“A Better World”

Sunday, June 19, AD 2016

A guest post from commenter Fabio Paolo Barbieri :


I am a great lover of marches, patriotic hymns, and national anthems. I can sing with equal pleasure and enthusiasm many of the old Communist songs and “Charlie is my Darling” or the Marseillaise or the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Any song that expresses a great enthusiasm for something felt to be good and noble, and a desire to march and fight together to achieve it, does something for me; even though I may, as with Communism or the Confederacy, disapprove of the cause that produced it.Nonetheless, there is one popular patriotic song that I like less and less, the more I hear it: Jerusalem by Blake and Parry. There is something about its spirit that repels me, and I think I know what it is. It is self-righteousness in its pure state. Think about what it says, and how it says it: “building Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land”. Not waiting for God’s purposes, not even presuming to collaborate with God or with Providence or with History or with Nature – no, we shall do it ourselves, in fact, I will do it Myself. That is the sacred element in this song: I. And pay attention to the music: not, like the Marseillaise, urgent and avenging; not, like the Battle Hymn of the Republic, marching in step with an overwhelming common vision; no, it is of a piece with the poetry – muscular, self-glorifying, overwhelmingly convinced of its own value. It is a music which proclaims to you that the eschatological renewal of the world, the New Morning, the Millennium, comes from – ourselves. As if anyone who made any modest and honest bit of self-examination could ever imagine that that lump of compromise, half-measures, confused aspirations to decency, poorly controlled lusts, and fierce selfishness, that is the personality of most of us, could be the agent and inspiration of a cosmic renewal!

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4 Responses to “A Better World”

  • Not wanting to pick a fight…:-) Did you just equate the Red Menace of Communism with the magnificent attempt to gain Southern independence from the grasping, rapacious claws of the Federal Government?? Ah am appalled, sir – simply appalled.

    Next time we conquer…

  • Michael Readyp: “One person cannot own another person” Abraham Lincoln. Without this truth no nation, no state, no people are free.

  • C.S. Lewis stated in Mere Christianity something to this effect: aim at Heaven and you get Earth as well; aim at Earth and you get neither. IOW, if you concentrate solely or primarily on improving society through various utopian or reformist schemes, you end up just making it worse, whereas if you focus on attaining Heaven via individual virtue, you make society better in the process. I would really love to, just once in my life, see a politician who acknowledges his or her limitations and promises simply to not screw things up any worse than they are, rather than promising all sorts of sweeping programs for solving all problems. I’d vote for that person in a heartbeat.

  • Mary D V – Yes!!! And there were about 388,000 AfricanAmericans that no one could really own – in all our history and up to 1860. And today there are now over 60,000,000 dead children whom their mothers didn’t really own – and without the truth that each of these babies could not be owned, none of us are free, nor is the USSA. . Ekaine K-On that “politicains not screwing up” idea, the Texians today see to it that their legislature can only meet every two years-not all the time. Guy McClung, San Antonio TX


Saturday, June 4, AD 2016


Something for the weekend.  Jerusalem sung the cadet glee club of West Point.  I hadn’t realized this hymn was of such recent vintage.  The lyrics come from that half-mad, half prophet British poet of the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth centuries William Blake.  It was in the bloody year for Britain of 1916 that Sir Hubert Parry wrote the music to produce the hymn that helped sustain the British in many a dark hour in the last century.

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One Response to Jerusalem

When You Believe

Saturday, May 22, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  When You Believe  from the Prince of Egypt.  Whenever I see this video I always recall my favorite poem by William Blake:

Mock On, Mock On, Voltaire, Rousseau 

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on; ’tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel’s paths they shine.

The Atoms of Democritus
And Newton’s Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright. 

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One Response to When You Believe

  • “Prince of Egypt” was always a bit too Lion King-y for my tastes. Though I do like the Burning Bush and Red Sea sequences; they pull off the “mysterious and profound” thing rather well.