Tuesday, May 16

This England

Whenever I visit England, I will inevitably call to mind this very nearly transcendent prose-poem of William Shakespeare:

This royal throne of kings,
This sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty,
This seat of Mars,
This other Eden,
This demi-paradise,
This fortress built by nature herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men,
This little world.
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot,
This earth,
This realm,
This England.
Renowned for deeds as far from home
For Christian service and true chivalry
As unto the Holy Sepulchre itself, this land
Of such dear souls,
This dear, dear land:
This England.

4 comments:

Amber Benton said...

My book club just began reading A Passion for the Impossible which is the story of Lilias Trotter. It begins with a short history of the progress of Victorian England (Railway Age and the Industrial Era)and the 'town planning' of John Nash. We read these first few pages aloud tonight and then I came home and read your lastest entries. Enjoy your trip!

Truth, Order , Beauty
Amber

Gretchen Trump said...

George:

Oh how my husband & I long to return to England! Just months after our wedding we went to England where he studied architecture. Our studies (I came along for the adventure) took us to many glorious buildings, gardens and lectures. One of the most memorial places was the catacombs of St Paul. We actually stood on the roof (well, he did -- I was afraid of falling). There's a beautiful wooden model of St Paul that Christopher Wren had constructed. It is to scale and is elevated to shoulder height so one can see throughout the structure. We also loved Kew Gardens -- spending as much time there as possible.
Have a great time!

Alan K.Farrar said...

But it does go on:

This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world, 60
Is now leas’d out,—I die pronouncing it,—
Like to a tenement, or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege 64
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.

larry white said...

"It does go on..." Thanks, George and Alan. Shakespeare the sublime poet and prophetic tragedian.