The organist was almost at the end of the anthem’s long introduction, and as the crescendo increases the cathedral began to glitter before my eyes until I felt as if every stone in the building was vibrating in anticipation of the sweeping sword of sound from the Choir.The note exploded in our midst, and at that moment I knew our creator had touched not only me but all of us, just as Harriet had touched that sculpture with a loving hand long ago, and in that touch I sensed the indestructible fidelity, the indescribable devotion and the inexhaustible energy of the creator as he shaped his creation, bringing life out of dead matter, wresting form continually from chaos. Nothing was ever lost, Harriet had said, and nothing was ever wasted because always, when the work was finally completed, every article of the created process, seen or unseen, kept or discarded, broken or mended – EVERYTHING was justified, glorified and redeemed.
They must live outside class, without relations or money; they must work and stick to each other till death. But England belonged to them. That, besides companionship, was their reward. Her air and sky were theirs, not the timorous millions' who own stuffy little boxes, but never their own souls.
Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross.
Do you realise that people die of boredom in London suburbs? It's the second biggest cause of death amongs the English in general. Sheer boredom...
If the surprise outcome of the recent UK referendum - on whether to leave or remain in the European Union - teaches us anything, it is that supposedly worthy displays of democracy in action can actually do more harm than good. Witness a nation now more divided; an intergenerational schism in the making; both a governing and opposition party torn to shreds from the inside; infinitely more complex issues raised than satisfactory solutions provided. It begs the question 'Was it really all worth it' ?
That evening I was the sole guest in the huge dining room, and it was the same startled person who took my order and shortly afterwards brought me a fish that had doubtless lain entombed in the deep-freeze for years. The breadcrumb armour-plating of the fish had been partly singed by the grill, and the prongs of my fork bent on it. Indeed it was so difficult to penetrate what eventually proved to be nothing but an empty shell that my plate was a hideous mess once the operation was over. The tartare sauce that I had had to squeeze out of a plastic sachet was turned grey by the sooty breadcrumbs, and the fish itself, or what feigned to be fish, lay a sorry wreck among the grass-green peas and the remains of soggy chips that gleamed with fat.
I know this goes without saying, but Stonehenge really was the most incredible accomplishment. It took five hundred men just to pull each sarsen, plus a hundred more to dash around positioning the rollers. Just think about it for a minute. Can you imagine trying to talk six hundred people into helping you drag a fifty-ton stone eighteen miles across the countryside and muscle it into an upright position, and then saying, 'Right, lads! Another twenty like that, plus some lintels and maybe a couple of dozen nice bluestones from Wales, and we can party!' Whoever was the person behind Stonehenge was one dickens of a motivator, I'll tell you that.
So does nobody care about Ireland?Nobody. Neither King Louis, nor King Billie, nor King James. He nodded thoughtfully. The fate of Ireland will be decided by men not a single one of whom gives a damn about her. That is her tragedy.
Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act which deprived a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
on a bike ride through the Surrey Lanes, pedalling in my cotton dress through the hot fields blushing with poppies, freewheeling down a sudden dip into a cool wooded sanctum.
First of all, you must never speak of anything by its name -- in that country. So, if you see a tree on a mountain, it will be better to say 'Look at the green on the high'; for that's how they talk -- in that country. And whatever you do, you must find a false reason for doing it -- in that country. If you rob a man, you must say it is to help and protect him: that's the ethics -- of that country. And everything of value has no value at all -- in that country. You must be perfectly commonplace if you want to be a genius -- in that country. And everything you like you must pretend not to like; and anything that is there you must pretend is not there -- in that country. And you must always say that you are sacrificing yourself in the cause of religion, and morality, and humanity, and liberty, and progress, when you want to cheat your neighbour -- in that country.Good heavens! cried Iliel, 'are we going to England?
If countries were named after the words you first hear when you go there, England would have to be called Damn It.
News of the death of James V on 14 December gave even further cause for rejoicing, because his heir was a week-old girl, the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. Scotland would be subject to yet another weakening regency—it had endured six during the past 150 years—and should give no further trouble.
