Posted by: Wayne | May 22, 2011

Some things never change

I have been reading The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton to the kids over the past couple of days, and was just struck by how true parts of it are.  The following passage is from Book VIII. The Scouring of the Horse

          "Though I give this land to Our Lady,
          That helped me in Athelney,
          Though lordlier trees and lustier sod
          And happier hills hath no flesh trod
          Than the garden of the Mother of God
          Between Thames side and the sea,

          "I know that weeds shall grow in it
          Faster than men can burn;
          And though they scatter now and go,
          In some far century, sad and slow,
          I have a vision, and I know
          The heathen shall return.

          "They shall not come with warships,
          They shall not waste with brands,
          But books be all their eating,
          And ink be on their hands.

          "Not with the humour of hunters
          Or savage skill in war,
          But ordering all things with dead words,
          Strings shall they make of beasts and birds,
          And wheels of wind and star.

          "They shall come mild as monkish clerks,
          With many a scroll and pen;
          And backward shall ye turn and gaze,
          Desiring one of Alfred's days,
          When pagans still were men.

          "The dear sun dwarfed of dreadful suns,
          Like fiercer flowers on stalk,
          Earth lost and little like a pea
          In high heaven's towering forestry,
          —These be the small weeds ye shall see
          Crawl, covering the chalk.

          "But though they bridge St. Mary's sea,
          Or steal St. Michael's wing—
          Though they rear marvels over us,
          Greater than great Vergilius
          Wrought for the Roman king;

          "By this sign you shall know them,
          The breaking of the sword,
          And man no more a free knight,
          That loves or hates his lord.

          "Yea, this shall be the sign of them,
          The sign of the dying fire;
          And Man made like a half-wit,
          That knows not of his sire.

          "What though they come with scroll and pen,
          And grave as a shaven clerk,
          By this sign you shall know them,
          That they ruin and make dark;

          "By all men bond to Nothing,
          Being slaves without a lord,
          By one blind idiot world obeyed,
          Too blind to be abhorred;

          "By terror and the cruel tales
          Of curse in bone and kin,
          By weird and weakness winning,
          Accursed from the beginning,
          By detail of the sinning,
          And denial of the sin;

          "By thought a crawling ruin,
          By life a leaping mire,
          By a broken heart in the breast of the world,
          And the end of the world's desire;

          "By God and man dishonoured,
          By death and life made vain,
          Know ye the old barbarian,
          The barbarian come again—

          "When is great talk of trend and tide,
          And wisdom and destiny,
          Hail that undying heathen
          That is sadder than the sea.

          "In what wise men shall smite him,
          Or the Cross stand up again,
          Or charity or chivalry,
          My vision saith not; and I see
          No more; but now ride doubtfully
          To the battle of the plain."

This passage certainly made me stop and think a while.  Currently, liberalism is continuing its slow, seemingly inexorable march by way of the schools and the courts.  In so many ways, it is sad just what is valued in today’s society, and how little of actual worth is upheld.  There are not many things I can personally do to reverse this trend, but I do what I can.  I fully intend to raise my sons to be gentlemen, and my daughter to be a lady.  There are so many things to teach them at the proper time:

  • That there are such things as right and wrong, and they can be known.  Relativism is as insidious as it is dangerous.
  • To love good and loathe evil.
  • To love unreservedly, but appropriately.
  • To defend that which they love, to the death if necessary.
  • That there are some things so despicable that they must be destroyed.
  • That there are evils even worse than war and death.
  • That one cannot compromise with evil.  Mostly evil is still evil.
  • There is still truth, beauty, goodness, and love in the world; these cannot be destroyed.

It is not much, but it is something.


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