Saturday, January 19, 2019

C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia


Opening Passage: The first sentences from each. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. (p. 111)

From Prince Caspian:

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, and it has been told in another book called The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe how they had a remarkable adventure. (p. 317)

From The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. (p. 425)

From The Horse and His Boy:

This is the story of an adventure that happened in Narnia and Calormen and the lands between, in the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Narnia and his brother and his two sisters were King and Queens under him. (p. 205)

From The Silver Chair:

It was a dull autumn day and Jill Pole was crying behind the gym. (p. 549)

From The Last Battle:

In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall there lived an Ape. (p. 669)

From The Magician's Nephew:

This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child. (p. 11)

Summary: It's very difficult to know where to start when talking about a set of books you've read repeatedly for about three decades. I'll take the basic outline of the story to be known already, and just remark on some things that stood out to me on this particular reading.

Reading all seven together, one notices most the links between the books, some of which were already obvious and some of which are more subtle. The obvious links are mostly concerned with the characters. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe introduces the Pevensies to Narnia; Prince Caspian, which was subtitled The Return to Narnia brings them back. They even have very similar overall structures: the Pevensies in coming into Narnia contribute to restoring it in battle against an oppressor. The roles of the Pevensies and of Aslan are nonetheless very different in each case. The Horse and His Boy, in which we learn about what is south of Narnia, occurs within the frame of LWW. Peter and Susan, of course, are too old to return, but Lucy and Edmund return in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, bringing Eustace with them. VDT introduces us to what lies east of Narnia, and makes clear parallels between Eustace and Edmund in LWW. Lucy and Edmund are then too old to return, but Eustace returns in The Silver Chair, bringing Jill Pole; they explore north of Narnia. They return in The Last Battle, which is the third book whose Narnian element actually takes place almost wholly in Narnia. Digory and Polly enter at the very beginning in The Magician's Nephew and see the very end in The Last Battle. Technically, I suppose, MN has a voyage to west of Narnia, but it is not the central element of the tale. LB, unsurprisingly, has plenty of links with both of the beginning tales, LWW and MN. After LWW and PC all the stories explore edges of the map, so to speak: the end of the world (VDT), the Calormen south (HHB), the giantish north and beneath the earth (SC), the first days (MN), and the last days (LB). Notably, though, in each case the means of entry into the world of Narnia is different: Wardrobe (LWW), Horn (PC), Picture (VDT), Door (SC), Rings (MN), railway accident (LB), and, of course, HHB has no entry at all.

But there are subtler connections between the books. The Silver Chair has a lot in common with Prince Caspian. In PC, the backbone of the tale is the journey of the Pevensies from Cair Paravel with the help of Trumpkin, which they botch by not following Aslan, whom only Lucy can see at first; they then meet up with Prince Caspian, who is under the ground in Aslan's How, the monument holding the sacred Stone Table. Then there is physical battle. After the victory they have the Romp, that is the Bacchanalia, securing Caspian's throne. In SC, the backbone of the tale is the journey of Eustace and Jill from Cair Paravel with the help of Puddleglum, which they botch by not following the signs that Aslan gave to Jill; they then meet Prince Rilian, Caspian's son, who is in underland. Then there is a battle against enchantment. After the victory and the escape from underland, they come out in the midst of the Great Snow Dance, thus making it possible for Rilian to see his father and become king properly. While learning is never disparaged, schooling in both is treated as an oppressive thing. In PC, we have the name of the author of Caspian's grammar book (Parvulentus Siccus, i.e., Dry-as-Dust) and at the end we have the freeing of the Telmarine children from school in the Romp. The frame of SC is Experiment House, and Eustace and Jill have to be freed from it, as well, albeit in another sense. None of this is particularly noticeable unless you are looking for it; every similarity involves a significant variation, and, despite PC involving more battle, SC is, of course, a darker book.

