Thursday, November 23, 2006


Hope, by George Frederick Watts (comments by the Bookshelf for Boys and Girls, copyright 1948, The University Society, Inc. New York).

"Some pictures there are which do not tell a direct story, but convey a message to us by a symbol. The more we study them the more their lessons come home to us, to live in our hearts forever.

"Such a painting is this lovely one by the English artist, Watts -- copies of which we can see on the walls of many homes. What does it mean? Let us see.

"Here is a lonely figure and one that expresses sorrow and dejection. She is huddled down with bent shoulders as though at the limit of her strength and courage. Dusk is falling all about her, and there is not even a star in the sky. But if there were she could not see it, because her eyes are bandaged. Could anyone be more forlorn than this?

"But look closer. In her left hand she clutches a small harp, or lyre. One after another of its strings has been broken, until only one remains. Tremblingly she strokes this string with her other hand. And hark! A low, sweet note breaks upon the stillness of the night. It sings its message into her soul.

"'Do not despair, faint heart!' it sings. 'There is a God above, and he is watching over you, just as he watches over the sparrows. Do not give up. Hope!' As she listens to the whispering harp tones, her face loses its drawn and hopeless look. She hearkens eagerly, wistfully. Again she strikes the one remaining string, and as its clear, full note vibrates, she hugs the harp more closely to her. She has still something to live for.

"That is, indeed, what Hope is. It is one of God's good gifts to us. We can still fight on, under the greatest discouragements, if we only have Hope."


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