Love me forever.

December 31, 2004 | 5 comments
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The prophets have never forbidden us to mingle the poetry of men with scripture. Far from it.

For a long time now we’ve associated William Wordsworth and trailing clouds of glory do we come with the truths of our premortal existence.

We could likewise associate Robert Browning (and, oh, a thousand other poets) with the institutions of celestial and temporal marriage.

Here is the Lord on the subject:

And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection . . .

Here is Robert Browning. When asked about the refrain he responded that it was “a mournful comment on the short duration of the conventional ‘forever’”.

So, the year’s done with!
(Love me forever!)
All March begun with,
April’s endeavor;
May-wreaths that bound me,
June needs must sever;
Now snow falls round me,
Quenching June’s fever–
(Love me forever!)

Browning and his wife Elizabeth Barrett seemed to have loved each other more than the conventional forever. But Elizabeth was among those baptized in the famous occasion at St. George Temple and Robert Browning was not. What this means I cannot say.

5 Responses to Love me forever.

  1. David King Landrith on January 1, 2005 at 2:44 am

    Interesting. For my part, I’ve always considered Kipling’s “Gunga Din” to be a great argument for temple work and Poe’s “The Raven” to be a decent argument for the Word of Wisdom.

  2. Jim F. on January 1, 2005 at 3:14 am

    David, if you’ll translate “The Raven” into French (a language and culture that I know you love deeply), you’ll discover that it isn’t, as it appears to be in English, merely the boringly repetitious result of too much absinthe. I don’t know what happens to Gunga Din in French, but I once heard it in Korean. That translation didn’t improve it.

  3. David King Landrith on January 1, 2005 at 10:21 am

    Jim F., your comment on verse translation brings to mind the song “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” which actually appears in the Japanese hymnal. The chorus (“A sunbeam, a sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam…”) sounds funny enough in Japanese that in the MTC many of the elders would sing it in the shower each morning.

    I’m also curious what the penultimate lines of “Gunga Din” sound like in Korean:

    So I’ll meet him later on
    At the place where he is gone—
    Where it’s always double drill and no canteen;
    He’ll be squattin’ on the coals
    Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
    I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din.

  4. Adam Greenwood on January 1, 2005 at 2:44 pm

    Forgive my unpardonable ignorance. The mystery is now explained.

    Elizabeth Barret Browning died in 1861.

    Wilford Woodruff did the work for her and the other eminent spirits in 1877.

    Robert Browning died in 1889.

  5. Larry on January 1, 2005 at 7:19 pm

    Adam,

    An excellent post as usual. Thomas Moore wrote a love poem for his wife after she had her face pock-marked by small pox (in the early 1800′s I believe) that has been turned into a popular Irish tune, titled “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms”.

    Orson F. Whitney records:
    Closely akin to these reflections, are some pointed and telling lines in which the poet Lowell expresses his conviction regarding the influence of the unseen world upon the world visible. The action of the poem from which the lines are taken deals with Oliver Cromwell and John Hampden, English patriots, who are represented as about to flee from the tyranny of King Charles the First, and seek a new home overseas, joining the little band of Puritans who have already found a haven on western Atlantic shores. Hampden urges flight, but Cromwell hesitates. Something within tells him not to go—tells him that Freedom has a work for him to go—tells him that Freedom has a work for him to do, not in America, but in his own land, where he afterwards overthrew the royal tyrant, became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and broadened and deepened the foundations of English liberty. The opening verses of the poem contain the crux of the whole matter under discussion:

    We see but half the causes of our deeds,
    Seeking them wholly in the outer life,
    And heedless of the encircling spirit world,
    Which, though unseen, is felt, and sows in us
    All germs of pure and world-wide purposes.
    The fate of England and of freedom once
    Seemed wavering in the heart of one plain man.
    One step of his, and the great dial-hand
    That marks the destined progress of the world
    In the eternal round from wisdom on
    To higher wisdom, had been made to pause
    A hundred years. That step he did not take—
    He knew not why, nor we, but only God,
    And lived to make his simple oaken chair
    More terrible and grandly beautiful,
    More full of majesty than any throne,
    Before or after, of a British king. fn

    (Orson F. Whitney, Saturday Night Thoughts [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921], .)

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