Sunday 21 August 2016

Albion - England, Scotland and Wales

Albion is traditionally 'Britain' (England, Scotland and Wales) - but my feeling is that at present Scotland is probably taking a different path, in the opposite direction to England. (I know Scotland well from having lived there for many years, having studied its literature and history, and from still having family and friends there.)

I am unsure of what is happening in Wales at present - although I used to live nearby as a child - watching Welsh TV and visiting often, and have had many holidays there; and several - at least four - of my very best and most significant friends through life have been Welsh.

So I don't have the same sense of what is going on under the surface. But I am hopeful that Wales is also tending towards a spiritual revival - and that idea would be very pleasing if true, since there has often been a tremendous, deep spiritual complementarity between England and Wales (as well as the more talked-about and emphasised hostilities).

These considerations mean that my focus here is on England, where there seems to be the greatest wish and possibility of making a break and a break-though.

A break with the trend of generations - And a break-through into something the world has not yet seen: the step beyond the industrial revolution and the modernist materialism it enforced - to pick-up the threads of Romanticism, and finish, complete the job begun by Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth...

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:

Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth


Samson J. said...

Sometimes I wonder if Brits realize that the difference between England and Wales is nearly impossible for North Americans to grasp.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SJ - Politically, there is less difference than between some US states; and there has been a great deal of population mixing especially in South Wales (the most populous part) - it should not be overstated; but there is a difference.

Anonymous said...

Samson J.,

I suppose it varies extremely, even among those (like myself) of what might be called 'considerably Welsh descent'. The Welsh seem to assimilate easily, though some also keep a strong, warm sense of their heritage (even when, say, their Argentine 'masters' are forbidding Welsh names - to take another New-World example). So, where I come from, Stateside, there were three Welsh-language newspapers, mid-19th c., and all died out - whereas there are various 'denominations' that still have German-language services! Yet, an immigrant Welshman and I (whose immigrant ancestors were at least 5 generations ago) managed together to get a new local Welsh Society started (after the historical one had ceased some years before).

"I am unsure of what is happening in Wales at present" - so am I, and find it vexing. So much of interest in and promotion of Welsh and Scottish heritage in Wales and Scotland in the course of the last century seems to have been entangled, incoherently, with totalitarian-'progressive'-mindedness. But how corrosive has that been? Is there a lot of clear-eyed love of Welsh and Scottish heritage, prudentially keeping its head down, while waiting and hoping and cherishing the flame, as well?

David Llewellyn Dodds