Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Organ Songs.
I. “I know what beauty is”
By George MacDonald (1824–1905)
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;        5
  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;        10
  Autumn, when leaves 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,        15
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.        20
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,        25
  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;        30
  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,        35
All glory else is glorified.

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