We continue our voyage through the anarchism of the years before the Great War in our latest Tale for Our Time: my reading of The Man Who Was Thursday, G K Chesterton's bestselling metaphysical thriller from 1908.
In tonight's episode, our merry band marvel at the mob:
"Even if the police do come now," said the Professor mournfully, "they can do nothing with this mob..." Then he added in his dreamy voice, "What is all that at the end of the 'Dunciad'?
'Nor public flame; nor private, dares to shine;
Nor human light is left, nor glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread Empire, Chaos, is restored;
Light dies before thine uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch, lets the curtain fall;
And universal darkness buries all.'"
Those are the concluding lines of the Dunciad, Alexander Pope's mock-heroic poem, completed in 1743, about the goddess Dulness and her ruination of Britain. But, if you're in Seattle three centuries later, where universal darkness does indeed seem to be descending, they may ring oddly topical.
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