Sometimes Bartlett's Familiar Quotations surprises me. (It's one book, so it surprises.) The quotations turn out to be longer than what I consider the familiar part, or the title is different than what I "know." Both have happened with the quotation that I love when I think about facing a new year. Here it is, from my Bartlett's:
"And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied: 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.' So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East."
-- "God Knows" (1908), poem by Minnie Louise Haskins.
It's the footnote that will be more familiar to most of the world: "Quoted by George VI in a radio broadcast to the Empire, December 25, 1939."
As recorded in the book version of "The King's Speech" (by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, Sterling Publishing, 2010), Britain's King George VI quoted from this poem during his annual Christmas broadcast on Christmas Day, 1939. However, he stopped after "safer than a known way," then added, "May that Almighty hand guide and uphold us all."
As marvelous as the movie version of "The King's Speech" is, I wanted it to go on after the beautiful speech on Sept 3, 1939, the beginning of World War II. I wanted the film to end with this beautiful quotation.
I didn't get my wish then, but I can provide this story for you on the eve of 2015. Beginning this blog in July was only one of this year's risks, and it has provided many of this year's rewards. Thank you all for coming along.
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