Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Milton, GKC and Cheese

In 1912 Robert Frost rented a five-room house in Beaconsfield, noting its location "within a mile or two of where Milton finished Paradise Lost and a mile or two of where Grey lies buried and within as many rods as furlongs of the house where Chesterton tries truth to see if it won't prove as true upside down, as it does right side up." [Lawrence Thompson, Robert Frost, New York, 1966, p. 394]
One of the excellent things about England's smallness is that you're always somewhere no matter where you are. Chesterton describes in his Autobiography, for example, how he once lived next door to Henry James.

But our connection for today is Milton, and we can have a little poem from The Coloured Lands for old times' sake. It's illustrated (minutely), but I do not have access to a scanner at the moment. I shall try to put it up later. Perhaps tomorrow, if Joe and Eric are still away.


Stilton and Milton
or Literature in the 17th and 20th Centuries
By G.K. Chesterton

Pardon, dear Lady, if this Christmas time,
The Convalescent Bard in halting rhyme
Thanks you for that great thought that still entwines
The Wicked Grocer with more wicked lines;
These straggling Crayon lines -- who cares for these,
Who knows the difference between Chalk and Cheese?

Not wholly sound the saw, accounted sure,
That weak things perish and strong things endure:
Milton, six volumes on my groaning shelves,
May groan till Judgement Day and please themselves
As, harsh with leaden type and leathery pride,
Puritan Bards must groan on Christmas tide:

My table groans with Stilton -- for a while:
Paradise Found not Lost, in Milton's style
Green as his Eden; as his Michael strong:
But O, my friend, it will not groan there long.

No comments: