Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

St George's Day

This royal throne of kings, this sceptr'd isle
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars
This other Eden, demi-paradise
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in a silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England...

These marvellous, stirring words are taken from the play 'Richard II' by England's greatest playwright William Shakespeare.

Today is also the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth in 1564. So those of us who are English have two good reasons to celebrate - Happy St George's Day!

NB The lovely photo of the White Cliffs of Dover is taken from the internet and is not, regrettably, one of my own.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Great lines…and stunning photo. Happy St George's Day in return from the riverbank!

Rowan said...

PG said...

It's funny, that's a poem I've always taken for granted and yet re-reading it has just brought a lump to my throat. Thank you! (It was a nice lump). Happy St George's Day to you too!

Rowan said...

I seem to have managed to publish this post twice and have had one comment on each so have moved the comment from PG to here. Senior moment here I think!

Rowan said...

Another comment from the duplicate post - should be back on track now I hope!

Diane said...

Happy St Georges Day to you Rowan - shame we dont celebrate it like the Irish celebrate St Patricks day. xxx

Derrick said...

Happy St George's Day, Rowan, and Happy Birthday, Will! There have been many rousing words written about England. It's nice to indulge in them once a year.

And tell Diane, she can have a pint of Guinness any time she likes!

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Happy St. George's Day, Rowan!

It was lovely to hear how much BB enjoyed his Grand Day Out at the Damson Fair, all those wonderful smells!

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

Well, I'm not England-born but I have English certainly brought a lump to my throat as well, I loved it! Happy St. Georges Day! :)

Pooh's Abode said...

I have just discovered your blog and love it. We seem to have quite a lot in common.
I see you have left a comment on my blog - thanks.
It's quite a coincidence about our sons - yours in Suffolk [my step son and step daughter both live in Stowmarket]and mine in Sheffield.
I have added you to my list of blogs to follow - hope that is okay with you
Take care

George said...

And a Happy St. George's Day to you, Rowan. I've really enjoyed your recent postings on both Shakespeare and the history of St. George' Day. Keep it coming. I love your country and always look forward to learning more about it.

Thanks also for the nice comments about a couple of my recent postings.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rowan, I am amazed that we are allowed to celebrate St George's Day, I'm surprised there isn't a law against it by now.

PS. I think the photo of the cliffs is actually the Seven Sisters near Eastbourne, but you are close.{:)

Diane said...

Hi Rowan - just to let you know that the Garden Centre is Wentworth Garden Centre (avoid Sunday and Bank Holiday!!!) and I actually heard the cuckoo in the woods on Blacka Moor, which I reckon is not too far away from you. Have a lovely weekend. xxx

Mary said...

"....this precious stone set in a silver sea". I've never forgotten those words.....once again they bring home closer and yes, the lump in the throat thing happens!!!!

Beautiful post - and I'm trying hard to find time to catch up with your always wonderful stories of English happenings Rowan.

Many thanks for the Africa tips - I like the pashmina idea as the nights will be chilly a you say.
Leave here 5/12 for New York and fly to Jo-burg following day - excitement growing!

Hugs - Mary

Anonymous said...

What an interesting coincidence. I wonder if WS knew it... I'm a fan of Richard III myself, the play of I mean, but I can tell I need to look into number two really!

Anonymous said...

Great lines !! I love Shakespeare. Sometimes it's hard to follow for someone whose native tongue isn't English, but I do try.
Have a wonderful day !!

~Sheila~ said...

Stirring words indeed.
I wish it was celebrated here, we do celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday on May 24th however.