and the tale hath had its effect….like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead. Jonathan Swift
All the world wondered.
PROJECTION ON THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER DURING BREXIT CRISIS
“This precious stone set in a silver sea…this England” has been defaced by nationalism, lies and misinformation. Some of us are still fighting to Stop Brexit, Save Britain.
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Heartbroken Maria, with her beloved dog, Sylvio, from Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey (1768) by the great Joseph Wright of Derby.
Ferens Art Gallery. Image source: All Things Georgian an essential online guide to the society and culture of the British 18th century.
“Her goat had been as faithless as her lover; and she had got a little dog in lieu of him, which she had kept tied by a string to her girdle: as I looked at her dog, she drew him towards her with the string.—“Thou shalt not leave me, Sylvio,” said she. I look’d in Maria’s eyes and saw she was thinking more of her father than of her lover, or her little goat; for, as she utter’d them, the tears trickled down her cheeks.” From ‘Maria’, in A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne (1768)
Maria is another casualty in the line of emotionally abandoned girls, like Ophelia, driven out of her mind by grief from a lover’s desertion and a father’s death, and Marianne Dashwood, whose excess of 18th century sensibility is the same as a major depressive disorder today, and real-life sisters, Sally and Maria Siddons.
Fortitude Sculpture by Serpotta in white stucco and gilding, height 200 cm, 1710-17.
Oratorio del Rosario di San Domenico, Palermo. Image: WGA
Fortitude is one of the four Cardinal Virtues of Christianity, recommended in a life skills course dating back to the 4th century, based on Aristotelian and Platonic ethics.
Aristotle defined fortitude as courage governed by reason (or temperance) in circumstances of fear or over-confidence: “Courage….chooses its course and sticks to its post because it is noble to do so, or because it is disgraceful not to do so.”
St Augustine of Hippo defined fortitude as “love readily bearing all things for the sake of the loved object”.
Kant: “Virtue is the moral strength of the will in obeying the dictates of duty, never developing into a custom but always springing freshly and directly from the mind.”
Fortitude has become rarer in the modern world where license has chained us to new tyrannies, and freedom is as elusive as ever.
The advantages of self-control in adverse circumstances have been forgotten in the revolt against the misunderstood stiff upper lip. It’s adorable. The straighter the face, the better the joke.
The primary importance of sincerity in human intercourse – “speak what you feel, not what you ought to say” – has been effaced by knee-jerk opinion polls and social media group anxiety – Like to be Liked, Follow and Ye Will Be Followed – which have compromised Freedom of Speech and promulgated the nonsense that passes for wisdom nowadays.
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a modest disclaimer: yes, I’m as foolish as you.
The most self-expressive of Romantic poets would not have predicted humanity blogging itself to death.
The people who died for Democracy did not expect the Voice of the People would come from Babel.
Fortitude rests on her broken pillar, not on popularity.
Fortitude does not betray her soul, which to her is virtue, which to us is self-identity.
She fights on.
She wears the shoes she wants.
All four of the Cardinal Virtues, Prudence (or Wisdom), Fortitude (or Courage), Temperance (or Self-control) and Justice (or Fairness) were allegorized as female.
Figures of the Four Virtues from Ballet Comique de la Reine, 1582, one of the court entertainments commissioned by Catherine de Medici from which classical ballet, and political satire, developed. Image: Wikipedia
Fortitude lives up to her reputation for cheerfulness in adversity by playing the lute and holding a pillar at the same time.
Poster for Top Hat, 1935
Forwarded from Pinterest:
The New Yorker Cartoon by Alex Gregory and Conde Nast Published by Nelson Line www.nelsonline.com
A limited number of Audible codes for free downloads of THE DRAGON AND THE UNICORN and THE WRONG SHADE OF YELLOW are available upon request – please leave a message in the comments section specifying Audible.co.uk or Audible.com and I will email you back.
Pippa Rathborne narrates Margaret Eleanor Leigh‘s recent picaresque adventures across three continents in search of personal Utopia which turns out to be….
Marathon by Carl Rottmann. Encaustic on stone, 1848. Neue Pinakothek, Munich. Image: WGA
The isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
(from “The Isles of Greece” by Byron)
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Nellie Bly, journalist, industrialist and inventor, on the eve of her journey around the world, 1889.