The International Idea

November 24, 2019

Oh, how I love Humanity,
With love so pure and pringlish,
And how I hate the horrid French,
Who never will be English!

The International Idea,
The largest and the clearest,
Is welding all the nations now,
Except the one that’s nearest.

This compromise has long been known,
This scheme of partial pardons,
In ethical societies
And small suburban gardens —

The villas and the chapels where
I learned with little labour
The way to love my fellow-man
And hate my next-door neighbour.

G. K. Chesterton

Fairy tales

May 8, 2019

Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

G.K. Chesterton
Tremendous Trifles

the great lesson

February 1, 2018

A Walk to the Castle by Alexandre Chaudret

But I deal here with what ethic and philosophy come from being fed on fairy tales…There is the chivalrous lesson of ‘Jack the Giant Killer’; that giants should be killed because they are gigantic. It is a manly mutiny against pride as such. For the rebel is older than all the kingdoms, and the Jacobin has more tradition than the Jacobite. There is the lesson of ‘Cinderella,’ which is the same as that of the Magnificat-exaltavit humiles. There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast’; that a thing must be loved before it is loveable. There is the terrible allegory of the ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which tells how the human creature was blessed with all birthday gifts, yet cursed with death; and how death also may perhaps be softened to a sleep.

G.K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy

secret of the whole world

September 1, 2017

Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front.

G. K. Chesterton
The Man Who Was Thursday

mysteriously silent

June 30, 2017

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

G.K. Chesterton
Alarms and Discursions

The silence of poets

November 24, 2016

thomas-donaldson-face-detail

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

G.K. Chesterton
Alarms and Discursions

Anarchy…

October 1, 2016

anarchy

You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.

G.K. Chesterton
The Man Who Was Thursday, a Nightmare

returnofthevampire

Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

G K Chesterton
Orthodoxy

An explosion

They have two objects, to destroy first humanity and then themselves. That is why they throw bombs instead of firing pistols. The innocent rank and file are disappointed because the bomb has not killed the king; but the high-priesthood are happy because it has killed somebody.

G K Chesterton
The man who was Thursday

(Something published in 1908 still carrying such a weight of truth as to almost be prophetic)

MODERN ELFLAND

October 27, 2015

Modernelfland

I Cut a staff in a churchyard copse,
I clad myself in ragged things,
I set a feather in my cap
That fell out of an angel’s wings.

I filled my wallet with white stones,
I took three foxgloves in my hand,
I slung my shoes across my back,
And so I went to fairyland.

But Lo, within that ancient place
Science had reared her iron crown,
And the great cloud of steam went up
That telleth where she takes a town.

But cowled with smoke and starred with lamps
That strange land’s light was still its own;
The word that witched the woods and hills
Spoke in the iron and the stone.

Not Nature’s hand had ever curved
That mute unearthly porter’s spine.
Like sleeping dragon’s sudden eyes
The signals leered along the line.

The chimneys thronging crooked or straight
Were fingers signalling the sky;
The dog that strayed across the street
Seemed four-legged by monstrosity.

‘In vain,’ I cried, ‘though you too touch
The new time’s desecrating hand,
Through all the noises of a town
I hear the heart of fairyland.’

I read the name above a door,
Then through my spirit pealed and passed:
‘This is the town of thine own home,
And thou hast looked on it at last.’

G.K.Chesterton