Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LITANY OF BEAUTY, by THOMAS MACDONAGH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

LITANY OF BEAUTY, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: O beauty, perfect child of light!
Last Line: Beauty endures to the end of all.
Alternate Author Name(s): Macdonough, Thomas
Subject(s): Beauty

O BEAUTY, perfect child of Light!
Sempiternal soul of all delight! --
White, and prankt with gold like the gold of the night,
The gold of the stars in quiet weather, --
White and shapely and pure,
Like the lily-flower from stain secure,
With life and virginity dying together!

One Lily there is I know
That liveth forever, unstained, immortal, a mystic flower;
Perfectly wrought its frame,
Gold-bedecked and eternal white --
White, more white than cold of the snow; --
For never, never, near it came,
Never shall come till the end of all,
Hurtful thing in wind or shower,
Worm or stain or blight;
But ever, ever, gently fall
The dews elysian of years that flow
Where it doth live secure,
In flawless comeliness mature,
Golden and white and pure, --
In the fair far-shining glow
Of eternal and holy Light.

O shapely Flower that must for aye endure!
O Voice of God that every heart must hear!
O Hymn of purest souls that dost unsphere
The ravished soul that lists! O white, white Gem!
O Rose that dost the senses drown in bliss!
No thing can stay, no thing can stem,
No thing can lure the heart to miss
Thy love, thy joy, thy rapture divine --
O Beauty, Beauty, ever thine
The soul, the heart, the brain,
To hymn thee in a loud perpetual strain,
Shriller and sweeter than song of wine,
Than lay of sorrow or love or war --
Beauty of heaven and sun and day,
Beauty of water and frost and star,
Beauty of dusk-tide, narrowing, grey . . .
Beauty of silver light,
Beauty of purple night,
Beauty of solemn breath,
Beauty of closed eye, and sleep, and death . . .
Beauty of dawn and dew,
Beauty of morning peace
Ever ancient and ever new,
Ever renewed till waking cease
Or sleep forever, when loud the angel's word
Through all the world is heard . . .
Beauty of brute and bird,
Beauty of earthly creatures
Whose hearts by the hand of God are stirred . . .
Beauty of the soul,
Beauty informing forms and features,
Fairest to God's eye,
Beauty that cannot fade or die
Till eternal atoms to ruin roll!

Beauty of blinded Trust,
Led by the hand of God
To a heaven where cherub hath never trod . . .
Austere Beauty of Truth,
Lighting the way of the Just . . .
Splendid Beauty of Youth,
Staying when Youth is fled,
Living when Life is dead,
Burning in funeral dust!

The glory of form doth pale and pall,
Beauty endures to the end of all.

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