As I mentioned in passing, The Silver Chair also has a lot in common with The Last Battle. (The comparison is repeatedly suggested in LB itself.) They both are Eustace and Jill stories, obviously, and they both involve rather consistent failure -- while the Pevensies generally triumph, poor Eustace and Jill not only make every mistake, they hardly ever catch a break. In SC, they never actually succeed -- they fail with regard to three of the four signs, and while they do (barely) get the fourth and most obvious sign with Puddleglum's help, they are still only saved in the end by Puddleglum stamping out the fire and Rilian slaying the serpent. In LB, although nothing is their fault, their task is to lose; they've practically lost already from the moment they enter Narnia. Both SC and LB are also concerned with deception. If we're asking how people can be fooled with regard to the truth, the two major paths are for people to be convinced that what is true is not true, which is the temptation of the Green Witch (SC), and for them to be convinced that what is not true is true, which is the temptation of the Ape (LB). The Green Witch multiplies doubts and the Ape multiplies falsehoods. Both are effective -- the conquest of Narnia from the Green Witch's deception is only narrowly averted and the conquest of Narnia from the Ape's deception succeeds. Neither can be handled by argument alone, precisely because both deceptions are directly messing with the evidence. The only difference between the two cases is that in SC Puddleglum manages to act in time, refusing to play the Green Witch's game, and in LB everyone fails to do this until it is too late.

There were a few other things I noticed. I was quite struck in this reading of The Last Battle with the fact that, while all who pass judgment go to Aslan's country, those who don't have very different end results. The humans who fail go to Tash, at least those about whom we know anything; the Talking Animals who fail lose their power of speech; the Dwarfs who fail are in a sense stuck in their own minds. This may be all tied to the case of Emeth, whose tale is, I think, often misread. The Last Battle, recall, is heavily concerned with deception; in a very real sense, the last battle is not the Battle of Stable Hill but the battle between Truth and Lie. As his own name indicates, Emeth has always sought truth. And Lewis puts Emeth in Aslan's country for much the same reason Dante puts Ripheus in heaven: Ripheus is in heaven to make the point that, wherever it may be, justice is far more well-regarded by God than it is by gods or men. And Emeth is in Aslan's country to make the point that, wherever it may be, the same is true of love of truth. The three different failures, on the other side, are three different ways of describing what begins to happen when one loses the love for truth.

I was also struck this time around with just how extraordinarily good the characterization in The Magician's Nephew is. It's so good that I actually have very little I can say about it. Every character -- every one without exception -- gets a more vivid portrayal than you would expect given that many of them are met only briefly. Over and over again, with just a few well chosen lines, Lewis is able to do more with the characters than most people could do in a much greater space. It's probably not surprising that Digory and Polly are (along with Eustace and Aravis) my favorite characters in the series. And Lewis layers a lot of subtleties to paint a definite picture -- there are many little ways, for instance, in which Digory is very like Uncle Andrew; you could miss quite a few of them if you're not looking for them, but overall they give both Uncle Andrew and Digory a greater depth than they would have otherwise. If you want to know how to handle characters in a story, this is very much a book to study.

I read the books in an unusual order: LWW - PC - VDT - HHB - SC - LB - MN. This order actually works remarkably well. LWW pairs with PC, of course, but as noted in the Introduction, VDT and HHB both pair well as victorious journeys, one from and the other to Narnia, and SC and LB, as noted above, have a considerable amount in common. It's true that SC makes repeated references to VDT, which it follows in publication order, but it also explicitly mentions HHB. And while it might initially seem odd to end with the beginning of the world, simply considering MN itself, it is very well suited to end the series; a retrospective end, one where we see how it all began, is a perfectly respectable end, and the end of MN would be perfect as an end to the series, bookending the series with the wardrobe. The primary problem with putting it last, and one that is perhaps insuperable, is that LB repeatedly refers to MN. I'm glad I tried out this order -- I saw a lot that would perhaps have been less obvious in any other order, more than I can write down here. But it's probably the case that, in general, The Last Battle is too obviously suited to being last. So my suggested order is none of the standard orders, but LWW - PC - VDT - HHB - SC - MN - LB, taking LWW and PC together, then VDT and HHB together, and then SC, MN, and LB as a sort of trilogy about evil. But the original publication order still works quite well.

