August 12, 2007

"And I shall hymn you in a harbour story told..."

Ballade to Our Lady of Częstochowa

I
Lady and Queen and Mystery manifold
And very Regent of the untroubled sky,
Whom in a dream St. Hilda did behold
And heard a woodland music passing by:
You shall receive me when the clouds are high
With evening and the sheep attain the fold.
This is the faith that I have held and hold,
And this is that in which I mean to die.

II
Steep are the seas and savaging and cold
In broken waters terrible to try;
And vast against the winter night the wold,
And harbourless for any sail to lie.
But you shall lead me to the lights, and I
Shall hymn you in a harbour story told.
This is the faith that I have held and hold,
And this is that in which I mean to die.

III
Help of the half-defeated, House of gold,
Shrine of the Sword, and Tower of Ivory;
Splendour apart, supreme and aureoled,
The Battler's vision and the World's reply.
You shall restore me, O my last Ally,
To vengence and the glories of the bold.
This is the faith that I have held and hold,
And this is that in which I mean to die.

Envoi
Prince of the degradations, bought and sold,
These verses, written in your crumbling sty,
Proclaim the faith that I have held and hold
And publish that in which I mean to die.

    -- Hilaire Belloc

"Random Thoughts Sundays"250
The 15th of August, as I'm sure you know, is the Feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa (pronounced Chens-toe-HOE-vah), whose icon at the monastery of Jasna Góra is the great goal of pilgrimage in Poland.

"Steep are the seas and savaging and cold, In broken waters terrible to try, And vast against the winter night the wold, And harbourless for any sail to lie..." Sorry to break it to you, but that's where you (and I) are at. We won't find harbor on our own. No way, no hope, no leastest shred of hope.

Posted by John Weidner at August 12, 2007 8:51 PM
Weblog by John Weidner