Monday, March 25, 2013

All Shall Be Well

The Three Desires of Julian of Norwich

Sometimes I do a bit a research just for the fun of it. This morning, a tweet from Liz Burns sent me on my merry way:

I discovered that this quote is attributed to Julian of Norwich, a 14th-15th century Christian mystic. Her visions while seriously ill led her to write Revelations of Divine Love (ca. 1393), purportedly the first book composed in the English language by a woman. Despite living in a time of turmoil, punctuated by peasant revolts and outbreaks of the Black Death, Julian believed in a merciful and loving deity. She claimed that her famous "All will be well..." was spoken directly to her by God.

The lines were incorporated into T. S. Eliot's Little Gidding (1941-42):
"Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us—a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching."

In more recent times, Julian's words appear in an amazing variety of song lyrics:

Pete Townshend (from The Iron Man: The Musical, 1989)

Anderson Peterson (from The Far Country, 2005)

A more traditional rendition by OHRWURM Folk Orchestra (c. 2012)

And for Easter, from the Oremus Hymnal (1984)
All shall be well! Lift every voice on high;"Death has no more dominion but shall die."

Poetry, song lyrics, even the title of a murder mystery...Julian of Norwich's words live on. Tracking down the source of this quote, and its modern manifestations, was a lovely little task for a Monday morning.

Thanks for the inspiration, Liz!

"ALL SHALL BE WELL" By Leo Reynolds

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