A minor note. When reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I realized to my annoyance that the single-volume version I was reading (previously I had only read the individual books) not only makes the irritating decision to use the internal chronological order, thus failing to open with LWW, it also gets the end of the episode of the Dark Island wrong. Most of the time when the original British editions were published in America, they were published essentially as-is. This is not true with VDT; for the American edition, Lewis changed the original description of Eustace to avoid calling him stupid, a small change that later became fairly important given that Eustace is rather significant for the the back part of the series. And Lewis also changed the aftermath of the Dark Island. In the original, fleeing the horror that is the island where dreams come true, they look back and see that it has vanished. Lewis changed this so that the island does not disappear. It makes the ending of the episode quite a bit better. Up to 1994, these changes were reflected in American editions, as they should be. But HarperCollins, in its infinite non-wisdom, reverted the changes when they took over. This is every bit as stupid as Eustace is very definitely not.

In addition to reading the books, I also listened to all of the Focus on the Family adaptations (which also, I noticed this time, revert the VDT changes). I had forgotten how long they were (The Silver Chair, at 225 minutes, just seemed interminable), so it was a fairly heavy time commitment. I very much like Paul Scofield's narration, and the adaptation is reasonably good. Some of the voice acting is quite good, although David Suchet's Aslan mostly only works in small doses (it works best by far in Voyage of the Dawn Treader). Thanks to the Darwins, I also listened to the audiobook version of The Magician's Nephew, read by Kenneth Branagh. It was extraordinarily good, especially from the point at which Jadis arrives in London. The entire back half of it was just splendid. And Branagh, I think, hits the emotional tones of the story (particularly its humor) much better than the FoF adaptation did.

Favorite Passage: There are lots that could be chosen, but here is a passage that I think shows what I meant about MN having extraordinary characterization:

...Polly had discovered long ago that if you opened a certain little door in the box-room attic of her house you would find the cistern and a dark place behind it which you could get into by a little careful climbing. The dark place was like a long tunnel with a brick wall on one side and sloping roof on the other. In the roof there were little chunks of light between the slates. There was no floor in this tunnel: you had to step from rafter to rafter, and between them there was only plaster. If you stepped on this you would find yourself falling through the ceiling of the room below. Polly had used the bit of the tunnel just beside the cistern as a smugglers' cave. She had brought up bits of old packing cases and the seats of broken kitchen chairs, and things of that sort, and spread them across from rafter to rafter so as to make a bit of floor. Here she kept a cash-box containing various treasures, and a story she was writing and usually a few apples. She had often drunk a quiet bottle of ginger-beer in there: the old bottles made it look more like a smugglers' cave. (p. 13)

This little bit of description, eight sentences, is about a place. But the place is described in such a way that by means of it we learn everything essential to know about Polly: she is imaginative, adventurous, and has a sort of practical intelligence.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended, of course. And the Branagh audio version of MN is also Highly Recommended.


C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, HarperCollins (New York: 1994).

Friday, January 18, 2019

Two New Poem Drafts


The brightness sits upon the sky,
a golden-crimson in its dye;
beneath its burning, breezes sigh
and birds awake to wing on high,
for dawn is here.
The sun is born again and, new,
the splendor shines through glints of dew
and upward beams at spreading blue
and heaven clear.

The Grapes of Wrath

The terroir of the grapes of wrath is terror;
their harvest inks the feet with blood.
They are erasure of all error.
Their aging vintage is red and good.

The wrath that overthrows the Harlot
who rules the world by might and gold
shall stain her purple robe black-scarlet
as seers in every age have told.

No longer will excuse be uttered;
and how can just assessors rue,
no matter self-defenses muttered,
that all receive as they are due?

You think you know it, mortal hearer,
the taste of justice, pure and sweet?
You know it not; a flavor dearer
is stamped in press by angels' feet.

The Moral of the Story

I rejected any approach which begins with the question 'What do modern children like?' I might be asked, 'Do you equally reject the approach which begins with the question "What do modern children need?" -- in other words, with the moral or didactic approach?' I think the answer is Yes. Not because I don't like stories to have a moral: certainly not because I think children dislike a moral. Rather because I feel sure the the question 'What do modern children need?' will not lead you to a good moral. If we ask that question we are assuming too superior an attitude. It would be better to ask 'What moral do I need?' for I think we can be sure that what does not concern us deeply will not deeply interest our readers, whatever their age. But it is better not to ask the questions at all. Let the pictures tell you their own moral. For the moral inherent in them will rise from whatever spiritual roots you have succeeded in striking during the whole course of your life.

