To What Serves Mortal Beauty?

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

To what serves mortal beauty - dangerous; does set dancing
blood - the 0-seal-that-so feature, flung prouder form
Than Purcell tune lets tread to? See: it does this: keeps warm
Men's wits to the things that are; that good means - where a
glance
Master more may than gaze, gaze out of countenance.
Those lovely lads once, wet-fresh windfalls of war's storm,
How then should Gregory, a father, have gleaned else from
swarm-
ed Rome? But God to a nation dealt that day's dear chance.
To man, that needs would worship block or barren stone,
Our law says: Love what are love's worthiest, were all known
World's loveliest - men's selves. Self flashes off frame and face.
What do then? How meet beauty? Merely meet it; own,
Home at heart, heaven's sweet gift; then leave, let that alone.
Yea, wish that though, wish all, God's better beauty, grace.

See all articles by Gerard Manley Hopkins