Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Hind

I've been re-reading John Dryden after too long an absence. I'd forgotten how much I love the English of the 17th Century.  Dryden's use of language has hardly been surpassed and his Tory sensibilities and Catholic heart give his writings added potency.

The Hind and the Panther is an allegorical work about the Catholic Faith to which he had recently and sincerely converted.  The Hind represents the Catholic Church; the Panther, the Anglicans.  His vision of the Church is what keeps me within the fold.  She is Truth, though you have to seek her out.  She has a light touch and a fleetness of foot, She is beautiful and unchanging......

.... yet She is obscured in a forest of fakery; of polyester, obfuscation, ugliness, bitterness and verbiage.  We all desperately need to desire to connect with Her again.  I'll quote the first 18 lines and trust you get the message. It could have been written for these strange times.

A milk-white Hind, immortal and unchanged,
Fed on the lawns and in the forest ranged;
Without unspotted, innocent within,
She feared no danger, for she knew no sin.
Yet had she oft been chased with horns and hounds
And Scythian shafts, and many winged wounds
Aimed at her heart; was often forced to fly,
And doomed to death, though fated not to die....

Panting and pensive now she ranged alone,
And wandered in the kingdoms once her own.
The common hunt, though from their rage restrained
By sovereign power, her company disdained,
Grinned as they passed, and with glaring eye
Gave gloomy signs of secret enmity.
'Tis true she bounded by, and tripped so light,
They had not time to take a steady sight;
For truth has such a face and mien
As to be loved needs only to be seen.

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