[C. S. Lewis, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children", On Stories, HarperOne (San Francisco: 2017) pp. 62-63.]

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

I Grant I Never Saw a Goddess Go

Sonnet 130
by William Shakespeare

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

My favorite Shakespearean sonnet, which probably says something about me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


The recent 3:AM interview with Sophie Grace Chappell has reminded me of a paper in Ethics that I think is all too underappreciated: Chappell's "Glory as an ethical idea" (originally published as, and sometimes still only found under, Timothy Chappell). I don't have a great deal of sympathy with Chappell's overall aversion to theory, but I think there is a real value in recognizing gaps in the works of modern ethicists, and I think Chappell is quite right that glory is one of them.

Chappell suggests that we could get a first approximation to what is meant by glory by coining the word 'hurrahability'; more specifically, "glory is--typically--what happens when a spectacularly excellent performance within a worthwhile form of activity meets the admiration that it merits." This can in turn be clarified by appeal to MacIntyre's account of practices, that is, developed and socially established cooperative activities with internal goods, internal goods being goods that can be had in and through the activity on its own, as opposed to external goods like salaries or awards. That is to say, a practice is a cooperative activity of a recognizable kind in which we find the activity itself provides part of the reason for engaging in the activity to begin with. Sports are practices, professions (like medical professions) are often practices, arts (understood not as individual skills but as community endeavors) are practices, politics and citizenship when taken seriously tend to be practices; they are things you don't merely do, but do as a community of people engaged in the activity, because the activity is worthwhile. Money, fame, awards, and the like are added, by means of institutions, in order to sweeten the deal, make the activity more sustainable, and so forth, but the root reason for having the activity in the first place is that the activity itself involves things worth having. Because practices have internal goods, we can (and do) define better or worse ways of engaging in the activity. Better ways of being a football player are those that achieve the internal goods -- the love of the game, the athleticism, the teamwork, and so forth. Worse ways are those that raise unnecessary impediments to achieving these goods that make the practice of football worthwhile to begin with. And as we become familiar with how this works, practices naturally form standards of behavior that are peculiar to that practice.

What Chappell notes is that this means that you can identify the glorious within the context of a practice by looking at those performances or engagements in the practice that not only meet the standard but do so very conspicuously (spectacularly, dazzlingly) so that the person engaging the activity is manifesting the worthwhileness of the activity in doing so. The glorious in a practice is found in its moments of "Yes! This is what it's all about!"

The glorious is the hero-making feat, although sometimes it can be subtle or hidden from those who do not have the requisite background. Because it is tied to the achievement of standards of excellence in a practice, it follows that the glorious is, as Chappell puts it, narrative and perspectival: it needs to be contextualized so that we can understand why it is spectacular. Someone who knows nothing about a sport cannot generally recognize the glorious moments in it; someone who knows nothing about music cannot fully grasp why someone's musical accomplishments make them not just competent but in some way heroic.

Glory, however, has another aspect, which is that it provides something that we can, for lack of a better word, call "meaningfulness". Practices come in all sorts of different grades of complexity and comprehensiveness; you can have a practice that includes and organizes other practices. And part of MacIntyre's argument is that living a human life is itself something that we recognize as a practice. And as our achievements in lesser practices can contribute to the achieving of internal goods in a fully human life, so too the glory of great achievement in these practices can mark an extraordinary contribution to living well. Indeed, I think you can argue that glory is itself one of the internal goods of a human life; it is certainly a major part of the stories we tell about ourselves.

Chappell muddles all of this a bit by suggesting that this is merely the typical course for glorious feats, and that you can in fact have glory outside of worthwhile activities. I think this is a mistake arising from mixing together standards of excellence that really belong to different practices. Practices can adapt over time to new things, their standards of excellence likewise adapt, and we can be involved in a lot of them at a given time, which can occasionally leads to complications and contradictions in our assessment of the worthwhileness of things. In any case, this is enough to show that glory is an idea relevant to ethics; certainly, it is at least as important as pleasure to ethics, and we never stop hearing about pleasure and satisfaction and related terms.

