Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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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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