Gifts of Genius eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 195 pages of information about Gifts of Genius.

        “When Sorrow would be seen
      In her brightest majesty,
        For she is a queen,
      Then is she drest by none but thee. 
    Then, and only then, she wears
    Her richest pearls, I mean thy tears.

        “The dew no more will weep,
      The primrose’s pale cheek to deck;
        The dew no more will sleep,
      Nuzzled in the lily’s neck. 
    Much rather would it tremble here,
    And leave them both to be thy tear.”

These are some of Crashaw’s “Steps to the Temple”—­verily he walked thither on velvet.

“Wishes to his supposed Mistress,” is more than a pretty enumeration of the good qualities of woman as they rise in the heart of a noble, gallant lover: 

    “Whoe’er she be,
    That not impossible she,
    That shall command my heart and me: 

    “Where’er she lie,
    Locked up from mortal eye,
    In shady leaves of destiny: 

    “Till that ripe birth
    Of studied fate, stand forth,
    And teach her fair steps to our earth: 

    “Till that divine
    Idea take a shrine
    Of crystal flesh, through which to shine: 

    “Meet you her, my wishes,
    Bespeak her to my blisses,
    And be ye call’d my absent kisses.”

We are not reprinting Crashaw, and must forbear further quotation.  It is enough if we have presented to the reader a lily or a rose from his pages, and have given a clue to that treasure-house—­

    “A box where sweets compacted lie.”

A generation nurtured in poetic susceptibility by the genius of Keats and Tennyson, should not forget the early muse of Crashaw.  His verse is the very soul of tenderness and imaginative luxury:  less intellectual, less severe in the formation of a broad, manly character than Herbert; catching up the brighter inspirations of Vaughan, and excelling him in richness—­it has a warm, graceful garb of its own.  It is tinged with the glowing hues of Spenser’s fancy; baptized in the fountains of sacred love, it draws an earthly inspiration from the beautiful in nature and life, as in the devout paintings of the great Italian masters, we find the models of their angels and seraphs on earth.



    Thou who look’st with pitying eye
    From Thy radiant home on high,
    On the spirit tempest-tost,
    Wretched, weary, wandering, lost—­
    Ever ready help to give,
    And entreating, “Look and live!
    By that love, exceeding thought,
    Which from Heaven the Saviour brought,
    By that mercy which could dare
    Death to save us from despair,
    Lowly bending at Thy feet,
    We adore, implore, entreat,
    Lifting heart and voice to Thee—­
    Miserere Domine!

Project Gutenberg
Gifts of Genius from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook