Friday, 14 December 2012

Song of the Soul - the feast of St John of the Cross

                                                                                       O, Blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You.
                                                                                                 Let Your mighty calmness reign in me.
                                                                                            Rule me, O King of Gentleness, King of Peace

There have been several translations of the works of St John of the Cross but, arguably the best and most poetically sensitive were those undertaken by the great Catholic poet, Roy Campbell.

Campbell's work is well worth reading in its own right but here is his rendering of St John's "Song of the Soul that is glad to know God by faith":

'Song of the soul that is glad to know God by faith'

How well I know that fountain’s rushing flow
Although by night

Its deathless spring is hidden. Even so
Full well I guess from whence its source flow
Though it be night.

Its origin (since it has none) none knows:
But that all origin from it arose
Although by night.

I know there is no other thing so fair
And earth and heaven drink refreshment there
Although by night.

Full well I know the depth no man can sound
And that no ford to cross it can be found
Though it be night

Its clarity unclouded still shall be:
Out of it comes the light by which we see
Though it be night.

Flush with its banks the stream so proudly swells;
I know it waters nations, heavens, and hells
Though it be night.

The current that is nourished by this source
I know to be omnipotent in force
Although by night.

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