The great paradox

I have been meaning to write about George Matheson for a while, since we have been singing quite of few of his hymns recently. The most famous one is O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, and it is really beautiful. But today, I wanted to share another one that I love:

Make me a captive Lord, & then I shall be free
Force me to render up my sword,
and I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms
when by myself I stand;
Imprison me within thine arms,
and strong shall be my hand

My heart is weak & poor
until it master find;
it has no spring of action sure,
it varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move
till thou hast wrought its chain;
enslave it with thy matchless love,
and deathless it shall reign.

My power is faint and low
till I have learned to serve;
it lacks the needed fire to glow,
it lacks the breeze to nerve.
It cannot drive the world
until itself be driven;
its flag can only be unfurled
when thou shalt breathe from heaven.

My will is not my own
till thou hast made it thine;
if it would reach a monarch’s throne,
it must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent
amid the clashing strife,
when on thy bosom it has leant,
and found in thee its life.

The paradoxes are so wonderful, as J would say. Statements that appear to contradict themselves, but yet might be true! Become a captive to be free, give up your sword to be conqueror, imprison me within thine arms and strong shall be my hand. When you are weak, you are strong (P), when you lose your life, you find it (JC). When you give up your power to be seemingly powerless, that is when you are truly strong. Matheson went blind at 20, and seems to have known fame as well as heartbreak. Thank you for your poetry.

On a lighter note, here’s a cartoon by free culture activist Nina Paley:

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