Saturday 15 June 2013

In this refulgent summer...


In this refulgent summer, it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life.

The grass grows, the buds burst, the meadow is spotted with fire and gold in the tint of flowers. The air is full of birds, and sweet with the breath of the pine, the balm-of-Gilead, and the new hay.

Night brings no gloom to the heart with its welcome shade. Through the transparent darkness the stars pour their almost spiritual rays. Man under them seems a young child, and his huge globe a toy.

The cool night bathes the world as with a river, and prepares his eyes again for the crimson dawn. The mystery of nature was never displayed more happily. The corn and the wine have been freely dealt to all creatures, and the never-broken silence with which the old bounty goes forward, has not yielded yet one word of explanation.

One is constrained to respect the perfection of this world, in which our senses converse. How wide; how rich; what invitation from every property it gives to every faculty of man! 

Ralph Waldo Emerson - 'Divinity School Address', Harvard, July 15 1838


Refulgent means something like sparkling with reflected light. 

Here in Newcastle upon Tyne for the past few weeks, we too have been enjoying a refulgent summer - and these words of Emerson's have come to mind more than once as I step outside.

(I try not to think of the fact that the rest of Emerson's address goes-on to advocate the most extreme, proto--Nietzschian and anti-Christian, subjectivism!) 


1 comment:

Mercurius Aulicus said...

Refulgent means "Shining radiantly; resplendent."

It's also used in the hymn "Last Words of Copernicus".

"Ye golden lamps of Heav’n farewell,
With all your feeble light;
Farewell thou ever changing moon,
Pale empress of the night.
And thou refulgent orb of day,
In brighter flames array’d;
My soul which springs beyond thy sphere
No more demands thy aid."

This can be heard in sacred harp form at