Blest soul, who through life’s course
Didst keep the young child’s heart unstain’d and whole,
To find again the cradle at the goal,
Like some fair stream returning to its source;—
Ill fall’n on days of falsehood, greed, and force!
Base days, that win the plaudits of the base,
Writ to their own disgrace,
With casuist sneer o’erglossing works of blood,
Miscalling evil, good;
Before some despot-hero falsely named
Grovelling in shameful worship unashamed.
—But they of the great race
Look equably, not caring much, on foe
And fame and misesteem of man below;
And with forgiving radiance on their face,
And eyes that aim beyond the bourn of space,
Seeing the invisible, glory-clad, go up
And drink the absinthine cup,
Fill’d nectar-deep by the dear love of Him
Slain at Jerusalem
To free them from a tyrant worse than this,
Changing brief anguish for the heart of bliss.
—O moaning stream of Time,
Heavy with hate and sin and wrong and woe
As ocean-ward dost go,
Thou also hast thy treasures!—Life, sublime
In its own sweet simplicity:—life for love:
Man sees them not: but they are seen above.
One in black array; Sir T. More’s daughter, Margaret Roper.
That Hall; Westminster, where More was tried: That other place; Tower Hill.
The vision of her girlhood; More taught his own children, and was like a child with them. He ’would take grave scholars and statesmen into the garden to see his girls’ rabbit-hutches. . . . I have given you kisses enough, he wrote to his little ones, but stripes hardly ever’: (Green, B. V: ch. ii).
The wonders; See first note to Grocyn at Oxford.
In his large embrace; More may be said to have represented the highest aim and effort of the ‘new learning’ in England. He is the flower of our Renaissance in genius, wisdom, and beauty of nature. ‘When ever,’ says Erasmus in a famous passage, ’did Nature mould a character more gentle, endearing, and happy, than Thomas More’s?’
Blest hour, as on green happy slopes I lie,
Gray walls around and high,
While long-ranged arches lessen on the view,
And one high gracious curve
Of shaftless window frames the limpid blue.
—God’s altar erst, where wind-set
Waves its green-finger’d bough,
And the brown tiny creeper mounts the bole
With curious eye alert,
And beak that tries each insect-haunted hole,
And lives her gentle life from nest to nest,
And dies undispossess’d:
Whilst all the air is quick with noise of birds
Where once the chant went up;
Now musical with a song more sweet than words.