The feature Hugh’s Journals appears here Sundays. For some basic background on Rev. Hugh Bebb Jones and his notebooks click here.
Most of the poetry in Hugh’s notebooks is not the kind of verse a non-pastor would read and/or collect. But Hugh, as a good shepherd read always with one eye on his flock… a poem to help a widow with her grief, a poem for a sermon on charity, a poem about loneliness or anxiety or God’s grand creation.
Yet sprinkled throughout his notebooks are a number of poems that easily catch a non-pastor’s attention… Wordsworth, Shelley, and even Byron. I have come to think of these kinds of poems (and lines from various kinds of books) as “Hugh’s Collection.” Poems and lines he liked for themselves… for their sheer pleasure. Predictably, these are the pages that are my favorites.
Today’s excerpt is an example of this, a few lines from Byron on the beauty of Athens (a place he had visited). Byron, of course, is the least Calvanistic man who has ever lived. And yet in a notebook of very average religious verse Hugh included this poem… and pairs it on a page with some lines from The Westminster Confession of Faith! For Hugh, faith and art… faith and beauty… faith and every good thing are always paired.