Gerard Manley Hopkins: To What Serves Mortal Beauty?
August 23, 1885.
To what serves mortal beauty—dangerous; does set danc-
ing blood—the O-seal-that-so feature, flung prouder form
Than Purcell tune lets tread to? See: it does this: keeps warm
Men's wits to the things that are; what good means—where a glance
Master more may than gaze, gaze out of countenance.
Those lovely lads once, wet-fresh windfalls of war's storm,
How then should Gregory, a father, have gleanèd else from swarm-
ed Rome? But God to a nation dealt that day's dear chance.
To man, that needs would worship block or barren stone,
Our law says: Love what are love's worthiest, were all known;
World's loveliest—men's selves. Self flashes off frame and face.
What do then? how meet beauty? Merely meet it; own,
Home at heart, heaven's sweet gift; then leave, let that alone.
Yea, wish that though, wish all, God's better beauty, grace.
[Poems (fourth edition) ed. W. H. Gardner and N. H. MacKenzie, 62.]
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Sat. 03/11/06 08:53:54 AM
Categorized as Literary.