Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Johnson and Johnson

Good to hear Boris Johnson describing the current Cabinet as 'a nest of singing birds' (in the full knowledge that 'nest of vipers' would be nearer the mark). The phrase might ring a bell with readers of Boswell's life of another eminent Johnson. After looking back on his days at Pembroke College, Oxford - days when he was 'mad and violent, being miserably poor and thus opposed to all authority' - Johnson rejoices that his old college has produced so many eminent men. 'Being himself a poet, Johnson was peculiarly happy in mentioning how many of the sons of Pembroke were poets; adding, with a smile of sportive triumph, "Sir, we are a nest of singing birds."'
 Before Johnson - both Johnsons - the phrase was widely used to describe England in the reign of Elizabeth. Widely and, it seems, aptly. John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, noted in 1560 that sometimes at St Paul Cross there would be six thousand people singing together (surely an exaggeration, but even so). Before the sermon, the congregation would always sing a psalm, with choir and organ, all making glorious music together. 'I was so transported,' wrote Jewel, 'that there was no room left in my whole body, mind or spirit for anything below divine and heavenly raptures.'

5 comments:

  1. Pembroke College Cambridge, my alma mater, fares well in the poetic stakes too boasting Spenser,Thomas Gray, Crashaw, Christopher Smart, Ted Hughes and Clive James.

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  2. Indeed - a better record than King's (Rupert Brooke and that's about it)...

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  3. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث

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