Poetic Mouseman

TAKEN FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE ANTIQUE BREADBOARD MUSEUM, PUTNEY:

An octagonal ‘Mouseman’ breadboard carved by the Robert Thompson workshop in Kilburn, Yorkshire, a well-known establishment which still produces them today.

This unusual example is inscribed with four lines from a mystical poem entitled Immanence (1917) by Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), reproduced below in its entirety. The carved snippet, indicated in bold, refers to small furry creatures, the Mouseman’s trademark.

Every carver at the workshop develops their own unique mouse design which becomes a subtle signature, as carvers traditionally never named their work. Courtesy of; http://www.robertthompsons.co.uk/


And Nicholson & Lee, eds. The Oxford Book of Mystical Verse. 1917

I COME in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
Not borne on morning wings
Of majesty, but I have set My Feet
Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat

That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod.
There do I dwell, in weakness and in power;
Not broken or divided, saith our God!
In your strait garden plot I come to flower:
About your porch My Vine

Meek, fruitful, doth entwine;
Waits, at the threshold, Love’s appointed hour.
I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
Yea! on the glancing wings

Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet
Your hard and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes
That peep from out the brake, I stand confest.
On every nest

Where feathery Patience is content to brood
And leaves her pleasure for the high emprize
Of motherhood—
There doth My Godhead rest.

I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
My starry wings
I do forsake,
Love’s highway of humility to take:
Meekly I fit My stature to your need.

In beggar’s part
About your gates I shall not cease to plead—
As man, to speak with man—
Till by such art
I shall achieve My Immemorial Plan,
Pass the low lintel of the human heart.

(Nicholson & Lee, eds. The Oxford Book of Mystical Verse. 1917)

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