Have you felt the swelling, the burning, within your chest as you come upon something beautiful? A landscape? a work of art? an act of heroism? a glimpse of truth? and you find yourself saying, “So beautiful! So beautiful! So beautiful!”?

The beauty of truth, the beauty of love, seems somehow a subject so holy that you dare not touch it lest you sully or tarnish it as when you pin down a butterfly trying to capture its loveliness. Sometimes only poetry seems to be the appropriate language.

Wordsworth came upon a scene which moved him –

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!

Sometimes beauty is seen with the inward eye –

When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…..

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Edna St. Vincent Millay tells you that –

Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.

You can imagine Euclid (or Einstein), as they first grasped some mathematical truth, saying, “Ah, yes, now I see – that’s how it is!”

I was not yet twenty when I came upon a copy of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and it so touched my heart that I copied out the whole chapter on love, part of which follows:

Love has no desire but to fulfill itself
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires;
To melt and be like a running brook that sings it melody to the night
To know the pain of too much tenderness
To be wounded by you own understanding of love
And to bleed willingly and joyfully
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy
To return home at eventide with gratitude
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

And Jesus’ disciples said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”   (Luke 24:32)

Sir Walter Scott felt the love of homeland –

Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand!

Paul Anka (1959) had a heart that sang –

May your heart burn, swell, sing this day because you have encountered truth, beauty, love.

~~~


“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth and all ye need to know.
–——Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn