Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday morsel: "feeling is deep and still"

  The other night we went to the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown to see a performance of a new Canadian musical, "Evangeline."  It is based on Longfellow's fictional poem about a young newly-married couple separated during the British expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia in the 1750's.  It is a sad and moving story of a young woman, Evangeline, who spends her life searching for her beloved husband Gabriel; it's also the story of the sorrow and resilience of the Acadian people.  The musical was excellent.  I had never read Longfellow's poem before, so I got it out of the library to read ahead of time.  It is also really beautiful, and I particularly liked this passage about the relationship between our words and feelings.

After the sound of their oars on the tholes had died in the distance, 
As from a magic trance the sleepers awoke, and the maiden 
Said with a sigh to the friendly priest -- "O Father Felician!  

Something says in my heart that near me Gabriel wanders. 
Is it a foolish dream, an idle vague superstition? 
Or has an angel passed, and revealed the truth to my spirit?" 
Then, with a blush, she added -- "Alas for my credulous fancy! 
Unto ears like thine such words as these have no meaning." 
But made answer the reverend man, and he smiled as he answered --
"Daughter, thy words are not idle; nor are they to me without meaning.
Feeling is deep and still; and the word that floats on the surface 
Is as the tossing buoy, that betrays where the anchor is hidden. 
Therefore trust to thy heart, and to what the world calls illusions." 


  1. Trust to what the world calls illusions - great wisdom, Jeannie.

    1. I love the fact that it's the priest who says this, too: he understands Evangeline's quest.

  2. The thought that this reality - families, couples, divided artificially - is devastating to my mind. The callousness of one society to another repeats itself throughout history. Such cruelty life offers, from time to time.
    Longfellow captures the history beautifully - what pathos!

    1. That's what I thought, too, Sarah: that the Evangeline story, or some version thereof, has been repeated throughout all cultures in all time. Very sad. Thanks for commenting. xo


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