If I had been an Italian I am sure that I should have been whole-heartedly with you from the start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.(Speech in Rome on 20 January, 1927, praising Mussolini)
Now, I have always wanted to agree with Lady Bracknell that there is no earthly use for the upper and lower classes unless they set each other a good example. But I shouldn't pretend that the consensus itself was any of my concern. It was absurd and slightly despicable, in the first decade of Thatcher and Reagan, to hear former and actual radicals intone piously against 'the politics of confrontation.' I suppose that, if this collection has a point, it is the desire of one individual to see the idea of confrontation kept alive.
I never could believe that Providencehad sent a few men into the world,ready booted and spurred to ride, andmillions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.
So spoke the man whose importance originated in the golden harvest he had reaped with the resistless hand of force, from the the legal, but unfortunate possessors, in a far distant region, where the conviction of riches proves certain destruction to the hapless natives, and poverty is considered as the greatest crime their European plunderers can possibly be accused of.
By vice, dissipation, and extravagance, [the nobility] have been driven to the most despicable, and often the most atrocious actions, for which persons in a humble line would be exemplarily punished, while men and women of rank claim the privilege of being infamous.
I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.
She was shocked when she followed her aunt and cousin down into the city proper. The streets were crawling with people, all hurrying to and fro, mindless of one another. They brushed by with barely even a glance, stepping down into the busy roads between horse drawn buses and draymen’s carts with such confidence, seemingly oblivious that they could be run down at any moment. Children dodged in and out amongst them, ragamuffins all, some barefoot.
He stood staring into the wood for a minute, then said: What is it about the English countryside — why is the beauty so much more than visual? Why does it touch one so?He sounded faintly sad. Perhaps he finds beauty saddening — I do myself sometimes. Once when I was quite little I asked father why this was and he explained that it was due to our knowledge of beauty's evanescence, which reminds us that we ourselves shall die. Then he said I was probably too young to understand him; but I understood perfectly.
What can the England of 1940 have in common with the England of 1840? But then, what have you in common with the child of five whose photograph your mother keeps on the mantelpiece? Nothing, except that you happen to be the same person.
And immediately we rushed like horses, wild with the knowledge of this song, and bolted into a startingly loud harmony: 'Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves; Britons, never-never-ne-verr shall be slaves!'and singing, I saw the kings and the queens in the room with us, laughing in a funny way, and smiling and happy with us. The headmaster was soaked in glee. And I imagined all the glories of Britannia, who, or what or which, had brought us out of the ships crossing over from the terrible seas from Africa, and had placed us on this island, and had given us such good headmasters and assistant masters, and such a nice vicar to teach us how to pray to God - and he had come from England; and such nice white people who lived on the island with us, and who gave us jobs watering their gardens and taking out their garbage, most of which we found delicious enough to eat...all through the ages, all through the years of history; from the Tudors on the wall, down through the Stuarts also on the wall, all through the Elizabethans and including those men and women singing in their hearts with us, hanging dead and distant on our schoolroom walls; Britannia, who, or what or which, had ruled the waves all these hundreds of years, all these thousands and millions of years, and kept us on the island, happy - the island of Barbados (Britannia the Second), free from all invasions. Not even the mighty Germans; not even the Russians whom our headmaster said were dressed in red, had dared to come within submarine distance of our island! Britannia who saw to it that all Britons (we on the island were, beyond doubt, little black Britons, just like the white big Britons up in Britannialand. The headmaster told us so!) - never-never-ne-verr, shall be slaves!
England is always remaking herself, her cliffs eroding, her sandbanks drifting, springs bubbling up in dead ground. They regroup themselves while we sleep, the landscapes through which we move, and even the histories that trail us; the faces of the dead fade into other faces, as a spine of hills into the mist.
Only eight months had gone since Henry VIII of England had been suspended in death, there to lie like Mohammed’s coffin, hardly in the Church nor out of it, attended by his martyrs and the acidulous fivefold ghosts of his wives. King Francis of France, stranded by his neighbour’s death in the midst of a policy so advanced, so brilliant and so intricate that it should at last batter England to the ground, and be damned to the best legs in Europe—Francis, bereft of these sweet pleasures, dwindled and died likewise.
History is about longing and belonging. It is about the need for permanence and the perception of continuity. It concerns the atavistic desire to find deep sources of identity. We live again in the twelfth or in the fifteenth century, finding echoes and resonances of our own time; we may recognise that some things, such as piety and passion, are never lost; we may also conclude that the great general drama of the human spirit is ever fresh and ever renewed. That is why some of the greatest writers have preferred to see English history as dramatic or epic poetry, which is just as capable of expressing the power and movement of history as any prose narrative; it is a form of singing around a fire.
