!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: A Tribute to Graciousness

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Tribute to Graciousness

The Handsome Heart:
at a Gracious Answer

'But tell me, child, your choice; what shall I buy
You?' – 'Father, what you buy me I like best.'
With the sweetest air that said, still plied and pressed,
He swung to his first poised purport of reply.

What the heart is! which, like carriers let fly —
Doff darkness, homing nature knows the rest —
To its own fine function, wild and self-instressed,
Falls light as ten years long taught how to and why.

Mannerly-hearted! more than handsome face —
Beauty's bearing or muse of mounting vein,
All, in this case, bathed in high hallowing grace . . .

Of heaven what boon to buy you, boy, or gain
Not granted! – Only . . . O on that path you pace
Run all your race, O brace sterner that strain!

                — Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889)

"G.M.H. called this sonnet 'autobiographical ... Last Lent two boys of our congregation gave me much help in the sacristy in Holy Week. I offered them money for their services, which the elder refused, but being pressed consented to take it laid out in a book. The younger followed suit; then when some days after I asked him what I shd. buy answered as in the sonnet.' ... Line 7, self-instressed, moved by its own natural impulse, i.e., towards the Good." (from Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Selection of His Poems and Prose, W.H. Gardner (ed.), Penguin Books, 1953, pp. 228.229.)


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