It's interesting, actually, that we do so emphasize pleasure and so often forget glory, given the latter's historical importance and the fact that we clearly can still identify it all over the place today. My suspicion is that this is an artifact of the structure of our society; I think there is a good argument (one with excellent Platonic pedigree) that broadly democratic societies will tend naturally to overemphasize the importance of pleasure, because the integrity of such a society is heavily dependent on pleasing as many people as possible, while you will find a much greater emphasis on glory in broadly aristocratic societies, by which I don't mean the broadly democratic societies with residual aristocratic institutions that you find in Europe today. What makes you noble in an aristocratic society? Ultimately it is (at least in principle) glorious deeds; some extraordinary contribution that is so great that society has to recognize it formally. Aristocratic families arise because merely recognizing you for it does not seem to be enough; it is the sort of contribution for which we cannot sufficiently reward you in your lifetime, so how do we reward you for it? We do it by rewarding your family; but the expectation is that your family will carry on the tradition -- you having done great deeds and your children having been rewarded for your greatness, they then have the obligation not to be the link in the chain that gets the reward of greatness but acts shamefully. Of course, in practice, it's messy and there's a lot of maneuvering, and people are always trying to subvert the whole system for their own benefit, just as we find in broadly democratic societies. But that's the structure of aristocratic thinking in general. And you can well imagine that in such a society duty will take precedence over preference and glory will be regarded as more essential to happiness than pleasure. One would expect such a society to overemphasize the importance of glory and honor and related terms, just as we overemphasize pleasure and related terms.

Which brings me to one of the most important discussions of glory in the history of ethics, that which is found in Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. In the Consolation, Boethius who of course has been accused of treason and put under house arrest while refused the right to defend himself, portrays himself as entering into a discussion with Philosophia herself, Lady Philosophy. Philosophy is out to cure Boethius of his illness, by which she means his distress over having lost power, reputation, and the like and being in imminent danger of losing his life. And the course of her cure is to identify a series of false goods, or goods of Fortune, things that we tend to identify with human happiness, that we pursue as if our happiness depended on them, even though they clearly have characteristics showing that they are incapable of fulfilling this function. They are mutable, they are limited, they are fragmented, they are incomplete by their very nature, and they are really in great measure outside of our control, so that our pursuit of them can be successful only as a matter of chance. The goods that she identifies as goods of Fortune are wealth, office, power, glory, and pleasure. Glory fails to be a genuine source of happiness because it depends so much on the opinion of others; and reflected glory, like that you get from having parents who did glorious things, has the obvious problem that it's not yours.

But that's not really the end of the story, because Philosophy notes that the only real explanation for why we pursue goods of Fortune as if they were real goods capable of giving us happiness is because they seem like the latter. So there must be something about glory that reflects or imitates some genuine aspect of happiness. Philosophy calls this celebritas, a sort of self-revealing clarity or splendor. This is what we are really trying to get when we pursue glory. But celebritas, the work goes on to argue, is something that can really only be found in being God. That's the secret of true happiness: Be God. Of course, Boethius is a Christian Neoplatonist, so while it's obvious that we are not God by nature, we can participate in divine life, and our particular human way of participating in divine life is virtue.

This makes it sound like a very sharp break: you have glory, which is a false source of happiness, and then there is celebritas, which we are really trying to get in our pursuing of glory, and which glory cannot give us. But, of course, you could also argue on Platonic principles that it's precisely the fact that glory is celebritas-like that is confusing us; it is an imitation or shadow of glory, a trace outline of it, and the problem is not so much that we are entirely wrong as that we are confusing a crude picture of celebritas with the celebritas itself; it doesn't really help Boethius any, languishing under house arrest with a ruined reputation while he is waiting to be executed, but you can still recognize some good in glory as a picture or reflection of something higher.

We find some minor modification of Boethius's view in Aquinas. Aquinas's account of happiness is essentially Boethian, but, being more Aristotelian than Boethius, he modifies a few points. In particular, he recognizes a distinction between perfect/complete happiness (which we cannot have in this life) and imperfect/incomplete happiness, which we can. This leads him to give a slightly different account of our mistakes in pursuit of glory (ST 2-1.2.3). Human glory -- glory depending on human opinion -- cannot be a source of real happiness for precisely the reasons Boethius states, and these are all tied to the fact that glory is an after-the-fact thing. Human recognition of our excellence depends on signs of the excellence. Thus when it is right, we already have what is the real source of happiness. When it is wrong, it's because people were misled by the signs. In either case, glory is superadded. However, there is a kind of glory that does not work this way, namely, glory depending on divine knowledge. This is more than just being recognized as excellent by omniscience; the point is that in this case we find the reverse of what we find in the human case, because divine knowledge of our excellence precedes our excellence; God's knowledge of our excellence is in fact a practical knowledge of what He does with us in union with us, and therefore it is the cause of our excellence. Human glory recognizes that we seem to have done something spectacular; divine glory makes us spectacular.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Garden for the Wandering of Our Feet

by Archibald Lampman

What is more large than knowledge and more sweet;
Knowledge of thoughts and deeds, of rights and wrongs,
Of passions and of beauties and of songs;
Knowledge of life; to feel its great heart beat
Through all the soul upon her crystal seat;
To see, to feel, and evermore to know;
To till the old world’s wisdom till it grow
A garden for the wandering of our feet.

Oh for a life of leisure and broad hours,
To think and dream, to put away small things,
This world’s perpetual leaguer of dull naughts;
To wander like the bee among the flowers
Till old age find us weary, feet and wings
Grown heavy with the gold of many thoughts.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Athanasius of the West

Today is the memorial for St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church. A pagan Neoplatonist, fluent in Greek despite being born in the West, he converted to Christianity with his wife and his daughter (St. Abra) after having begun to study the Bible. Somewhere between 350 and 353, he was chosen by the Christians at Poitiers to be their bishop, popular acclamation still being a significant component in the election of bishops in those days, despite the fact that he was married. He is the first bishop of Poitiers about which we know anything definite. As the Western bishop most thoroughly fluent in Greek and familiar with Greek philosophy, he became a significant player in the Arian controversies, being several times invited to participate in discussions with Eastern bishops, and he soon became one of the most important defenders of Athanasius of his day. Thus he received the two titles by which he is often known: "Hammer of the Arians" and "Athanasius of the West". From his book On the Trinity, Book I, Section 7:

Therefore, although my soul drew joy from the apprehension of this august and unfathomable Mind, because it could worship as its own Father and Creator so limitless an Infinity, yet with a still more eager desire it sought to know the true aspect of its infinite and eternal Lord, that it might be able to believe that that immeasurable Deity was apparelled in splendour befitting the beauty of His wisdom. Then, while the devout soul was baffled and astray through its own feebleness, it caught from the prophet's voice this scale of comparison for God, admirably expressed, "By the greatness of His works and the beauty of the things that He has made the Creator of worlds is rightly discerned." The Creator of great things is supreme in greatness, of beautiful things in beauty. Since the work transcends our thoughts, all thought must be transcended by the Maker. Thus heaven and air and earth and seas are fair: fair also the whole universe, as the Greeks agree, who from its beautiful ordering call it κόσμος, that is, order. But if our thought can estimate this beauty of the universe by a natural instinct — an instinct such as we see in certain birds and beasts whose voice, though it fall below the level of our understanding, yet has a sense clear to them though they cannot utter it, and in which, since all speech is the expression of some thought, there lies a meaning patent to themselves — must not the Lord of this universal beauty be recognised as Himself most beautiful amid all the beauty that surrounds Him? For though the splendour of His eternal glory overtax our mind's best powers, it cannot fail to see that He is beautiful. We must in truth confess that God is most beautiful, and that with a beauty which, though it transcend our comprehension, forces itself upon our perception.

To Dare Some Forward Part

by Bl. John Henry Newman

"I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?"

How didst thou start, Thou Holy Baptist, bid
To pour repentance on the Sinless Brow!
Then all thy meekness, from thy hearers hid,
Beneath the Ascetic's port, and Preacher's fire,
Flow'd forth, and with a pang thou didst desire
He might be chief, not thou.

And so on us at whiles it falls, to claim
Powers that we dread, or dare some forward part;
Nor must we shrink as cravens from the blame
Of pride, in common eyes, or purpose deep;
But with pure thoughts look up to God, and keep
Our secret in our heart.

At Sea.
June 22, 1833.