974).

Poem: One Foot in Eden

From These Beclouded Skies

One Foot in Eden is by the Scottish poet, novelist, and translator: Edwin Muir (1887–1959). Published in 1956, the poem delves into the predominant theme that carries through much of his work: Man's expulsion from Eden. He saw it as a kind of archetypal journey (in the Jungian sense) that is repeated again and again in each of our lives. To express this, he often drew upon his own family's move in 1901 from the agrarian and idyllic world of his childhood home on the Orkney Islands to the the gritty industrial city of Glasgow where his mother, father, and two brothers all died within 5 years of arriving. One Foot in Eden is included in the Religious Poetry Appendix for Lent and Easter of the Divine Office (1974).

Reading by Fr. John J. O'Riordain, CSsR from Mt. St. Alphonsus, Limerick

By Nicholas Maw (1935-2009), Performed by the Helsinki Chamber Choir

May 1, 2014

Poem: O Perpetual Revolution of Configured Stars

O Perpetual Revolution of Configured Stars is an excerpt from Choruses from The Rock by T.S. Eliot (1888-1965). The Rock is a play that Elliot wrote in the form of a medieval pageant which included music by Martin Shaw and was first performed in 1934. O Perpetual Revolution of Configured Stars is included in the Religious Poetry Appendix for Lent and Easter of the Divine Office (1974). The excerpt therein begins at Line 3 of the Choruses and ends at Line 13 (But nearness to death no nearer to God). The full text can be found here.

Reading  (Excerpt Times - 0:10 to 0:55)