Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Dewy Morn

Waylen's (1895) selections from The Dewy Morn:

The streamlet in the woods is full before the dove alights to drink at it; the flower in the grass has expanded before the butterfly comes. A great passion does not leap into existence as violets sprang up beneath the white feet of Aphrodite. It has grown first. The grapes have ripened in the sun before they are plucked for wine.—' The Dewy Morn.'

Of old, old time the classic women in the ' Violet Land' of Greece went out to the sunrise, and, singing to Apollo, the sun, prayed that their hearts might be satisfied, and their homes secured; by the fountain they asked of the water that the highest aspirations of their souls might be fulfilled; of the earth they asked an abundance for those whom they loved. No more the hymn is heard to the sun; no more the stream murmurs in an un­dertone to the chorus of human hopes; no more the earth sees its wheat and its flowers taken from it to be presented to it again upon the altar in token of gratitude and prayer. But still the larks, as then, and still the thrushes, the fleeting swallows, and the doves, address themselves to sun, and earth, and stream, and heaven. Their songs vary not, their creed does not change, their prayer goes forth to the same old gods.
Have our hopes and hearts changed in the centuries? No; not one whit— 'The Dewy Morn.'

I think that those who have an imaginative corner in their hearts are better than those who have not. They have a shrine—to a shrine we bring our aspirations; there they accumulate and secretly influence our lives.—'The Dewy Morn.'

Above the clear sky was full of stars, and among them the beautiful planet Jupiter shone serene. The sky was of a lovely night blue; it was an hour to think, to dream, to revere, to love—a time when, if ever it will, the soul reigns, and the coarse rude acts of day are forgotten in the aspirations of the inmost mind. The night was calm—still; it was in no haste to do anything—it had nothing it needed to do. To be is enough for the stars.—'The Dewy Morn.'

Overhead and eastwards there shone a glory of blue heaven, illuminated from with­in with golden light. The deep rich azure was lit up with an inner gold; it was a time to worship, to lift up the heart. Is there anything so wondrously beautiful as the sky just before the sun rises in summer?—'The Dewy Morn.'

Human dramatists arrange for all their characters to find happiness in the end. If there be any difficulty some one transfers his or her love with the greatest facility to another person; and thus being all paired off, they dance down the stage to the tune of' Sir Roger de Coverley." The drama of real life never ends like this. Some one has to suffer—always some one has to suffer. The old Greeks dwelt on the tendency of human affairs to drift downwards irresistibly to unhappiness. Guilt — that is, untoward and often involuntary actions—pulls generation after genera­tion heavily as lead down, down, down. Sophocles, Aeschylus—take which you will, still the same thought pervades their sculptured groups (for they are sculptured in words, nude, noble, un­happy). Grief falls upon human beings as the rain, not selecting good or evil, visit­ing the innocent, condemning those who have done no wrong.—'The Dewy Morn.'

The stolid are alone happy. Yet there drops from the azure heaven a beam of light, and whomsoever that ray touches must follow it to the end, though cheeks grow pale, though shoulders stoop, though ache and pain increase. The path of the gods pursues beauty, but the stolid are alone happy.—'The Dewy Morn.'

A maxim well established is that the man and the woman always come out in their deeds. What­ever they may profess, in time the act betrays them, and upon that outward act and deed the world invariably bases its opinion of their character. Is this just? Do you always do as you would like to do were it in your power? I find that circumstances force me often to act in a manner quite opposite to what I should prefer; I am, of course, judged by my acts, but do they really afford a true key to my character? I think not. —'The Dewy Morn.'

If our old habits are suspended, how rapidly the touch of living hands disappears from our inanimate surroundings! Almost the instant the living hand is withdrawn, dust settles on the furniture and the room. ... It is sorrowful to reflect how soon—but a day or two—and already the dust has gathered over the place we filled.—'The Dewy Morn.'

Meadow and brook, wheat-fields and hills — a simple landscape, yet such as is not to be surpassed by any on earth. A common landscape—there are hundreds such in our England—yet beyond com­pare. There are none like it elsewhere in the wide world.—'The Dewy Morn.'

How powerful, and yet uncon­trollable by ourselves, is the influence of our life upon the lives of others! . . . For aught you can tell, your existence may be a fate to another—another's to you.—' The Dewy Morn.'

So many, and so many, who have loved in the long passage of time, but are gone as the shadow goes from the dial when the sun sinks. Are, then, our noblest feelings to fade and become void?
Upon the sun-dial there were curious graven circles and interwoven angles, remnants of the ancient lore which saw fate in the stars and read things above nature in nature. Symbols and signs are still needed, for the earth and life are still mysterious; they cannot be written; they require the inarticulate sign of the magician. Let us not out­live love in our days, and come to look back with sorrow on those times. You have seen the ships upon the sea; they sail hither and thither thousands of miles. Do they find aught equal to love? Can they bring back precious gems to rival it from the rich south? The reapers have been in the corn these thousand years, the miners in the earth, the toilers in the city; in all the labour and long-suffering is there anything like unto love? Any reward or profit in the ships, the mines, the ware­houses?
What are the institutions of man, the tawdry state, the false law, the sub­sidised superstition, and poor morality, that pale shadow of truth—what are these by love?
Could but love stay, could but love have its will, no more would be needed for eternity.—'The Dewy Morn.'

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