Yes, thou art gone! and round me too the night
In ever-nearing circle weaves her shade.
I see her veil draw soft across the day,
I feel her slowly chilling breath invade
The cheek grown thin, the brown hair sprent with grey;
I feel her finger light
Laid pausefully upon life’s headlong train; —
The foot less prompt to meet the morning dew,
The heart less bounding at emotion new,
And hope, once crush’d, less quick to spring again.
– Thyrsis, Matthew Arnold

Hope is the one motive strong enough…

dominus videt

I had been hungry all the years;
My noon had come, to dine;
I, trembling, drew the table near,
And touched the curious wine…
– Emily Dickinson

We all have our ways of dealing with situations we can’t handle…


He looked askance at Vera, and now that by declaring her love for him she had cast off the aloofness which so adds to a woman’s charm, she seemed to him, as it were, shorter, plainer, more ordinary.
“What’s the meaning of it?”  he thought with horror.  “But I…  do I love her or not?  That’s the question!”
-Verotchka, Anton Chekhov

I never thought that a dearth of imagination…


The greater part of the men, discouraged, their spirits worn by the turmoil, acted as if stunned.  They accepted the pelting of the bullets with bowed and weary heads.  It was of no purpose to strive against walls.  It was of no use to batter themselves against granite.  And from this consciousness that they had attempted to conquer an unconquerable thing there seemed to arise a feeling that they had been betrayed.
-The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane

There comes in the course of every life’s story a pause…


So spake she, and straightway he started out of slumber and was adread, and turned his eyes away when he beheld the neck and fair eyes of Aphrodite.  His goodly face he veiled again in a cloak, and imploring her, he spoke winged words:  “Even so soon as my eyes first beheld thee, Goddess, I knew thee for divine: but not sooth didst thou speak to me.  But by Zeus of the Ægis I implore thee, suffer me not to live a strengthless shadow among men, but pity me: for no man lives in strength that has couched with immortal Goddesses.”
-The Homeric Hymns, translation by Andrew Lang

I was wondering this morning how it is that sin is both accepted and forbidden in the Christian life…


But that proud Paynim forward came so fierce
And full of wrath, that with his sharp-head speare
Through vainely crosséd shield he quite did pierce,
And had his staggering steede not shrunke for feare,
Through shield and bodie eke he should him bear…
-The Faerie Queene I.iii, Edmund Spenser

It is well in reflection to consider our trials…

discipleship notes: we 7

“My sweet,” she said, “as yet I am not wise,
Or stored with words aright the tale to tell,
But listen: when I opened first mine eyes
I stood within the niche thou knowest well,
And from my hand a heavy thing there fell
Carved like these flowers, nor could I see things clear
But with a strange confused noise could hear.
“At last mine eyes could see a woman fair,
But awful as this round white moon o’erhead,
So that I trembled when I saw her there,
For with my life was born some touch of dread,
And therewithal I heard her voice that said,
‘Come down and learn to love and be alive,
For thee, a well-prized gift, today I give.’”
-Pygmalion, Morris’ translation

In the series on who we are as a church…