BEAUTY IS THE SPLENDOR OF TRUTH

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The following article is from a transcript of a recent talk given by Dr David Jones, Professor Emeritus at the University of Calgary. The Latin phrase, PULCHRITUDE SPLENDOR VERITATUS, Beauty is the Splendor of Truth, well illustrates the following article by Dr Jones illustrates.

This is a theme repeatedly emphasized in Book Five of Elysium's Passage novel series, Mystical Romance.

Since I'm an aficionado of the Romantic poets for most of my adult life, I asked Dr Jones if I may include his talk in my blog site, to which he agreed. This was based on his book, one of among over forty, called: The Forgotten Song of the Romantic Poets: Jones, David C.: 9781738817108: Books - Amazon.ca 

The mountain picture is of Lake Moraine, in Banff National Park, one of my favourite areas to soak in the majestic beauty of nature's resplendence.

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THE FORGOTTEN SONG OF THE ROMANTIC POETS

David C. Jones

     The great English poet William Blake once said in a vision, “In the universe, there are things that are known and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”  Well, what are the doors to wisdom, to happiness, to peace?

    Sadly, the world forgets itself, forgets its finest moments, even whole eras of time, forgets especially its outpouring of melody and uplift. Forgets. This evening let us rescue the forgotten song of the Romantic Poets.  The song is behind one of those doors and is the title of my new book: The Forgotten Song of the Romantic Poets.  It is a book of quotations that you can open AT ANY PAGE, ANY PLACE, and be uplifted, comforted. It’s a book that opens doors….

     That song of the Romantic poets… I sang it when I was young, and I sing I now more passionately when I am old—the radiance of the fields, the company of virtues, the beams of love, the glow of beauty, the stirring of wisdom.  In our world swirling with dissension and division, the song needs remembering.

     Listen to the poets who expressed the lyric and the melody. Why poets?  The French Romantic, Alphonse de Lamartine, answered: “Poetry has been the guardian angel of humanity in all ages.”  “Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world,” said Percy Bysshe Shelley. “Poetry thus makes immortal all that is best and most beautiful in the world.”

     Samuel Taylor Coleridge added, “No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher.”  William Blake went deeper—“God Is the poetic genius in each of us.”

    Though he was largely unrecognized in life, Blake is now seen as one of the greatest British poets of all time.  A remarkable artist and engraver, he was also clairvoyant.  “I am under the direction of Messengers from Heaven Daily & Nightly,” he said. He abhorred institutionalized religion; his religion was a private communion with Spirit. His works inspired musical composers, like Hubert Parry who made Blake’s poem “Jerusalem,” the beautiful and unofficial anthem of England. It was the theme hymn of the unforgettable movie, “Chariots of Fire.” 

     The day Blake died, seeing his wife Catherine in tears, he cried, “Stay Kate!  Keep just as you are—I will draw your portrait—for you have ever been an angel to me.”  He promised to be with her always, then sang hymns and verses till near the end.

     “If the sun and moon should ever doubt,” he once said, “they’d immediately go out.”

     The light of a poet often appears early in life and can persist despite great disadvantages.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote poetry when she was 6 or 7.  A spinal injury at age 15 made her a virtual invalid. Yet she was a national figure in England before she was forty.

     An unnamed scholar in my old College Survey of English Literature wrote: “To Elizabeth Barrett Browning belongs the double honour of being one of the two or three most distinguished woman poets in English literature and the heroine of the most celebrated romance in English literary history.” Robert Browning admired her.  His first letter to her in January 1845 said: “Love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett.”  Then he added, “I love you too.”  Later, they met, and the love was mutual. Then Elizabeth wrote, “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.”     

     Elizabeth’s doctor told her to go to Italy for her health, but her stern father disallowed it, and he forbade her marriage.  So the couple married secretly in September 1846, and left for Italy. 

     In a poem Elizabeth wrote to Robert and indirectly to us all:

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 these things in themselves, Beloved, may

Be changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,

May be unwrought so.

But love me for love’s sake, that evermore

Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.”

 

     Her husband, Robert Browning, has been called “one of the great affirmative voices of English.” His cherished “Love Among the Ruins” contemplates a vanished empire where “one year they sent a million fighters forth…with their triumphs and their glories and the rest.” On the same field, Browning sees “a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair…[who] waits for me….”  Which is finest—the glory of an empire that time destroyed, or love that lives forever?  He decides, “Love is best.”

