Two Williams, Two Losses

By one of those historical coincidences that are all part of God’s good providence guiding all things to their final end, besides being Guy Fawkes’ Day (1605), this is also the anniversary eight decades on (1688) of the landing of William of Orange at the coastal town of Brixham in southern England, instantiating what some call the ‘Glorious Revolution’, the final and complete triumph of the Protestant monarchy over the tragic reign of the Catholic King, James II, who threw his Great Seal into the River Thames in disgust, as he retreated to France.

What made this more tragic was that James was the father of Mary, William’s wife, who was also his cousin – it was all in the family back then. Mary had been brought up in the ‘new religion’, and so was all on her husband’s, and not her father’s, side. On what side of God she was on, we will allow Him to discern.

What we can say is that England’s loss of the Faith has led inexorably to where she is now, a disintegrated nation with little in the way of identity or cohesion, a fragmented society descending into feralism. For all the valid principles involved – cutting the fetters of the bloated European Union and seeking noble independence – I have my serious doubts Brexit will save Britain; but, then again, crises can always lead to repentance, if seen in that light.

And while on the loss of merrie England, the ‘Greater Essex County School Board’, which may now be termed the lesser, is jettisoning Shakespeare in favour of ‘indigenous authors’ in its mandatory Grade 11 course. A certain Carolynn Howett, who is deputed to teach the said course, was at first taken aback by the loss of the Bard, and all the he represents, teaches, embodies, to be replaced with contemporary works of dubious value, besides, one may think, being ‘indigenous’. Would these works be read without the coercion of public law? As Ms. Howett put in in her capitulation to the statist powers-that-be: it’s just a different format, a different style, a different author, but it’s still all of the same things that we do in an English course.

Hmm. The ‘same things’?

As T.S. Eliot put it, no mean bard himself, there are two epochs that divide literature: Dante and Shakespeare, and the loss of either, or, worse both – whatever one thinks of indigenous works – is a lacuna from which I’m not sure we will recover. Shakespeare-less students will be left all the poorer.