Loveliness

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Hymn XIV. Loveliness  (1771) 
by Christopher Smart
From the Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771).
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                     HYMN XIV.                     

LOVELINESS.


Good-nature is thy sterling name,
      Yet loveliness is English too;[1]
Sweet disposition, whose bright aim,
      Is to the mark of Jesus true.

5 I've seen thee in an homely face,
      Excel by pulchritude[2] of mind;
To ill-form'd features give a grace,
      Serene, benevolent and kind.

'Tis when the spirit is so great,
10      That it the body still controuls,
As godly inclinations meet,
      In sweet society of souls.

It is that condescending air,
      Where perfect willingness is plain,
15To smile assent, to join in pray'r,
      And urg'd a mile to go it twain.[3]

To grant at once the boon preferr'd,
      By contrite foe, or needy friend;
To be obliging is the word,
20      And God's good blessing is the end.


1771

Notes

  1. 1—2. Cf.
    "God of English pray'r and laud,
    May good-nature speed at lenght..."
          — Smart's Hymn XXI (St. James), lines 44—45; as well as

     "Good-nature's an Englishman's merit
    A title all Britons desire;
    But We claim the name and the spirit,
    From the corner stone up to spire".
          — Smart's Song (A Mason is great and respected...), lines 8-11.
  2. 6. pulchritudehandsomeness instead in the ed. 1772a.
  3. 14, 16. See Jesus' words in the "Sermon on the Mount": "whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain" Matthew 5:41.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.