Thursday, 2 August 2012

With Modest Charms

Source for this image here.  This painting, Vase Of Roses (1875) is by one of my favourite 19th Centrury artists, Henri Fantin-Latour, whose work may be seen in the Tate Gallery in London and (among others) the Musee De Louvre, in Paris (where I first saw his work, as a child).  I particularly love white roses - their freshness and sweetness is so innocent, and I find them very calming to look at.   In our culture flowers are rarely brought indoors, but we have artifical ones instead to decorate our home with, and several bouquets of these that Papa Bear and the cubs have given me are of white roses.  They are so pretty!  I love that they are so beautiful just as they are, with no embellishments or interferences - just as God made them.

Roses for me also represent modesty and purity - and therefore also humility.  They are soft, feminine, delicate, charming, beautiful to see - all that a woman should be!  We can love roses just as they are, with no extra adornments or alterations.  It's such a shame that many women nowadays are pressurised by the expectations forced on them by modern culture to think that the way they are in their natural state isn't good enough.   How much better that we should endeavour to try to retain our natural, innocent beauty, just as the things that God has created all around us do, unchanged and uncorrupted.  Like the rose, we too are at our loveliest when we are just as God made us.

I found this sweet poem today, which I intend to write out and illustrate to put on the wall in our home.  It is by William Hayley, an 18th Century poet and writer, some of whose works can be found online here.  The verses, I thought, are very fitting for the theme of our July challenge, which we finished on Tuesday.

        Of all the Christian virtues chief
        With modest charms, and mild relief,
Most apt to heal the wounds of pride, and spleen,
        To thee, humility; I bend;
        O let me feel, thou art my friend!
Rule thou my bosom, as its gentle queen!

        'Tis thine benignly to repress
        All proud conceit, all vain excess;
To give the chasten'd mind its proper tone;
        To make it keep in sight
        The worth of others with delight,
And never look too fondly on its own.

        Teach me, with active zeal, to wake
        At nature's sigh, for pity's sake,
When pride in dreams of apathy will nod!
        Still guided by thy Christian breath,
        Keep me, thro' scenes of life, and death,
To mortals kind, and dutiful to God.