     The couple had a son and fifteen good years together in Italy before Elizabeth’s fragile health broke again.  She died in Robert’s arms in June 1861, Browning said, “smilingly, happily, with a face like a girl’s.”  Her last word was “beautiful.”

     The Romantics were very interested in Beauty.  Nature is beautiful, the virtues are beautiful, and Truth is beautiful.

     And Truth meant more than merely whether a statement was correct or false.  That’s how we see truth now—"did he lie or didn’t he lie.  He lied. Period.” Truth to the Romantics, is, as Jesus teaches in A Course in Miracles, what is eternally true, always true.  Elizabeth talked about Love’s eternity. And Robert said the source of Truth is always within, not sometimes, ALWAYS.  You may ignore it or resist it but it is ALWAYS there.  “Truth is within ourselves,” he wrote with passion; “it takes no rise from outward things, whate’re you may believe.  There is an inmost centre in us all, where Truth abides in fullness.”

     Anna Laetitia Barbauld, one of the founders of Romanticism, wrote:

 

“This dead of midnight is the noon of thought.

And Wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.

At this still hour the self-collected soul

Turns inward, and beholds a stranger there

Of high decent, and more than mortal rank;

An embryo God; a spark of fire divine.”

 

     The Romantics sought tirelessly the deepest meanings of Truth.  What is it, how do you find it, they mused constantly.  John Keats said: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that’s all ye need know on earth, and all ye need to know.  I can never feel certain of any truth, but from a clear perception of its beauty.” And Keats tried to live it. The master of the school Keats attended praised his “utter unconsciousness of a mean motive… I never heard a word of disapproval from anyone.”  Keats died of tuberculosis at age 25.

     The great theosophical master, N. Sri Ram said, “Truth, beauty and goodness stand or fall together. One test of Truth, therefore, is goodness; another is beauty.” Keats and Ram knew that when you see beauty, Truth will be there too.  Who are you?  You are beauty.  And that is the Truth. That is the Truth about you.  I once spoke here about the rescue of beauty which is really the rescue of your own self, the remembrance of who you really are.  And being beauty and Truth you are also Goodness.

     I will add to that epigram and create a new and richer one.  Truth, Beauty, Goodness and LOVE stand or fall together.  The great Romantic Lord Byron once said, “There are four questions of value in life…. What is sacred? Of what is the Spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same.  Only Love.” 

     Because Love is always seen with Truth, Beauty and Goodness.  One test of Love is beauty, love will always be beautiful, always; another test of LOVE is goodness; Love is always goodness.  And a third test of Love is always Truth.  Love is the Truth of your very being! Your Creator made you like Himself; God is Love, you are Love.  Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love stand or fall together.  Always true.

     People think, “All right, nice to see beauty once in a while, but I want something practical, something USEFUL!  But, the great French poet, Victor Hugo said, “The beautiful is as useful as the useful, perhaps more so.” How?  Explain that. When you see beauty, you automatically feel better.  And that is a very practical outcome. Its not rare.  Breathe in a aromatic peony, witness a kind gesture, witness a virtue like goodness, magnanimity or sincerity… experience integrity (that word is on my father’s tombstone), witness gentleness,  generosity, equanimity, forbearance, or forgiveness.  All these things are uplifting, endearing.  Those are very practical effects. You can feel them. 

     Cheerfulness is beauty, empathy is beauty, faithfulness is beauty, gentleness is beauty, friendship is beauty…. These are all part of the Company of the Good and that’s what I call the group I write to, because the usefulness of that Company is immense, incalculable, life altering.  Peace of mind is the most beautiful, practical, personal gain. Nothing else equals it, nothing. People tear themselves to shreds with anxieties, anger, loss, grief, grievances, guilt, regrets, self-attack and suicide. My wife and I toured the Great Lakes in June, and at one stop in the town of Killarney, I met an unusual man who looked like Davy Crocket.  I asked him what he did, and he said he looked after veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome.  Do you know what you see in a war, what you do in a war, what it does to you? It can rip you to pieces!   Among this man’s methods he would have these poor ex-soldiers put their feet in the freezing waters of Lake Huron, and take in the serenity around them, the beauty, the silence, the peace that all of them so cried for.

     People sometimes wonder about the coming of old age, and growing older I have to say I was uplifted by Robert Browning.

“Grow old along with me!

The rest is yet to be,

The last of life,

For which the first was made.

