Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where is true beauty to be found?

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
“I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”—
For these things in themselves, Belovëd, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV

The beautiful is identical with the good, for all things seek the beautiful and good at every opportunity, and there is no being which does not participate in them. They extend to all that is, being what is truly admirable, sought for, desired pleasing, chosen and loved. Observe how the divine force of love — the erotic power preexisting in the good - has given birth to the same blessed force within us, through which we long for the beautiful and good in accordance with the words, "I became a lover of her beauty" (Wisdom. 8:2), and "Love her and she will sustain you; fortify her and she will exalt you (Proverbs. 4:6, 8).

- St. Maximus the Confessor
The Philokalia, Volume 2

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