Mystical beauty on Broadway

Yesterday was the most extraordinary day in New York City, with the strange and entrancing combination of unseasonable warmth with Autumn smells and colors. As a friend and I walked out of a restaurant in my neighborhood, where we had had a perfectly satisfying meal of raw fish wrapped in rice wrapped in seaweed, Broadway, and the trees on the island in the middle of Broadway just downtown of us, was enveloped in this warm light that blended and erased the details of the world and made it seem like a glimpse of a higher world. We stood there for a minute in a happy daze, looking south into this golden light that suffused everything, and spontaneously I spoke the opening lines of Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality”:

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

- end of initial entry -

Dean Ericson, with whom I had the sushi lunch, writes:

Oh, it was a perfect moment! A fine poet had written the perfect lines, and you managed to unfurl them at the precise moment the sun blazed most dazzlingly. It was a divine inspiration. That’s life!

LA replies:
Thank you for this beautiful response.

Usually when people say, “That’s life,” they mean something negative about life. You turned that around. Life is divine inspiration!

Kilroy M. writes from Australia:

The character of Rumpole, a British barrister with a practice at the Criminal Courts of London, comes to mind—he too was know to break into Wordsworth at auspicious moments, or when in repose. I always envied the ability of people to do this. I cannot because I suffered a progressive education. I wish I went through the routine of school as it was before the “reformers” came onto the scene. Perhaps then I would have aspects of the legacy of the Western intellectual tradition on the tip of my tongue, as you do, as “Rumpole” does, as I am sure most educated men prior to the 60s did. Perhaps my spelling would be less embarrassing and my hand writing intelligible. It’s difficult to correct these things in one’s thirties, while subsumed with other pressing concerns: work and paying rent. There is a time when a civilisational legacy is passed down, that is why the Left is so passionate about controlling schools, universities and educational curricula.

LA replies:

I didn’t read and memorize Wordsworth in school; school had nothing to do with it. I read and memorized him on my own.

October 30

Kilroy replies :

Ha! I wish I had the time to do likewise. You’ve hit on a good point though: the function of the postmodern school is to equip people with the basic tools for toil, not for education. Universities are going down the same path too unfortunately.

A reader writes:

Did you know that Gerald Finzi set Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality” to music? There are several recordings out there.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 29, 2010 01:31 PM | Send

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