The Selfless Self of Self

On A Portrait of Two Beautiful Young People A Brother and Sister By Gerard Manley Hopkins O I admire and sorrow! The heart’s eye grieves Discovering you, dark tramplers, tyrant years. A juice rides rich through bluebells, in vine leaves, And beauty’s dearest veriest vein is tears. Happy the father, mother of these! Too fast: Not that, but thus far, all with frailty, blest In one fair fall; but, for time’s aftercast, Creatures all heft, hope, hazard, interest. And are they thus? The fine, the fingering beams Their young delightful hour do feature down That fleeted else like day-dissolvèd dreams Or ringlet-race on burling Barrow brown. She leans on him with such contentment fond As well with sister sits, would well the wife; His looks, the soul’s own letters, see beyond, Gaze on, and fall directly forth on life. But ah, bright forelock, cluster that you are Of favoured make and mind and health and youth, Where lies your landmark, seamark, or soul’s star? There’s none but truth can stead you. Christ is truth. There’s none but good can be good, both for you And what sways with you, maybe this sweet maid; None good, but God — a warning wavèd to One once that was found wanting when Good weighed. Man lives that list, that leaning in the will No wisdom can forecast by gauge or guess, The selfless self of self, most strange, most still, Fast furled and all foredrawn to No or Yes. Your feast of; that most in you earnest eye May but call on your banes to more carouse. Worst will the best. What worm was here, we cry, To have havoc-pocked so, see, the hung-heavenward boughs? Enough: corruption was the world’s first woe. What need I strain my heart beyond my ken? O but

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