"Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty's self and beauty's giver" The Poem Elizabeth Taylor Chose to Be Read at Her Funeral

Having heard this, I believe I have now, at last, heard everything. Everything. Yes, everything beautiful and terrible and lovely and loathsome in a mere minute's breath. Beautiful.

Posted by Joan of Argghh! at December 8, 2010 3:36 AM

Oh my - so wonderful, poem and reader.
"beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty's self and beauty's giver."
Thanks for posting this.

Posted by Cyndy at December 8, 2010 5:02 AM

wow. I tripped over the words while reading it aloud in my head.

Posted by pdwalker at December 8, 2010 8:27 AM

This is amazing. I never knew before how a Hopkins poem should sound.

Posted by Barry from Victoria at December 8, 2010 9:16 AM


Wikipedia notes that "Hopkins was deeply impressed with the work of Christina Rossetti", and it is getting to be that time of the year, isn't it, Gerard?

Posted by Cris at December 8, 2010 4:34 PM

I cant believe that you posted this today. I am just back from the cancer hospice where my father died at about noon. This poem really gave me something to think about. I thought about how strong my father was, and so full of vitality just a few months ago (in August) and how quickly he deteriorated. I thought about the terror he must have felt, and how terribly small he looked today when I looked down on him. He was always so careful about himself, his hygiene and his personal appearance, his personal space and his independence. By the end he had lost all of it, and the weathers of age had ripped all of his pretenses away, leaving him "naked on the naked earth" as Malcolm Muggeridge used to say. My dad was a great man, and there are no more like him in the world today, guided by a moral compass and a work ethic forged somewhere in the murky distant past. Maybe people hearing and reading this poem can know him.

Posted by Henry Delaney at December 9, 2010 2:54 PM

May your father rest with God, Mr. Delaney.

Posted by vanderleun at December 9, 2010 3:47 PM

How wonderful! I stumbled upon this site while looking up a Hopkins quote John Lawrence said in the Story "The Sword and the Doll" in Van Der Post's The Seed and the Sower. Thank you so much.

Posted by Alfred Heath at March 16, 2011 3:18 PM

Ah, the beauty of the spoken word in one of the most amazing voices given by God to an actor, Sir Richard Burton. Beautiful.

Posted by Carmen Hernandez-Ochoa at March 25, 2011 2:09 PM

To hear Richard Burton's glorious reading of this poem, knowing that it was just read at Elizabeth Taylor's funeral and knowing too that she was his greatest love, gave me shivers. Now their love has come full circle with her death.

Posted by Robin Brasso at March 29, 2011 3:04 PM

Ah...I see why Elizabeth Taylor chose this...rather challenging poem for her funeral. How gorgeously he reads it.

Posted by yekdeli at March 30, 2011 2:01 PM

Thanks for pointing this out. I'll bump it back for the fact and for the sheer beauty of it.

Posted by vanderleun at March 30, 2011 3:07 PM