Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blessings!

Thanksgiving Prayer

Rendered words will to Thee, on knees before,
Call blessings down on us from blessedness
On all the temptings, Thine, we do adore
But hold as bliss in brief possessedness.
O, Giving One, Thy name on high be praised,
Thou, us, hast given surfeit, rich with wine
Not want. Here satisfacted hands are raised
To call this Annum’s bountied harvest Thine.
And families all, beneath thy heaven sing
Of faithfulness to such as mortal clay.
Your eyes and ears patrol the earth to bring
Our humbly proffered plea to thee today.
Before Thy throne we lift the goodly year
May Thy great goodness bless today with cheer.


by Evan Wilson

8 comments:

Philistine said...

Any reason for the KJV English?

The Oracle said...

It was the overwhelming pressure of facing a prayer (always in KJV in my youth as a Southern Baptist) and the conceit of "real" poetry. It also fit the ambiguously undated setting. You have to admit that "your" has less than "thine".

Thomas Banks said...

Mostly good. Are the "Temptings" of line three foodstuffs? I guess it's hard to mention Thanksgiving Day food by name and retain one's command of poetic repose, viz, "May thy Empyrean host from stuffing save me,/ As from those paths which lead unto the gravy"

Matthew N. Petersen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew N. Petersen said...

Back in the 1600's "thou" was the more familiar form. You would say "you" to anyone, but only thou to people you were familiar with.

Today thou can be used in two ways. First it can be used mock reverentially to create distance "And thou O Lord art a great God..."

But outside of poor religous imitations of KJ English, it still retains something of the intimate commotations from the 1600's. For instance, in this short passage about Wordsworth's sister, from Tintern Abbey (Written around 1800) changing "thy" to "your" completely destroys the intimacy between him and his sister.

"Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes."

"Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For you are with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; you my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in your voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of your wild eyes."

Hm...anyway, I think in a poem like this the use of thou is quite justified.

Jeff Moss said...

Matt,

My first impression is just that Wordsworth thinks he's talking to God.

Maybe capitalizing the "F" in "Friend" also has something to do with that.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

The next two lines run:

"Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once, My dear, dear Sister!"

But I think you could find similar examples elsewhere.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Notice how in that section changing it to:

"Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in you what I was once, My dear, dear Sister!"

again ruins the intimacy and intensity.