Our times are in HIs hand who sayeth,

‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half;

Trust God: see all nor be afraid.!”

 

     For me, Victor Hugo speaks for the whole Romantic period.  He was one of the greatest poets and writers of all time. “Woe alas to those who have loved only bodies, forms, appearances!” he warned.  “Death will rob them of everything. [Age will too!]  “Try to love souls,” he said. “You will find them again.”  Our world is fixated on bodies, forms, and appearances.  A man says, “Oh, she is the most beautiful angel that ever lived?”   A woman says, “He is so handsome, so powerful.”  Well, wait till he’s eighty, not so powerful, bent over, needing new hips and knees, and wearing “Depends.”   Bodies, forms, appearances, all morphing, changing….  No wonder Hugo said, “Try to love souls. You will find them again.” And they will still be beautiful, because they are eternal. 

     Not long before his passing, Victor Hugo said this, “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.  The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. For half a century I have been writing thoughts in prose, verse, history, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode and song.  I have tried them all, but I feel I have not said a thousandth part of that which is within me.  When I go down to the grave, I can say, ‘I have finished my day’s work, but I cannot say I have finished my life’s work. My day’s work will begin again the next morning.”

     So it is with each of us, in our own way, with our own gifts, our own blessings.

      William Blake had said, “In the universe there are things that are known and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”  All the Romantics were gravitating toward ever more radiant and expansive Beauty, Goodness, Truth and Love.  These were the doors they had opened.  And when you practise these great themes, live them, share them, teach them, you bless the world. And you have come to another door. Inside that room, there is a reminder, an altar, signifying the greatest gift you can ever give yourself in this life—peace, yes, peace, peace of mind. 

     It is as if that altar says to you in the words of Jesus in A Course in Miracles, Lesson 188, “The peace of God is shining in you now, and from your heart extends around the world. It pauses to caress each living thing and leaves a blessing with it that remains forever and forever…. The shining reminds the world of what it has forgotten.”  Remember now the gift of the forgotten song of the Romantic poets. And share that gift.  “To you the giver of the gift,” whatever it may be, says Jesus, “does God himself give thanks.”

Amazon link to The Forgotten Song of the Romantic Poets.

The Forgotten Song of the Romantic Poets: Jones, David C.: 9781738817108: Books - Amazon.ca  

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This blog site is dedicated to bringing readers to the awareness of my Elysium's Passage novel series. The title and plot summaries are listed below. My goal is to have the series published this year. 

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ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE NOVEL SERIES
 

THE ASCENT: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

THE SUMMIT: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

QUANTUM LEAPS: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

SURREAL ADVENTURES: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

MYSTICAL ROMANCE: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

THE ELIXIR: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

THE RETURN: Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage

 

1. The Ascent is the first novel in the Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage that’s foundational to everything that happens in the following narratives that embark on an adventure that will surprise and delight the reader like no other book.

It all begins with an extreme adventure of climbing a remote and challenging mountain somewhere in the Andean Mountains. Just as James, the protagonist, is about to reach the mountain summit, he falls into an abyss that leaves him in a coma for almost a year.

After being airlifted by a forestry helicopter and flown back to London, where his body remains for almost a year. Eventually, he learns it was not him but his body that was rescued. Several days later, without understanding what happened, he continues to climb to the summit in an alternate dimension of higher consciousness.

Fortuitously, he meets two adventurers on the summit ridge who are no longer of this world. After that, his surreal life leads him to several new adventures in the subsequent chronicles that include a rich mix of adventure, romance, and fantasy, along with profound discussions of philosophy, spirituality and the afterlife.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

2. The Summit, the second novel in the Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage, carries on where James, the narrator and protagonist, is taught more about a multidimensional reality that he finds difficult to comprehend.

Not only does he find he’s not as clever as he imagined, but his off-world companions on the summit demonstrate that much of what he believed about life was not just parochial but wrong. At first, he finds this difficult to comprehend since their teachings are contrary to his limited understanding of non-material reality.

After being tricked into teleporting off a ledge where he was trapped, James becomes aware of the new reality that makes him capable of far more adventures than could have ever been experienced previously in his physical body back home.

Now, if only he would win over the only woman in this life who matters, the nurse on the other side of the veil, who continually demonstrates her unconditional love toward his healing.

Warning: This book may also open the reader’s eyes to a much vaster reality than most might be aware. As with the other Chronicles, there are discussions of philosophy, the spiritual afterlife and what might seem like fantasy.

