On October 11, I posted an entry called "Safe in the Dark" that included reference to something my grandfather had quoted to me many years ago that I had always remembered the gist of but not the actual words. I asked if anyone knew the quote to which I referred to please let me know. Well, the identity of the mysterious quote was not forthcoming in subsequent e-mails, but the Christian Quotation of the Day delivery for yesterday (November 7) contained the quote I'd been looking for! Here it is:
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."
... Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957), "The Desert" (c. 1908)
Now that I have the quote, I did a Google search to see what else I could find out about it. Haskins was an American lecturer at the London School of Economics. She wrote as a hobby. The quote is an excerpt from a poem she wrote called "The Gate of the Year" which was published in a volume called The Desert. The poem, which was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother, gained international attention when King George VI quoted the above excerpt in his famous Christmas message broadcast in 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War.
It is engraved on bronze plaques on the entrance to the King George VI Memorial Chapel, Windsor, where they are both interred, and was read at the funeral service of the Queen Mother, held at Westminster Abbey on April 9, 2002. Interesting history--I'm so glad I now know this.
Here is the poem "The Gate of the Year"
"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 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
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.
So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention."