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Verses Turned... -- John Betjeman

Guest poem submitted by Mac Robb:
(Poem #1834) Verses Turned...
 Across the wet November night
 The church is bright with candlelight
 And waiting Evensong.
 A single bell with plaintive strokes
 Pleads louder than the stirring oaks
 The leafless lanes along.

 It calls the choirboys from their tea
 And villagers, the two or three,
 Damp down the kitchen fire,
 Let out the cat, and up the lane
 Go paddling through the gentle rain
 Of misty Oxfordshire.

 How warm the many candles shine
 Of Samuel Dowbiggin's design
 For this interior neat,
 These high box pews of Georgian days
 Which screen us from the public gaze
 When we make answer meet;

 How gracefully their shadow falls
 On bold pilasters down the walls
 And on the pulpit high.
 The chandeliers would twinkle gold
 As pre-Tractarian sermons roll'd
 Doctrinal, sound and dry.

 From that west gallery no doubt
 The viol and serpent tooted out
 The Tallis tune to Ken,
 And firmly at the end of prayers
 The clerk below the pulpit stairs
 Would thunder out "Amen."

 But every wand'ring thought will cease
 Before the noble altarpiece
 With carven swags array'd,
 For there in letters all may read
 The Lord's Commandments, Prayer and Creed,
 And decently display'd.

 On country mornings sharp and clear
 The penitent in faith draw near
 And kneeling here below
 Partake the heavenly banquet spread
 Of sacramental Wine and Bread
 And Jesus' presence know.

 And must that plaintive bell in vain
 Plead loud along the dripping lane?
 And must the building fall?
 Not while we love the church and live
 And of our charity will give
 Our much, our more, our all.
-- John Betjeman
How wonderful now to be into John Betjeman! If we were to work our way
through Philip Larkin's version of the English canon Betjeman of course
ranks high on the roll. Here is another [poem by him; see Poem #1815 for the
previous example -t.], from Betjeman's survey of English country churches.
You don't have to be a staunch Anglican or an Anglican at all to enjoy these
poems. (Possibly these days that is a bit of an oxymoron in any case, but
I'm certainly far from it, either by ancestry or conviction. I am, though,
an anglophone of some few generations' standing and it's my adoptive
culture, so to speak. Doubtless at least some subscribers to the Minstrels
share that view.)

The pieties in Betjeman's lovely little poem about the parish church at
Chislehampton in Oxfordshire (for so it is) are in the long view of these
things a little off the mark. But it contains a potted history of matters
which while now vastly irrelevant at one time issues considerably exercised
the full range of national life in England, from ecclesiastical potentates
to the judicial committee of the Privy Council to ordinary churchgoing
citizens. Readers of Jane Austen, George Eliot and Charles Dickens will be
well attuned to them, quaint though they may now seem.

The actual church is indeed a lovely little gem of Georgian (the 18th, not
the 20th century Georges) elegance, with, certainly,

  a.. The "high box pews of Georgian days." Eighteenth century Anglican
churches had box pews in which the congregation sat facing each other
screened from each others' view for the decidedly non-sacramental recitation
of prayers, the hearing of a sermon and the singing of hymns led by a band
in the gallery.
  b.. The Ten Commandments on the wall over the Communion Table (sic, for
certainly that's what it was in the 18th century - no "altars" in those
days). This was the standard decoration if, indeed, the chancel wasn't
entirely blocked off from view so as not to cause anyone erroneously to
infer any "popery" from the unseemly display of the pre-Reformation site of
the altar.
  c.. A lofty pulpit for "pre-Tractarian sermons./Doctrinal, sound and dry."
Well, maybe they were dry, but generations of the faithful seem to have
found them sustaining and indeed Methodism sought to raise the sermon to
even greater prominence.
  d.. Below the pulpit, the desk where "firmly at the end of prayers/The
clerk.[w]ould thunder out 'Amen.' The Prayer Book services of Morning and
Evening Prayer were in some measure a duet between the parson and the clerk,
who took the part of the congregation, in the manner that in pre-Vatican II
Catholic churches there was a duet between the presiding celebrant and the
altar boy.
  e.. And a west gallery for a parish band to lead in "Tallis's tune to Ken"
(ie the non-jurant bishop Thomas Ken's Morning and Evening Hymns - "Glory to
thee who safe has kept/And hast refresh'd me while I slept" and "All praise
to thee my God this night/For all the blessings of the light/". "Praise God
from whom all blessings flow/Praise him all creatures here below." The 19th
century saw the introduction of pipe organs and elegant chancel choirs,
possibly robed in cassock and surplice - somewhat known beyond Anglicanism
by the popular recordings of choirs such as those of Kings College Cambridge
and Westminster Abbey, and also in prosperous evangelical Protestant
denominations of other historical traditions - but 18th century parish
worship was heartily led by a gallery band of trumpets, strings, and other
catch-as-catch-can instruments.

It is, indeed, a considerable anachronism: a parish church whose "living" is
(or till recently was - haven't checked up on the current state of affairs)
in the gift of the local squire. Betjeman rather gilds the lily with 19th
century piety when he suggests sacramental small-c catholicism in such a
place: it is quintessentially of the kind of stoutly Protestant Anglicanism
that Samuel Pepys knew in the 1660s - when he spoke of going to "hear Mr X
preach," assuredly not to "take the sacrament."

An old friend of mine is a Canadian Anglican prelate and a cousin of the
squire of Chislehampton who vastly relishes the quaint family prerogative of
visiting there and dressing up in 18th century rig complete with clerical
bands (alas, not a wig though) to say Morning Prayer or Evensong. Far more
Congregationalist or Presbyterian than Anglican by current sensibilities, to
be sure, but authentically a part of English history.

Mac Robb
Brisbane, Australia

External links: John Betjeman home page
  [broken link] http://www.johnbetjeman.com/oldhome.htm

1034 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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Obat Herbal Manjur said...

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Obat Herbal Manjur said...

Tonjolan yang berupa benjolan ini sering kali disertai dengan keluarnya tetesan darah ketika seorang penderita ambeien sedang BAB. cara mengobati wasir ambeien tanpa harus operasi aman paling jos banget Darah yang menetes keluar bersama dengan feses disebabkan oleh bocornya pembuluh darah yang melebar dan apabila terkena gesekan saat feses keluar akan menjadi luka. Ambeien dapat disembuhkan dengan berbagai cara alami sebelum menempuh cara dengan pengobatan medis yang terkadang semakin memberatkan kondisi ambeien. Pengobatan utama yang paling efektif berawal dari menerapkan pola hidup yang sehat.

Obat Herbal Manjur said...

Wasir yang membengkak disertai dengan pendarahan umumnya disebut wasir berdarah. Cara mengobati wasir berdarah secara alami adalah dengan menggunakan beberapa tanaman obat yang sudah lama dikenal khasiatnya. cara mengobati wasir ambeien tanpa harus operasi Beberapa tanaman obat yang dikenal mampu mengatasi wasir antara lain adalah tape singkong. Mengkonsumsi tape singkong yang sudah dilembekkan secara rutin sehari tiga kali dipercaya mampu mengatasi wasir. Ini disebabkan karena tape singkong mengandung ragi yang menyehatkan pencernaan. Wasir ringan maupun wasir berdarah umumnya bisa disembuhkan dengan tape singkong.

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Klinik De Nature said...

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Klinik De Nature said...

Internal hemorrhoids are located in the inside lining of the rectum and cannot be felt. They are usually painless and make their presence known because blood is seen with a bowel movement. Internal hemorrhoids can prolapse or protrude through the anus.External hemorrhoids are located underneath the skin that surrounds the anus. how to treat hemorrhoids naturally without surgery and safe They can be felt when they swell and may cause itching, pain, or bleeding with a bowel movement. A thrombosed external hemorrhoid occurs when blood within the vein clots, and may cause significant pain.

Klinik De Nature said...

The most common symptom and sign from hemorrhoids is painless bleeding. There may be bright red blood on the outside of the stools, on the toilet paper, or dripping into the toilet. how to treat hemorrhoids naturally without surgery and safe The bleeding usually is self-limiting. Bleeding with a bowel movement is never normal and should prompt a visit to a health care professional. While hemorrhoids are the most common cause of bleeding with a bowel movement, there may be other reasons for bleeding including inflammatory bowel disease, infection, and tumors.

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