Wednesday, February 18, 2015

From My Commonplace: Kindness that Leads to Repentance

Today's quote is another section from Tennyson's Idylls of the King.  This bit comes from the end of the fourth idyll, Geraint and Enid.  Towards the end of the story, they meet again with Edryn, a rascal who had given them some difficulty earlier in the tale, but has now been 'reformed'.  This is what he has to say:
"And all the penance the Queen laid upon me
Was but to rest awhile within her court;
Where first as sullen as a beast new-cage,
And waiting to be treated like a wolf,
Because my deeds were known, I found,
Instead of scornful pity or pure scorn,
Such fine reserve and noble reticence,
Manners so kind, yet stately, such a grace
Of tenderest courtesy, that I began
To glance behind me at my former life,
And find that it had been the wolf's indeed.
And oft I talked with Dubric, the high saint,
Who with mild heat of holy oratory,
Subdued me somewhat to that gentleness
Which when it weds with manhood,
Makes a man."
 ~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King, "Geraint and Enid" Lines 852-868

I love that bit at the end about "gentleness wed with manhood" which truly makes a man.  I also loved that the Queen treated him gently, when he expected and deserved harshness, and that is part of what pricked his conscience and led him to repentance.  I often find this true when dealing with my own children in discipline situations.  When I am cranky and harsh, they may change their behavior, but does it prick their hearts?  I suspect not – I suspect they are reacting more from fear of punishment.  But when I react gently,  treat them kindly and with respect…then we are on the same team.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, perhaps true heart level change can take place.

In My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Revelation, with a commentary The Final Word (Wilmshurst)
Theological or Christian Living: Age of Opportunity (Tripp)
Book Discussion Group Titles: Idylls of the King (Tennyson), Watership Down (Adams), The Everlasting Man  (Chesterton)
On Education: How to Read a Book (Adler)
Topics of Special Interest: The New World (Churchill)
Novel/Biography/Memoir: Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging (Gardner)
Read-Alouds with the Children: On the Banks of Plum Creek (Wilder), The Silver Chair (Lewis), Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold (Benge), The Milly Molly Mandy Story Book (Brisley)
On the Back Burner: Inferno (Dante), The Abolition of Man (Lewis)

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  1. Isn't it true that undeserved gentleness if often much more effective than deserved censure? I have to remember that, as gentleness is NOT my strong suit.

    And I had to laugh that Dante's Inferno is "on the back burner." ;)

  2. That last part is amazing. Thanks for sharing; I'll be adding that one to my commonplaces, I think!