Thursday, 30 August 2012
A Midsummer Tempest II
"I try to be a proper Protestant,
"Yet not cast off what's good from olden time.
"I'd liefer hear a service than a rant;
"I do not think my Romish friends are damned,
"Nor that 'tis right to persecute the Jews;
"I'd hang no helpless granny for a witch."
(A Midsummer Tempest, London, 1975, pp. 12-13)
Because, in the timeline of A Midsummer Tempest, Shakespeare was the great Historian, it follows that pre-Roman Britons knew that the Earth is round: King Lear knew of "...the thick rotundity of the world..."
But how did Shakespeare know that Lear knew that? The Puritan character, Shelgrave, argues in a circle:
Shakespeare describes English people at Troy, in Theseus' Athens, in Rome, later in Italy and in Denmark;
it follows that the English spread north, having had to leave some southern country;
but the Bible reveals that the people who spread north, having had to leave a southern country, were the ten lost tribes of Israel;
it follows that the English are God's chosen people;
therefore, "...they always kept a seed of truth alive, which flowered in the great Historian..." (p. 22)
it follows from this that Shakespeare's description of English people at Troy etc is accurate.
I bought a second hand book on Anglo-Israel theory, published at the height of the British Empire, which argued:
the "Tuatha de Danaan" people who entered prehistoric Ireland were the tribe of Dan;
the Irish/Scoti colonised the part of Britain that came to be called "Scotland" (true);
King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England (true).
Queen Victoria was in direct line of succession from David and Solomon;
the British are the Chosen People;
the British Empire fulfills the promise to Abraham that his descendants will be a great nation and that others will die out;
the British Empire will never end.
The argument is endlessly elaborated:
British possession of Mediterranean ports fulfills a Biblical prophecy about "gates";
the United States plays the role of "Manasseh";
Rupert's and my "Romish friends" believe that St Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, therefore that the present Pope is the direct successor of the chief disciple of the incarnation of God. Anglo-Israel theory put Queen Victoria in a similar position. As a direct successor of David, she was a divinely appointed monarch. Geoffry of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain instead traces British royalty back to Troy.
Ethiopians have claimed a Solomonic monarchy, the Ark of the Covenant and the Messiah. These are powerful myths.