This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Saturday, 24 June 2017

Saturday Rave: Elizabeth's poets.

There was quite a fuss when Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne. 

Well, of course there was, but the occasion had a special significance - or people thought it might - because we had, not just a new queen, but a new Queen Elizabeth. The first one, you see, had proved extremely interesting.

File:Queen Elizabeth I ('The Ditchley portrait') by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.jpg
portrait by Marcus Geeraerts the Younger

And, sure enough, the new one is, too, if in rather different ways:

File:Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visiting NASA, May 8, 2007.jpg
photo by NASA?Paul E Alers

God bless her.

Anyway, among the many splendours of the Court of the first Elizabeth were a whole bunch of politicians who relied upon the queen for their power. And what sort of a man did Queen Elizabeth want to reward and encourage? Well, being good-looking and amusing helped.

So: how do you amuse a queen?

You sing, you dance, and you write poetry.

The courtier poets included the Earl of Oxford (the one who, it has been said, wrote Shakespeare's plays (cleverly, several of them postumously)); Edward Dyer; John Harington; Philip Sidney (the your need is greater than mine one); Walter Raleigh; Fulke Greville; Robert Sidney; and the Earl of Essex. 

So when the new Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, hopes were raised of a new generation of dancing,singing, poet politicians.

On the whole, it didn't happen, and looking round at our current crop of world politicians I can only say, with utmost fervour, thank God for that.

Fulke Greville's literary life lasted nearly fifty years, and he ended up as Chancellor of the Exchequer (the man in charge of the money). Here's the end of his Chorus Sacerdotum.

If Nature did not take delight in blood,
She could have made more easy ways to good.
We that are bound by laws, and by promotion,
With pomp of holy sacrifice and rites,
To teach belief in good and still devotion,
To preach of Heaven's wonders and delights:
Yet when each of us at his own heart looks,
He finds the God there, far unlike his books.

Word To Use Today: pomp. The word comes from the Old French pompe, from Latin pompa, procession. It's related to the Greek pompein, to send.




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