Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 – The Fifth Wednesday in Lent
Calm Soul of All Things
From “Lines Written in Kensington Gardens”
Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city’s jar,
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar!
The will to neither strive nor cry,
The power to feel with others give!
Calm, calm me more! nor let me die
Before I have begun to live.
– Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold was a mid 19th century poet and writer. He was a peer of Wordsworth and after an classical English education, held a day job travelling the country inspecting public schools, recommending educational improvements. When free, Arnold wrote in many forms, but soon became a well known poet in his day. His many travels afforded him a perspective of his fellow citizens which encouraged him to write for the masses with a feeling for their needs.
In this portion of a much longer poem, Arnold cries out to God to grant him the unshakable peace from above. This sentiment is reminiscent of Jesus saying, “I give you peace, not as the world gives…” He asks to be granted what he imagines others have been given and to receive it so that he may experience life more deeply and honor God more truly.
Arnold has historical significance as a man of letters. This poem has significance for Christ Church as it was set to music by our own Richard Clemmit and was debuted last Sunday night at Compline. We will let the parish know when it is to be performed again. The music enhances the prayer which the poem utters.
Question for the day: What do I know about the peace which comes from above?
– Christopher Powell