I Know What Beauty Is

A poem by George MacDonald

I know what beauty is, for thou
Hast set the world within my heart;
Of me thou madest it a part;
I never loved it more than now.

I know the Sabbath afternoons;
The light asleep upon the graves:
Against the sky the poplar waves;
The river murmurs organ tunes.

I know the spring with bud and bell;
The hush in summer woods at night;
Autumn, when trees let in more light;
Fantastic winter's lovely spell.

I know the rapture music gives,
Its mystery of ordered tones:
Dream-muffled soul, it loves and moans,
And, half-alive, comes in and lives.

And verse I know, whose concord high
Of thought and music lifts the soul
Where many a glimmering starry shoal
Glides through the Godhead's living sky.

Yea, Beauty's regnant All I know--
The imperial head, the thoughtful eyes;
The God-imprisoned harmonies
That out in gracious motions go.

But I leave all, O Son of man,
Put off my shoes, and come to thee!
Most lovely thou of all I see,
Most potent thou of all that can!

As child forsakes his favourite toy,
His sisters' sport, his new-found nest,
And, climbing to his mother's breast,
Enjoys yet more his late-left joy--

I lose to find. On fair-browed bride
Fair pearls their fairest light afford;
So, gathered round thy glory, Lord,
All glory else is glorified.

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