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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (Parables)

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Wash the window; rub it dry;

  Make the ray-door clean and bright: He who lords it in the sky

  Loves on cottage floors to light!

Looking over sea and beck,

  Mountain-forest, orchard-bloom, He can spy the smallest speck

  Anywhere about the room!

See how bright his torch is blazing

  In the heart of mother's store! Strange! I never saw him gazing

  So into that press before!

Ah, I see!--the wooden pane

  In the window, dull and dead, Father called its loss a gain,

  And a glass one put instead!

What a difference it makes!

  How it melts the filmy gloom! What a little more it takes

  Much to brighten up a room!

There I spy a dusty streak!

  There a corner not quite clean! There a cobweb! There the sneak

  Of a spider, watching keen!

Lord of suns, and eyes that see,

  Shine into me, see and show; Leave no darksome spot in me

  Where thou dost not shining go.

Fill my spirit full of eyes,

  Doors of light in every part; Open windows to the skies

  That no moth corrupt my heart.


Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out!

You stare
In the air
As if crying Beware,

Always looking what I am about: I hate to be watched; I will blow you out!"

The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon.

So, deep
On a heap
Of clouds, to sleep

Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon, Muttering low, "I've done for that Moon!"

He turned in his bed: she was there again!

On high
In the sky
With her one ghost-eye

The Moon shone white and alive and plain: Said the Wind, "I will blow you out again!"

The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew slim.

"With my sledge
And my wedge
I have knocked off her edge!

I will blow," said the Wind, "right fierce and grim, And the creature will soon be slimmer than slim!"

He blew and he blew, and she thinned to a thread.

"One puff
More's enough
To blow her to snuff!

One good puff more where the last was bred, And glimmer, glimmer, glum will go that thread!"

He blew a great blast, and the thread was gone.

In the air
Was a moonbeam bare;

Larger and nearer the shy stars shone: Sure and certain the Moon was gone!

The Wind he took to his revels once more;

On down
And in town,
A merry-mad clown,

He leaped and holloed with whistle and roar-- When there was that glimmering thread once more!

He flew in a rage--he danced and blew;

But in vain
Was the pain
Of his bursting brain,

For still the Moon-scrap the broader grew The more that he swelled his big cheeks and blew.

Slowly she grew--till she filled the night,

And shone
On her throne
In the sky alone

A matchless, wonderful, silvery light, Radiant and lovely, the queen of the night.

Said the Wind, "What a marvel of power am I!

With my breath,
In good faith,
I blew her to death!--

First blew her away right out of the sky, Then blew her in: what a strength am I!"

But the Moon she knew nought of the silly affair;

For, high
In the sky
With her one white eye,

Motionless miles above the air, She never had heard the great Wind blare.


A harebell hung her wilful head: "I am tired, so tired! I wish I was dead."

She hung her head in the mossy dell: "If all were over, then all were well!"

The Wind he heard, and was pitiful, And waved her about to make her cool.

"Wind, you are rough!" said the dainty Bell; "Leave me alone--I am not well."

The Wind, at the word of the drooping dame, Sighed to himself and ceased in shame.

"I am hot, so hot!" she moaned and said; "I am withering up; I wish I was dead!"

Then the Sun he pitied her woeful case, And drew a thick veil over his face.

"Cloud go away, and don't be rude," She said; "I do not see why you should!"

The Cloud withdrew. Then the Harebell cried, "I am faint, so faint!--and no water beside!"

The Dew came down its millionfold path: She murmured, "I did not want a bath!"

The Dew went up; the Wind softly crept; The Night came down, and the Harebell slept.

A boy ran past in the morning gray, Plucked the Harebell, and threw her away.

The Harebell shivered, and sighed, "Oh! oh! I am faint indeed! Come, dear Wind, blow."

The Wind blew gently, and did not speak. She thanked him kindly, but grew more weak.

"Sun, dear Sun, I am cold!" she said. He shone; but lower she drooped her head.

"O Rain, I am withering! all the blue Is fading out of me!--come, please do!"

The Rain came down as fast as he could, But for all his good will he could do her no good.

She shuddered and shrivelled, and moaning said, "Thank you all kindly!" and then she was dead.

Let us hope, let us hope when she comes next year She'll be simple and sweet! But I fear, I fear!


I was very cold

  In the summer weather; The sun shone all his gold, But I was very cold--
Alas, we were grown old,

  Love and I together! Oh, but I was cold

  In the summer weather!

Sudden I grew warmer

  Though the brooks were frozen: "Truly, scorn did harm her!" I said, and I grew warmer;
"Better men the charmer

  Knows at least a dozen!" I said, and I grew warmer

  Though the brooks were frozen.

Spring sits on her nest,

  Daisies and white clover; And my heart at rest
Lies in the spring's young nest: My love she loves me best,

  And the frost is over! Spring sits on her nest,

  Daisies and white clover!


The stars cleave the sky.

  Yet for us they rest, And their race-course high

  Is a shining nest!

The hours hurry on.

  But where is thy flight, Soft pavilion

  Of motionless night?

Earth gives up her trees

  To the holy air; They live in the breeze;

  They are saints at prayer!

Summer night, come from God,

  On your beauty, I see, A still wave has flowed

  Of eternity!


No bird can sing in tune but that the Lord Sits throned in equity above the heaven, And holds the righteous balance always even; No heart can true response to love afford Wherein from one to eight not every chord Is yet attuned by the spirits seven: For tuneful no bird sings but that the Lord Is throned in equity above high heaven.

Oh heart, by wrong unfilial scathed and scored, And from thy humble throne with mazedness driven, Take courage: when thy wrongs thou hast forgiven, Thy rights in love thy God will see restored: No bird could sing in tune but that the Lord Sits throned in equity above the heaven.


Out of the gulf into the glory,

  Father, my soul cries out to be lifted. Dark is the woof of my dismal story,

  Thorough thy sun-warp stormily drifted!-- Out of the gulf into the glory, Lift me, and save my story.

I have done many things merely shameful;

  I am a man ashamed, my father! My life is ashamed and broken and blameful--

  The broken and blameful, oh, cleanse and gather! Heartily shame me, Lord, of the shameful! To my judge I flee with my blameful.

Saviour, at peace in thy perfect purity,

  Think what it is, not to be pure! Strong in thy love's essential security,

  Think upon those who are never secure. Full fill my soul with the light of thy purity: Fold me in love's security.

O Father, O Brother, my heart is sore aching!

  Help it to ache as much as is needful; Is it you cleansing me, mending, remaking,

  Dear potter-hands, so tender and heedful? Sick of my past, of my own self aching-- Hurt on, dear hands, with your making.

Proud of the form thou hadst given thy vessel,

  Proud of myself, I forgot my donor; Down in the dust I began to nestle,

  Poured thee no wine, and drank deep of dishonour! Lord, thou hast broken, thou mendest thy vessel! In the dust of thy glory I nestle.


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