Our time is marked certainly by a lack of order. Some will see this as a necessary transition period between the way the world was and the way it soon will be. Yet, transition without a defined end point promises only prolonged disorder. As Scruton has said elsewhere, our traditions are answers to enduring questions. We have bought into the lie that these answers are inadequate, but we are finding that the further we remove ourselves from them, the further from order, peace, identity, and security we drift.
As it has been a rainy day in this part of the country, it seems only fitting to share this particular poem of Mr. Longfellow: Rain in Summer How beautiful is the rain! After the dust and heat, In the broad and fiery street, In the narrow lane, How beautiful is the rain! How it clatters along the roofs, Like the tramp of hoofs How it gushes and struggles out From the throat of the overflowing spout! Across the window-pane It pours and pours; And swift and wide, With a muddy tide, Like a river down the gutter roars The rain, the welcome rain! The sick man from his chamber looks At the twisted brooks; He can feel the cool Breath of each little pool; His fevered brain Grows calm again, And he breathes a blessing on the rain. From the neighboring school Come the boys, With more than their wonted noise And commotion; And down the wet streets … Continue reading Longfellow: Rain in Summer
Westerners live in the smoldering ruins of a once great society. Its towers and ramparts have been torn down, destroyed by the barbarism of greed, materialism, and fear, but still there stands something to remind passers-by that here once stood the Western Civilization of old - built on divine fear and dedication to principles that transcend this world.
“Democracy needs religion more than religion needs democracy. A religion can live without democracy; it can live under tyranny, persecution, and dictatorship – not comfortably, it is true, but heroically and divinely. But democracy cannot live without religion, for without religion democracy will degenerate into demagogy by selling itself to the highest bidder.”
This is the place. Stand still, my steed, Let me review the scene, And summon from the shadowy Past The forms that once have been. The Past and Present here unite Beneath Time's flowing tide, Like footprints hidden by a brook, But seen on either side. Here runs the highway to the town; There the green lane descends, Through which I walked to church with thee, O gentlest of my friends! The shadow of the linden-trees Lay moving on the grass; Between them and the moving boughs, A shadow, thou didst pass. Thy dress was like the lilies, And thy heart as pure as they: One of God's holy messengers Did walk with me that day. I saw the branches of the trees Bend down thy touch to meet, The clover-blossoms in the grass Rise up to kiss thy feet, "Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares, Of earth and folly born!" Solemnly sang the village choir On that sweet Sabbath morn. Through the closed blinds the golden sun Poured in a dusty beam, Like the celestial ladder seen By Jacob in his dream. And ever and anon, the wind, Sweet-scented with the hay, Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves That on the window lay. Long was the good man's sermon, Yet it seemed not so to me; For he spake of Ruth the beautiful, And still I thought of thee. Long was the prayer he uttered, Yet it seemed not so to me; For in my heart I prayed with him, And still I thought of thee. But now, alas! the place seems changed; Thou art no longer here: Part of the sunshine of the scene With thee did disappear. Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart, Like pine-trees dark and high, Subdue the light of noon, and breathe A low and ceaseless sigh; This memory brightens o'er the past, As when the sun, concealed Behind some cloud that near us hangs … Continue reading Longfellow: A Gleam of Sunshine
“Why are the standards and demands so necessarily and readily applied to individuals, families, small groups, and personal relations, rejected out of hand and utterly prohibited when we go on to deal with thousands and millions of people in association?”
We Americans find ourselves at a most unique period in our short history. The vast majority of us live as if our way of life is sustainable, as if some things in fact do last forever, as if the empire will never, indeed can never fall into ruin. Know this: nothing lasts forever. The American materialistic … Continue reading Saint Augustine Among the Ruins