The forces of the Left are continuing to have a devastating effect upon our national psyche. These forces are even attempting to erase our culture through the manipulation of history and outright lie. Double standards are also utilised as every other civilisation escapes their opprobrium. This is in spite of the fact that the sins of imperialism were enacted by every Empire throughout history yet this country alone is condemned.
No other nation on Earth receives this kind of condemnation. The emblem of England- the St. George flag is the only one singled out as a supposed far right symbol which is a gross misrepresentation of the legend that lies behind it. In the legend St. George was the saviour of an English village by slaying the dragon and preserving the life of the Princess. The dragon is a generic symbol of evil. It is also a metaphor for plague or natural disaster. The Princess is also a symbol, in this case of honour and purity. The preservation of the Princess from the ravages of nature symbolises loyalty and stability. There is nothing remotely extremist in this simple English folk legend.
I believe that it is time to rehabilitate the reputation of this country and its culture and to tell the real stories of an island people. England has one of the oldest literary traditions in the world, in part due to its unique geography. In the late twelfth century a visiting French cleric remarked that the country was,
“(an) island…surrounded by water, and not unnaturally its inhabitants are affected by the nature of the element in which they live. Unsubstantial fantasies slide easily into their minds. They think their dreams to be visions, and their visions to be divine. We cannot blame them, for such is the nature of their land. I have often noticed that the English are greater dreamers than the French.”
Our literary tradition was borne out of the visions of ancient mystic sages.
These visions in turn inspired two of our greatest poets John Milton and William Blake. Milton`s profound attachment to this land is actually an expression of something which the literary historian Peter Ackroyd defines as “placism, as an antidote to racism”. Milton had a great vision of England and its people.
In his imagination the English were an exiled tribe of Israelites searching for the Promised Land. Milton`s vision was of a heaven realised upon the plains of a country already scarred by religious conflict.
(Illustration of a Cavalier Soldier in battle during the English Civil War)
Blake was inspired by Milton`s mystic sensibility and longed to witness heaven enacted on England`s “green and pleasant land”. However he was far from being a racist. He was a fierce opponent of racism and composed poems focussing upon the plight of African slaves. He was one of the first English poets to compose verse from the perspective of the slaves themselves.
Blake`s most prophetic poem was “and did those feet in ancient time”, which was incorporated into the hymn “Jerusalem”. However most people are unaware that Blake was the original lyricist and are oblivious to the true meaning of the lyrics. There is a general ignorance surrounding it and it is often considered to be jingoistic. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are very few people who are aware that Blake championed the cause of the abolition of slavery and cared deeply about the lives of the poor and oppressed and this is evident in the hymn. It is an anthem for a lost England.
(Photograph is of English hippies in 1971- the hippy movement in England searched for meaning in the ancient features of the land, in this case stones).
“Jerusalem” is a stirring patriotic hymn but it is also a plea for pacifism. It is a vision of heaven on Earth where all of humanity is unshackled from suffering. It is an anthem which truly represents the spirit of the people of England. I believe that it should be played more often and played in a way that is conscious of its real message.