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I saw the fair ones in the sky,
Intent upon the Mystery:
All on our earth
Of heavenly birth
NOTE 18, p. 26. Miss Havergal's rendering of this same idea in the hymn “I gave my life for thee, what hast thou done for me?” is well known, but two other modern parallels, much more beautiful, one the pathetic poem by Miss Christina Rossetti, and one the remarkable, because perhaps so unexpected, rendering of the idea, in the opening verses of Verlaine's “Sagesse,” may be quoted here. This is Miss Rossetti's poem
“ I bore with thee long weary days and nights,
Through many pangs of heart, through many tears,
For three and thirty years.
Who else had dared for thee what I have dared ?
I plunged the depth most deep from bliss above ;
Give thou Me love for love.
For thee I thirsted in the daily drouth ;
For thee I trembled in the nightly frost;
Why wilt thou still be lost?
I bore thee on My shoulders and rejoiced :
Men only marked upon My shoulders borne
Or wagged their heads in scorn.
Thee did nails grave upon Mine hands; thy name
Did thorns for frontlets stamp between Mine eyes :
I, God, Priest, Sacrifice.
A chief upon My right hand aod My left;
Six hours alone, athirst in misery;
A hiding-place for thee.
More dear, whereon to stretch Myself and sleep;
A harvest—come and reap."
And here are the lines of Verlaine :
“ Mon Dieu ! m'a dit : mon fils, il faut m'aimer. Tu vois
Mon flanc percé, mon coeur qui rayonne et qui saigne,
NOTE 19, p. 29. Stopford Brooke in “ Early English Literature.” From the same book (vol. i. p. 266) I may, perhaps, most fitly close these notes and illustrations of Cynewulf's poetry with this passage on
the interpenetration of Christian and heathen legend in the beginnings of early English literature :
“It would have been a pity in the interests of literature if the romantic elements of the old heathendom, especially those which arose out of the personification of the savage or gentle forms of the life of nature, had been blotted out by Christianity. ... The poetry of the past drew its elements only from war, nature-myths, and ancestral heroism. The new poetry or the new poetic feeling drew its elements from the whole of human life, entered into all the outgoings of the human heart, found its subjects in the common doings of daily life. Christianity made all the life of every man and woman interesting and impassioned from the cradle to the grave. No one can read “The Ecclesiastical History,' by Bæda, without seeing the truth of this statement. The book, in all its stories, is steeped in poetic feeling. Religion, with its ideals, laid its hands of awe and of love on men, from the king to the slave, and on all their relations one to another. It made a country of which all were citizens by right : it made a society which knit together all classes into a union in which the various kingdoms of England dissolved their differences and their wars. It brought together all men in one relation; it filled those doings of life which were common to all with one spirit. In this fashion it expanded the whole world of feeling, and though I cannot say that all these new elements were actually worked out in Anglo-Saxon literature, yet the new acre of poetic work was ploughed and sown, and the seed was afterwards to grow into a great harvest.”