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Holland, Hyacinth Garden

Holland, Hyacinth Garden
Undated, Oil on Canvas
George Hitchcock


"It's not a funny question, papa; it's a very serious one. I can't think why the unchanging God should have made all the most beautiful things wither and grow ugly, or burst and vanish, or die somehow and be no more. Mamma is not so beautiful as she once was, is she?"

"In one way, no; but in another and better way, much more so. But we will not talk about her kind of beauty just now; we will keep to the more material loveliness of which you have been speaking—though, in truth, no loveliness can be only material. Well, then, for my answer; it is, I think, because God loves the beauty so much that he makes all beautiful things vanish quickly."

"I do not understand you, papa."


"I daresay not, my dear. But I will explain to you a little, if Mr. Percivale will excuse me."


"On the contrary, I am greatly interested, both in the question and the answer."


"Well, then, Wynnie; everything has a soul and a body, or something like them. By the body we know the soul. But we are always ready to love the body instead of the soul. Therefore, God makes the body die continually, that we may learn to love the soul indeed. The world is full of beautiful things, but God has saved many men from loving the mere bodies of them, by making them poor; and more still by reminding them that if they be as rich as Croesus all their lives, they will be as poor as Diogenes—poorer, without even a tub—when this world, with all its pictures, scenery, books, and—alas for some Christians!—bibles even, shall have vanished away."
"Why do you say alas, papa—if they are Christians especially?"


"I say alas only from their point of view, not from mine. I mean such as are always talking and arguing from the Bible, and never giving themselves any trouble to do what it tells them. They insist on the anise and cummin, and forget the judgment, mercy, and faith. These worship the body of the truth, and forget the soul of it. If the flowers were not perishable, we should cease to contemplate their beauty, either blinded by the passion for hoarding the bodies of them, or dulled by the hebetude of commonplaceness that the constant presence of them would occasion. To compare great things with small, the flowers wither, the bubbles break, the clouds and sunsets pass, for the very same holy reason, in the degree of its application to them, for which the Lord withdrew from his disciples and ascended again to his Father—that the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the Soul of things, might come to them and abide with them, and so the Son return, and the Father be revealed. The flower is not its loveliness, and its loveliness we must love, else we shall only treat them as flower-greedy children, who gather and gather, and fill hands and baskets, from a mere desire of acquisition, excusable enough in them, but the same in kind, however harmless in mode, and degree, and object, as the avarice of the miser. Therefore God, that we may always have them, and ever learn to love their beauty, and yet more their truth, sends the beneficent winter that we may think about what we have lost, and welcome them when they come again with greater tenderness and love, with clearer eyes to see, and purer hearts to understand, the spirit that dwells in them. We cannot do without the 'winter of our discontent.'


-George MacDonald from The Seaboard Parish


Elizabeth II


 Elizabeth II

Oil on Canvas c.1955

Denis Fildes

O God,
Who providest for thy people by thy power,
And rulest over them in love:
Grant unto this thy servant Elizabeth, our Queen,
The Spirit of wisdom and government,
That being devoted unto thee with her whole heart,
She may so wisely govern,
That in her time thy Church may be in safety,
And Christian devotion may continue in peace;
That so persevering in good works unto the end,
She may by thy mercy come to thine everlasting kingdom;
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord,
Who liveth and reigneth with thee
In the unity of the Holy Ghost,
One God for ever and ever. Amen.


-From the Coronation Ceremony of Elizabeth II, June 2, 1953


See Also: The Course of Empire, another oil post. 


Queen Victoria in Her Coronation Robes


Queen Victoria in Her Coronation Robes

1838 Oil on Canvas

Charles Robert Leslie


I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And round her feet are lying the dying and the dead.
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns,
I haste to thee my mother, a son among thy sons.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

--Sir Cecil Spring-Rice






1885 Oil on Canvas

Charles Naiper Hemy

     "A  . . . red dory, labelled Hattie S., lay astern of the schooner. Dan hauled in the painter, and dropped lightly on to the bottom boards, while Harvey tumbled clumsily after. 'That's no way o' gettin' into a boat,' said Dan. 'Ef there was any sea you'd go to the bottom, sure. You got to learn to meet her . . .'
     The little dory was specklessly clean. In her bows lay a tiny anchor, two jugs of water, and some seventy fathoms of thin, brown dory-roding. A tin dinner-horn rested in cleats just under Harvey's right hand, beside an ugly-looking maul, a short gaff, and a shorter wooden stick. A couple of lines, with very heavy leads and double cod-hooks, all neatly coiled on square reels, were stuck in their place by the gunwale.
     "Where's the sail and mast?" said Harvey, for his hands were beginning to blister. Dan chuckled.
     "Ye don't sail fishin'-dories much. Ye pull."

--Rudyard Kipling, Captains Courageous



Great Mogul And His Court Returning From The Great Mosque At Delhi India

Great Mogul And His Court Returning From The Great Mosque At Delhi India
Oil, c. 1886
Edwin Lord Weeks 

"My inadequacy as a sightseer is illustrated by the fact that every detail of the kandy rickshaw rider is indelibly imprinted on my mind, to the point that now, forty-eight years later, I could draw the shape of the patch of sweat on the rickshaw coolie's back; whereas, when I visited the famous Buddhist Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, it made so little impressionon me that now I cannot remember any single thing about it."

-Malcolm Muggeridge from his Chronicles of Wasted Time