Having lost and regained her freedom in the most extraordinary circumstances over the course of her remarkable lifetime, few could have set a higher price on the value of liberty. And yet, as she was well aware, it was only through the fundamental principles of justice that her liberty had finally been secured.
Lisbon, to me, is the Lisbon of Pessoa. Just like London is Woolf’s, or rather, Mrs. Dalloway’s. Barcelona is Gaudí's and Rome is da Vinci’s. You see them in every crevice and hear their echoes in every cathedral. I’d like to be the child, or rather, the mother of a city but I neither have a home nor a resting place. My race is humankind. My religion is kindness. My work is love and, well, my city is the walls of your heart.
Back at the cottage we explored the topography of my body; twigs in my hair, calves striped red and my skirt smudged in meadowtones. The forest underlined me, accentuated me, illustrated me. I felt alive in that midnight village whose dark places left their signatures on my skin, whose bites still hummed around my wrists. I didn’t notice till then the thousand nettle stings rising like pearls; burning bracelets that my love kissed and rubbed with dock leaves; a folk remedy painting my pulse points green; honorary stalks.
JACKThat is nonsense. If I marry a charming girl like Gwendolen, and she is the only girl I ever saw in my life that I would marry, I certainly won't want to know Bunbury.ALGERNONThen your wife will. You don't seem to realize, that in married life three is company and two is none.JACKThat, my dear young friend, is the theory that the corrupt French Drama has been propounding for the last fifty years.ALGERNONYes; and that the happy English home has proved in half the time.
Although a little noisy at first, in a bizarre twist of fate, electronic music became popular in France in the 1890’s before fizzling out in favor of Swing music – which somehow made an early appearance in the 1900’s. In another alternative timeline, the Beatles never existed and England invented popcorn and hamburgers in the 1840’s. Damn, that’s what almost happened last time again, thought Scrooby tensely, while maneuvering himself onto a stronger looking branch. Details, everything was about the details. Sometimes there was almost too much detail to keep up with.
In fact this is precisely the logic on which the Bank of England—the first successful modern central bank—was originally founded. In 1694, a consortium of English bankers made a loan of £1,200,000 to the king. In return they received a royal monopoly on the issuance of banknotes. What this meant in practice was they had the right to advance IOUs for a portion of the money the king now owed them to any inhabitant of the kingdom willing to borrow from them, or willing to deposit their own money in the bank—in effect, to circulate or monetize the newly created royal debt. This was a great deal for the bankers (they got to charge the king 8 percent annual interest for the original loan and simultaneously charge interest on the same money to the clients who borrowed it) , but it only worked as long as the original loan remained outstanding. To this day, this loan has never been paid back. It cannot be. If it ever were, the entire monetary system of Great Britain would cease to exist.
England and America owe their liberty to commerce, which created a new species of power to undermine the feudal system. But let them beware of the consequences: the tyranny of wealth is still more galling and debasing than that of rank.
England is not the jewelled isle of Shakespeare's much-quoted message, nor is it the inferno depicted by Dr Goebbels. More than either it resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control - that, perhaps is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.
He reasoned, even as a young man, that traditions may linger as he walked though the oracles of time. In later years he thought his mind may one day blur, should he survive to an old age, but as he spread ink on paper, transmitted and shared with those who came after him his experiences, his own grHe reasoned, even as a young man, that traditions may linger as he walked though the oracles of time. In later years he thought his mind may one day blur, should he survive to an old age, but as he spread ink on paper, transmitted and shared with those who came after him his experiences, his own great adventures, he believed perhaps they, like he, would give way to pause to reflect on how...hard it always was to open his eyes to begin a new day. eat adventures, he believed perhaps they, like he, would give way to pause to reflect on how goddamned hard it always was to open his eyes to begin a new day.
It is the kind of stoicism which had been seen as characteristic of Anglo-Saxon poetry, perhaps nowhere better expressed than in 'The Battle of Maldon' where the most famous Saxon or English cry has been rendered - 'Courage must be the firmer, heart the bolder, spirit must be the greater, as our strength grows less'. That combination of bravery and fatalism, endurance and understatement, is the defining mood of Arhurian legend.