Sunday, 28 March 2021

Anarchy in Suburbia?

 Much excited talk on the radio this morning about the heady new freedoms that are to be granted to us by the Committee of Public Safety from tomorrow – outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens!) of up to 6 people or 2 households, outdoor sports facilities reopening, the 'stay at home' rule withdrawn.
Hmm. I don't know if I live in a particularly anarchic corner of suburbia, but when I'm out and about, these rules seem to have been more honoured in the breach than the observance (a clich√©, but with real meaning – some rules are more honourably breached than observed. As Junius put it, 'The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.'). I suspect that tomorrow things will look much as they have done for several weeks around here. 
This morning I noticed that several posters along these lines [below] have gone up in the neighbourhood – maybe this is indeed a particularly anarchic corner of suburbia...


Anyway, let's look forward to freedom and outdoor pleasures, as so beautifully evoked in Keats's sonnet (published in his Poems of 1817) –

To one who has been long in city pent,
         'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
         And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
         Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
         Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
         Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
         He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
         That falls through the clear ether silently.

Keats takes his cue from lines in Paradise Lost (book IX) –

'As one who, long in populous city pent,
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air,
Forth issuing on a summer’s morn, to breathe
Among the villages and farms

Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight,
The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, 

Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound...'

Now all we need is some suitably balmy weather, such as we had around this time last year, when All This had only just begun... 


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