Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 23 April 2010

St George's Day - 23rd April 2010

Today is St George's Day, so I am wishing English readers all the best on this their Patron Saint's Day!

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

A poem by William Blake
(from the preface to his epic poem "Milton")

An older and somewhat more iconic image of England is portrayed in the play Henry V by William Shakespeare; here is the famous speech in Act III, Scene I, here spoken by the fine actor Laurence Olivier:

"Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!"

(Please note that this production was staged during the early 1940s under what must have
been very difficult wartime conditions, hence the somewhat amateurish stage props,
but Shakespeare's words remain as powerful as ever.)

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