Thursday, September 09, 2010


A Dreary Aspect of Modern Life

George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (Winter, XV):
It is one of the dreary aspects of modern life that natural symbolism has all but perished. We have no consecrated tree. The oak once held a place in English hearts, but who now reveres it?—our trust is in gods of iron. Money is made at Christmas out of holly and mistletoe, but who save the vendors would greatly care if no green branch were procurable? One symbol, indeed, has obscured all others—the minted round of metal. And one may safely say that, of all the ages since a coin first became the symbol of power, ours is that in which it yields to the majority of its possessors the poorest return in heart's contentment.
John Crome (1768-1821), The Poringland Oak

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