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I Know What Beauty Is


I know what beauty is, for Thou
Hast set the world within my heart;
Its glory from me will not part;
I never loved it more than now.

I know the Sabbath afternoon:
The light lies sleeping on the graves;
Against the sky the poplar waves;
The river plays a Sabbath tune.

Ah, know I not the spring's snow-bell?
The summer woods at close of even?
Autumn, when earth dies into heaven,
And winter's storms, I know them well.

I know the rapture music brings,
The power that dwells in ordered tones,
A living voice that loves and moans,
And speaks unutterable things.

Consenting beauties in a whole;
The living eye, the imperial head,
The gait of inward music bred,
The woman form, a radiant soul.

And splendours all unspoken bide
Within the ken of spirit's eye;
And many a glory saileth by,
Borne on the Godhead's living tide.

But I leave all, thou man of woe!
Put off my shoes, and come to Thee;
Thou art most beautiful to me;
More wonderful than all I know.

As child forsakes his favourite toy,
His sisters' sport, his wild bird's nest;
And climbing to his mother's breast,
Enjoys yet more his former joy--

I lose to find. On forehead wide
The jewels tenfold light afford:
So, gathered round thy glory, Lord,
All beauty else is glorified.



George MacDonald