Friday, October 17, 2014

All Passion Spent

A little still life from the Daily Walk a couple of days back. 
All day today the golden leaves of the Bigtooth Aspen have been blowing 
across the yard, except when I went outside to try to take some pictures. 
Then the wind paused. 

This red leaf caught me in the center of the drive. 
I love the variety of rain-washed pebbles, 
the little green plants still springing up 
in the center of the two-track this late in the year, 
and all the rest of it. 
Daily Walks in other places are often less interesting. 
When I was uploading this picture and looking at the red leaf, 
the phrase "all passion spent" came into my mind. 
So then I had to look it up. 
Milton wrote it in Samson Agonistes
long before it was borrowed to title books, movies 
and TV series and who knows what besides. 

From 'Samson Agonistes'

ALL is best, though we oft doubt,
What th' unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about,
And ever best found in the close.
Oft he seems to hide his face,
But unexpectedly returns
And to his faithful Champion hath in place
Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns
And all that band them to resist
His uncontroulable intent.
His servants he with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismist,
And calm of mind all passion spent.

John Milton. (1608–1674)

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

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