This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Magna est Veritas by Coventry Patmore

Does this man look like a poet?

Portrait of Coventry Patmore.jpg
Coventry Patmore by John Singer Sargent

Does 'Coventry Patmore' sound like a poet?

This is what Coventry Patmore himself said about his poetry:

'I have written little, but it is all my best; I have never spoken when I had nothing to say, nor spared time or labour to make my words true.'

I suppose this marks him down as a sincere, and probably talented, amateur. (Few professional writers will always to have something to say before they begin to write, though the best will make sure that something worthwhile emerges before they've finished.)

Coventry Patmore is most famous (which is, admittedly, not very famous at all) for his very long poem The Angel in the House, but here's one of his shorter poems, Magna est Veritas.

It can't say it really reads like the work of a great anything; but I find it endearing, all the same.

Here, in this little Bay,
Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
Where, twice a day,
The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,
Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
I sit me down.
For want of me the world's course will not fail;
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevails or not.

Word To Use Today: veritas. Veritas was the Roman goddess of truth, who is said, in the most annoying manner, to hide at the bottom of a deep well. This Latin word is most usually met with in the phrase in vino veritas, which mean in wine, truth.

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