Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Wednesday 8th August - Rain

It rained yesterday afternoon!

A short shower, maybe only three minutes, of large, heavy drops. Enough that if he hadn't bolted out and rescued it, the duvet cover would have been soaked through.

Then the sun came back, and within a very short time, the world was as it had been - hot, dry, scorched.

This happened several times during the rest of the day, but then, at dusk, the skies clouded over properly, and the temperature dropped, and a strong breeze whirled up the dry leaves and rain, proper rain, came and soaked the garden.

I stood at the door, watching, listening, and enjoying that fresh, mineral smell.

This beautiful song came to mind;

"As torrents in summer,
Half dried in their channels,
Suddenly rise, though the
Sky is still cloudless,
For rain has been falling
Far off at their fountains; 

So hearts that are fainting
Grow full to o'erflowing,
And they that behold it
Marvel, and know not
That God at their fountains
Far off has been raining! 

here is Elgar's setting, sung by The London Quartet

They are my All Time Favourite Singers, and I strongly recommend this album, and also "Lullabies and Goodbyes"


I hadn't paid much attention to where the words have come from (the London Quartet always sings with such extraordinarily clear diction that you can make out every word without having to look them up)

It is an extract of a longer poem by Longfellow (good name for someone who writes long poems, don't you think?) - in fact from a book of long poems - I wonder if it is modelled on The Canterbury Tales?

Here's the link to where I found the poem, and where you can read all of the "Tales of a Wayside Inn" written in 1863.

"As torrents" is just two verses from the final part of "The Musician's Tale; The Saga of King Olaf";

The Nun of Sideros.

Here it is

In the convent of Drontheim,
Alone in her chamber
Knelt Astrid the Abbess,
At midnight, adoring,
Beseeching, entreating
The Virgin and Mother. 

She heard in the silence
The voice of one speaking,
Without in the darkness,
In gusts of the night-wind,
Now louder, now nearer,
Now lost in the distance. 

The voice of a stranger
It seemed as she listened,
Of some one who answered,
Beseeching, imploring,
A cry from afar off
She could not distinguish. 

The voice of Saint John,
The beloved disciple,
Who wandered and waited
The Master's appearance,
Alone in the darkness,
Unsheltered and friendless. 

"It is accepted
The angry defiance,
The challenge of battle!
It is accepted,
But not with the weapons
Of war that thou wieldest! 

"Cross against corselet,
Love against hatred,
Peace-cry for war-cry!
Patience is powerful;
He that o'ercometh
Hath power o'er the nations! 

"As torrents in summer,
Half dried in their channels,
Suddenly rise, though the
Sky is still cloudless,
For rain has been falling
Far off at their fountains; 

So hearts that are fainting
Grow full to o'erflowing,
And they that behold it
Marvel, and know not
That God at their fountains
Far off has been raining! 

"Stronger than steel
Is the sword of the Spirit;
Swifter than arrows
The light of the truth is,
Greater than anger
Is love, and subdueth! 

"Thou art a phantom,
A shape of the sea-mist,
A shape of the brumal
Rain, and the darkness
Fearful and formless;
Day dawns and thou art not! 

"The dawn is not distant,
Nor is the night starless;
Love is eternal!
God is still God, and
His faith shall not fail us;
Christ is eternal!" 

I guess I would have to read the preceding 21 chapters to find out what is going on, but the final five verses are stirring stuff.

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