Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Poem for Tuesday and Grotto of Lourdes

Grotto of Egeria
By George Gordon, Lord Byron

Egeria! sweet creation of some heart   
Which found no mortal resting-place so fair   
As thine ideal breast; whate’er thou art   
Or wert,—a young Aurora of the air,   
The nympholepsy of some fond despair;
Or, it might be, a beauty of the earth,   
Who found a more than common votary there   
Too much adoring; whatsoe’er thy birth,   
Thou wert a beautiful thought, and softly bodied forth.   

The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled
With thine Elysian water-drops; the face   
Of thy cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled,   
Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place,   
Whose green, wild margin now no more erase   
Art’s works, nor must the delicate waters sleep,
Prison’d in marble; bubbling from the base   
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap   
The rill runs o’er, and round, fern, flowers, and ivy, creep   

Fantastically tangled; the green hills   
Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass
The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills   
Of summer-birds sing welcome as ye pass;   
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class,   
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes   
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass;
The sweetness of the violet’s deep blue eyes,   
Kiss’d by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies.   

Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,   
Egeria! thy all heavenly bosom beating   
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover;
The purple Midnight veiled that mystic meeting   
With her most starry canopy, and seating   
Thyself by thine adorer, what befell?   
This cave was surely shaped out for the greeting   
Of an enamoured Goddess, and the cell
Haunted by holy Love—the earliest oracle!   

And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,   
Blend a celestial with a human heart;   
And Love, which dies as it was born, in sighing,   
Share with immortal transports? could thine art
Make them indeed immortal, and impart   
The purity of heaven to earthly joys,   
Expel the venom and not blunt the dart—   
The dull satiety which all destroys—   
And root from out the soul the deadly weed which cloys?

Alas! our young affections run to waste,   
Or water but the desert; whence arise   
But weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of haste,   
Rank at the core, though tempting to the eyes,   
Flowers whose wild odours breathe but agonies,
And trees whose gums are poison; such the plants   
Which spring beneath her steps as Passion flies   
O’er the world’s wilderness, and vainly pants   
For some celestial fruit forbidden to our wants.   

Oh Love! no habitant of earth thou art—
An unseen seraph, we believe in thee,   
A faith whose martyrs are the broken heart,   
But never yet hath seen, nor e’er shall see   
The naked eye, thy form, as it should be;   
The mind hath made thee, as it peopled heaven,
Even with its own desiring phantasy,   
And to a thought such shape and image given,   
As haunts the unquench’d soul—parch’d—wearied—wrung—and riven.   

Of its own beauty is the mind diseased,   
And fevers into false creation;—where,
Where are the forms the sculptor’s soul hath seized?   
In him alone. Can Nature show so fair?   
Where are the charms and virtues which we dare   
Conceive in boyhood and pursue as men,   
The unreach’d Paradise of our despair,
Which o’er-informs the pencil and the pen,   
And overpowers the page where it would bloom again?   

Who loves, raves—’tis youth’s frenzy—but the cure   
Is bitterer still: as charm by charm unwinds   
Which robed our idols, and we see too sure
Nor worth nor beauty dwells from out the mind’s   
Ideal shape of such; yet still it binds   
The fatal spell, and still it draws us on,   
Reaping the whirlwind from the oft-sown winds;   
The stubborn heart, its alchemy begun,
Seems ever near the prize—wealthiest when most undone.   

We wither from our youth, we gasp away—   
Sick—sick; unfound the boon—unslaked the thirst,   
Though to the last, in verge of our decay,   
Some phantom lures, such as we sought at first—
But all too late,—so are we doubly curst.   
Love, fame, ambition, avarice—’tis the same,   
Each idle—and all ill—and none the worst—   
For all are meteors with a different name,   
And Death the sable smoke where vanishes the flame.


Cheryl stayed in town on Monday so we could go to the holiday boutique at Washington Hebrew, where we met my mom and several of her friends and my friends, including my third grade teacher, then we went to look at holiday shiny things at Pier One and World Market around lunch at Bagel City. In the late afternoon, we met Paul at Arclight at the mall to see Thor: Ragnarok again. It's even better on a second viewing, Hemsworth and Ruffalo look like they're having a great time, and Hiddleston as usual steals all his scenes.

We had leftover Chinese food from Saturday for dinner while trying to keep up with this week's Supergirl and catching up on Sunday night's Madam Secretary (I knew the Stevie storyline was going exactly where it's obviously now headed). Here are some photos from Emmitsburg's Grotto of Lourdes near Mount St. Mary's, where the sculpture always looks stunning set among the autumn leaves and where there are now statues of Our Lady of Lavang and Saint Charbel Makhlouf as well as the European saints and Mother Seton:









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