Friday, April 18, 2008

From Dr. Thursday

Regarding this post... thank you so much

For the ChesterTeens....

The picture entitled "Conversation Piece" of Chesterton, Belloc and Baring is well known. Was it Chesterton himself who christened it "Baring, Overbearing and Past Bearing?" Many elements united the three in a close friendship: love of literature, love of Europe, a common view of the philosophy of history and of life. Frances Chesterton often said that of all her husband's friends she thought there was none he loved better than Maurice Baring.

-- Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton 439

Hilaire Belloc and Maurice Baring shared with Gilbert the deepest things of life, faith and philosophy; they also shared his fun. All three loved convivial good fellowship, all three had an immense and perceptive sense of humour. If Gilbert could not keep still as he posed to Hugh Rivière for his portrait, what must it have been when these three met for the painting of Conversation Piece? From one of these sittings Belloc was absent, and the other two wrote together a "Ballade of Devastation"which appeared in The Times on February 17th, 1932, and has never been reprinted.

They're breaking down the bridge at Waterloo;
They've daubed the house of Henry James at Rye;
They've caught a man and put him in the zoo;
They've let the Japanese into Shanghai;
They may destroy St. Peter's (on the sly);
They all agree that dogma has to go
From pole to pole the shattered temples lie;
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.

Who are these Vandals, these accursed Hoo?
Powers that destroy and spirits that deny?
(You'll find their recreations in Who's Who)
Those who would splash their liquors in the sky,
And drench the stars in artificial dye
They wallow in the wide worlds overthrow;
They would uplift the ultimate blasphemy;
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.

Carlyle complained of Chelsea cows that moo,
Where old world lavender is still the cry
Where Whistler's wizard dreams in green and blue
Rest on the unresting river drifting by;
"The King and Bells" is closing early . . . why?
Where you and I . . . but that was long ago . .
They say that the whole world is going dry . . .
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.

ENVOI

Prince, they've abolished God in Muscovy;
You think that you are safe. That is not so.
Much greater things than you are doomed to die:
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.

G.K.C. M.B.-- Maisie Ward, Return To Chesterton 154-5

P.S. They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.
I wonder if Tolkien read this. It makes me think of the end of "Lord ofthe Rings"

3 comments:

gilbertgirl said...

"Baring, Overbearing, and Past Bearing"? sounds like the Chesterpests:)

Algernon said...

Hooray for us! We're planting pesky trees in Chenye Row!

Ria said...

Amen!