Friday, 31 August 2012

A Midsummer Tempest V

I missed at least one chapter-ending rhyme in Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest (London, 1975):

" 'Let's go inzide the church to talk o' this, that none may zee us and think aught amiss,'...'At best, tha road we tread be dangerous to England an' to Rupert an' to us.' " (p. 37)

With this post, I am probably signing off for the month of August. Family arrivals, departures and a wedding will fill the rest of today. But what a find is A Midsummer Tempest! I have said before that it pays to reread Anderson for his descriptive passages, ideas, arguments that the reader can engage with, cross-references both to his own works and to others' ,eg, Shakespeare's, Kipling's, application of scientific knowledge to the detailed imaging of other worlds and environments etc. But I had not suspected verse or poetry disguised as prose and the need for the reader to work to extract the former from the latter.

If I had lived in seventeenth century England, I would have fought for Parliament against the King (of course). The Puritan and Glorious Revolutions of that century brought Britain from absolute monarchy through a brief republic into the constitutional monarchy that we have today. Thus, we currently live under a Revolutionary Settlement although some people are surprised to hear it. That is the political issue. Religiously, it is a different matter. I would have supported freedom of worship which the Puritans wanted for themselves but not for others. Thus, like Prince Rupert in the novel, I would have opposed Puritan intolerance and iconoclasm. This struggle was eventually won. The Church of England remains established but I am free to attend a Buddhist meditation group and Pagan Moots.

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