Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Retreat

No, I'm not back-tracking on my blogging. I'm just enjoying my break. Even before the Holiday (holy day), I was thinking about issues of race with regard to Ron Paul and the curse of Western Society - not that false one of "Cain," but of all the things we've done wrong with regard to our brothers and sisters of a different tone of skin color. I'll work on this some more including a re-read of  the chapters on the Revelation on the Priesthood in the book on President Kimball's years as President of the Church, which I recommend to all.

I am also somewhat in shock by the Christmas gift I got from my son and his wife, with a little help from my wife and others of our children. I had a vague idea from pop-up adds that you can have a book made of blog posts. My family went ahead and did that for my first year of this blog. It would the height of vanity press except that I didn't do it myself. It was a thoughtful and respectful gift from family which humbles me and fills me with love and appreciation. And, of course, my wife accurately pointed out that it is a little circular vanity of me to take a picture of the book with the intent of posting it here on this blog. But it's not for public sale, you'll just have to read things here in cyber-world.

And my favorite color, too!

So for now, I leave you with another poem of ancient cousin Henry Vaughan (1622-1695), a deeply religious one, as we consider all our vanities looking towards a blessed New Year of continued repentance ahead:

The Retreat

Happy those early days! when I
Shined in my angel-infancy,
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
Or taught my soul to fancy ought
But a white, celestial thought;
When yet I had not walked above
A mile or two from my first love,
And looking back—at that short space—
Could see a glimpse of His bright face;
When on some gilded cloud, or flower,
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;
Before I taught my tongue to wound
My conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshy dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
   Oh how I long to travel back,
And tread again that ancient track!
That I might once more reach that plain,
Where first I left my glorious train;
From whence the enlightened spirit sees
That shady city of palm trees.
But ah! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way.
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move
And when this dust falls to the urn,
In that state I came, return.

Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) 1650

Vaughan's reference to leaving a heavenly home to come to earth is considered by some scholars to be the inspiration for Wordsworth's more famous lines "...trailing clouds of glory do we come/From God, who is our home" that should be familiar to any Mormons out there. And I just love Cousin Henry's reference to heaven as "that shady city of palms trees" with allusions to Jerusalem--the [first] City of Zion.

May 2, 2012
Found an article from 1982 on the Poetry of Henry Vaughan as a precursor to the Restoration (of the Gospel, not the monarchy) in BYU Studies here.

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