If someone should ask, “I would like to make progress in moral life; where shall I begin?” then we would probably answer, “Wherever you will. You can begin with a fault of which you have become conscious in your profession or occupation. Or else you can begin with the needs of the community, with family or friends–wherever you have ascertained a failing. Or else you may be aware that some passion has power over you, and you may strive to overcome it. Basically, all that matters is that you should be honest and sincere and make a determined effort.”
Then one thing will lead to another. For the life of man is a whole. If he grasps it anywhere with determination, then his conscience awakens and strengthens his moral power in other respects as well, just as a fault anywhere in his life makes its influence felt everywhere.Romano Guardini, Learning the Virtues that Lead You to God, 25
The Knight of the Grail
Lully, lully; lully, lulley;
The fawcon hath born my mak away.
He bare hym vp, he bare hym down;
He bare hym into an orchard brown.
In that orchard ther was an hall,
That was hangid with purpill and pall.
And in that hall ther was a bede;
Hit was hangid with gold so rede.
And yn that bed ther lythe a knyght,
His wowndes bledyng day and nyght.
By that bedes side ther kneleth a may,
And she wepeth both nyght and day.
And by that beddes side ther stondith a ston,
‘Corpus Christi’ wretyn theron.
Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
This little vault, this narrow room,
Of Love and Beauty is the tomb;
The dawning beam, that ‘gan to clear
Our clouded sky, lies darken’d here,
For ever set to us: by Death
Sent to enflame the World Beneath.
‘Twas but a bud, yet did contain
More sweetness than shall spring again;
A budding Star, that might have grown
Into a Sun when it had blown.
This hopeful Beauty did create
New life in Love’s declining state;
But now his empire ends, and we
From fire and wounding darts are free;
His brand, his bow, let no man fear:
The flames, the arrows, all lie here.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
When the lamp is shattered
The light in the dust lies dead—
When the cloud is scattered
The rainbow’s glory is shed.
When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remembered not;
When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.
As music and splendour
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
The heart’s echoes render
No song when the spirit is mute:—
No song but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruined cell,
Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman’s knell.
When hearts have once mingled
Love first leaves the well-built nest,
The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possessed.
O Love! who bewailest
The frailty of all things here,
Why choose you the frailest
For your cradle, your home, and your bier?
Its passions will rock thee
As the storms rock the ravens on high:
Bright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home,
Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.
Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauty’s orient deep
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.
Ask me no more whither do stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For in pure love heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.
Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale, when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters, and keeps warm her note.
Ask me no more where those stars ’light,
That downwards fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there
Fixed become, as in their sphere.
Ask me no more if east or west
The phoenix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.