The speaker marvels at the scene. Here is a love that has been frozen in time. Centuries have passed and the delight between the two lovers has not faded. The youth and beauty that attract them to one another have not diminished. The melody that the young man plays on the flute is eternally new – and the young lady never grows weary of listening to it. The tree beneath which the young people lie never loses its leaves of spring. The speaker is so happy for the two lovers. Their moment of pure bliss has been perpetually preserved, permanently glaze-fired on the urn, never to fade away.
There is one brief moment of pang in the poem. At one point the speaker realizes that, because the two lovers are frozen in this moment, the young man never will be able to kiss the maiden. Even so he tells them, “Do not grieve” because “she cannot fade… forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!”
It is a poem of eternal love. It is a poem that helps us to reflect on the love of God. God’s is a love that never grows wearisome, through all times thrills our hearts, and never fades. It is continually fresh and new – forever preserved and perpetuated for us. Although the love of God is a love so great and unbounded that it can never fully be consummated, we do not grieve, because forever will we love and the great bliss will never fade.
I love the poem. How much of the art and culture surrounding us today seeks truly to inspire us and to lift our hearts and minds to higher things? What a gift it can be to our spirits when we become exposed to finer things that help us to contemplate greater beauty, higher good, sophisticated ideas, and lasting truths.
We celebrate this week Catholic Schools Week. It is a week in which we celebrate what a difference it makes when we pass on to our children not mere facts and occupational skills but a Catholic culture and philosophies that inspire and aim higher. We help their spirits to be elevated by prayer and wonder. We share with them religious truths and uplifting beliefs. We teach them to love and adore God who is eternal love. We share with them the Bread of Life.
Our children need help to grow holy and beautiful. More than anything, children need God. We all do. When we know God, we are raised up and we rise above. Always aim higher.