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Shelley - Sydney Waterlow

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SHELLEY:  AN ESSAY

The Church, which was once the mother of poets no less than of
saints, during the last two centuries has relinquished to aliens the
chief glories of poetry, if the chief glories of holiness she has
preserved for her own.  The palm and the laurel, Dominic and Dante,
sanctity and song, grew together in her soil:  she has retained the
palm, but forgone the laurel.  Poetry in its widest sense, {1} and
when not professedly irreligious, has been too much and too long
among many Catholics either misprised or distrusted; too much and
too generally the feeling has been that it is at best superfluous,
at worst pernicious, most often dangerous.  Once poetry was, as she
should be, the lesser sister and helpmate of the Church; the
minister to the mind, as the Church to the soul.  But poetry sinned,
poetry fell; and, in place of lovingly reclaiming her, Catholicism
cast her from the door to follow the feet of her pagan seducer.  The
separation has been ill for poetry; it has not been well for
religion.

Fathers of the Church (we would say), pastors of the Church, pious
laics of the Church:  you are taking from its walls the panoply of
Aquinas--take also from its walls the psaltery of Alighieri.  Unroll
the precedents of the Church's past; recall to your minds that
Francis of Assisi was among the precursors of Dante; that sworn to
Poverty he forswore not Beauty, but discerned through the lamp
Beauty the Light God; that he was even more a poet in his miracles
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