3. Quantum Leaps is the third novel in Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage, where James, the philosopher-protagonist, teleports back to London to visit his body and make contact with the special nurse taking care of it in his absence. Immediately, he feels an inexplicable spiritual bond with her for reasons he remains unaware of.

Now aroused by a renewed interest in matters of love, the beginnings of a relationship begin to emerge as he attempts to reach across the chasm of their worlds. But it’s not until the fifth novel, Mystical Romance, that he encounters her in a way that he finds difficult to believe.

However, before that can happen, there is much about his failed relationships that must be resolved before he is ready to move forward in his new life in Elysium’s Passage. It is during this time he christens his comatose body as the fall guy since it took the fall for him down the abyss so he could learn the lessons he’s now learning.

That will be the next focus of his life, where, in his next Surreal Adventures, he is given virtual lessons to release many of his past beliefs about life.

4. Surreal Adventures is the fourth novel in the Chronicles of Elysium’s Passage, which finds James, the protagonist and narrator, escorted by his companions to a remote South Pacific Island, where he is left to reflect on what he’s learned.

During the next forty days, he battles the demons of his past as he works through some rather painful issues from his early youth. Here, in a tropical storm, he encounters an eery suspended spectre of the one he loved yet still resents for abandoning him as a child.

After this, he achieves peace of mind and is ready to return to his lodge to join his off-world companions on the Andes summit. However, just when it seemed things couldn’t get any stranger, a sixteenth-century sea captain sails his ancient ‘ghost’ ship onto the beach. Together, they sail off on a mystical ocean voyage to a couple of virtual islands supposedly in the South Pacific, where he witnesses and, at times, participates in several important life lessons.

Near the end, these encounters help prepare him for a new challenge within the interior of a mountain, where he falls deep into a dark tomb of fear. After being rescued by a mysterious stranger wielding his Excaliber, he continues on to where his life is about to be transformed in the following chronicle, Mystical Romance. 

5. Mystical Romance is the fifth chronicle in Elysium’s Passage, which will surprise the reader with a romantic twist of how love is expressed in higher realms. From this lofty perspective, everything about intimacy is understood as within, so without.

After escaping his tomb, James, the narrator and protagonist, makes his way through a maze of tunnels until he arrives at a large oak door, which he opens with the golden key he had been given. There, he steps into Elysium’s Passage’s Great Hall, where his life and recent achievements are celebrated now that his eyes have been opened to perceive a fascinating interior world of wonderment… and romance.

To say more might risk diminishing the multitude of delightful surprises as circumstances begin to open to The Elixir, where James is about to re-enter his earthly body’s existence. 

6. The Elixir is the sixth chronicle of the Elysium’s Passage series that prepares James, the narrator-protagonist, to awaken and return to his body in London. Before that can happen, however, his off-worlder friend presents a mysterious equation enshrouded with a light code frequency that will stimulate multidimensional DNA strands within him.

Much of this narration is centred in London, where his nurse unknowingly becomes involved in how the Elixir’s equation finds its way from a taxi cab driver to higher echelons of science. There are many twists in how she unwittingly brings the Elixir to the attention of mathematicians and physicists, after which they eventually discover how to code the equation into a laser ray to stimulate his fall-guy body into full consciousness.

Ostensibly a new Adam, he is destined to return humanity to a higher multidimensional existence. How this happens is filled with intrigue, as is his shocking return to his earthly body.

 
­­­­­7. The Return is the seventh and last chronicle in the series where James, the narrator and protagonist, has re-emerged from Elysium’s Passage as he readjusts to life in the third dimension. Many of the events experienced in the previous novels are tied together in an exciting, fast-moving, action-packed narrative over several countries.

 At first, it seems all memories have been lost, with his fall guy’s brain not being aware of what happened to him while in his coma. As a consequence, it takes a while for him to be convinced he had been out of his earthly body for almost a year.

Through some rather unexpected events and evidence, along with his girlfriend’s urging, he is brought to an awareness of much of what occurred. It takes a while for his mind to catch up with the changes made in his heart during his stay in the alternate realm. But after experiencing several harsh realities, he discovers what he became within while out of his body. Gradually, he comes to understand the many challenges that lie ahead for him in fulfilling his future mission on Earth.

This book is filled with adventure, romance and personal intrigue, that ties together all six previous narratives of the Elysium’s Passage series.

For a limited time, the first half of The Return is posted on this blog site at: https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/The-Rerurn