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Magna est Veritas -- Coventry Patmore

       
(Poem #1641) Magna est Veritas
 Here, in this little Bay,
 Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
 Where, twice a day,
 The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,
 Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
 I sit me down.

 For want of me the world’s course will not fail;
 When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
 The truth is great, and shall prevail,
 When none cares whether it prevail or not.
-- Coventry Patmore
      (1823 - 1896)

Note: The title is Latin, and means "Great is the Truth"

Although today's poem touches upon several age-old themes, I don't think
I've seen them combined in quite this way. I like the quiet, reflective tone
of the poem, the image of a man sitting by the seashore contemplating his
insignificance in the grand scheme of things, but comforted rather than
otherwise by the thought. And the final two lines are unexpected and
thought-provoking; the usual sentiment is that Truth shall prevail against a
sea of lies, or against all efforts to quash it, or something similarly
hostile. But as Patmore implicitly points out, indifference is often
deadlier to a cause than any amount of opposition; the truth that shall
prevail "when none cares whether it prevail or not" is great indeed.

martin

[Links]

Biography:
 http://www.iath.virginia.edu/courses/ennc986/class/bios/patmore.html
 http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/patmore/bioov.html

35 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Charlotte Masarik said...

I live in Laguna Beach, California, a small community perched on a rocky
bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We all care so deeply in our fair town
to preserve and treasure what we have and endlessly fight like She Bears
against the big interest money, the outside interference, the mansionization
and, worst of all the lies, the endless duplicitous lies. This poem reads
like a magic fit to our community activism. Mark my words, this poem is
being printed in our local paper this week. Thanks, Monsier Martin, CLM

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