Sunday, October 04, 2015


At the Gates

Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), A Time of Gifts (1977; rpt. New York: New York Review Books, 2005), p. 230:
And suppose the Sultan, with half the east at heel, had pitched his tents outside Calais? A few years before, the Dutch had burnt a flotilla of men-of-war at Chatham. Might St. Paul's, only half re-built, have ended with minarets instead of its two bell-towers and a different emblem twinkling on the dome? The muezzin's wail over Ludgate Hill?
Today migrants from the Middle East are pitching their tents outside Calais, and the muezzin's wail can be heard at the East London Mosque on Whitechapel Road, just a couple of miles from Ludgate Hill. To paraphrase Juvenal, "Iam pridem Syrus in Thamesin defluxit Orontes."

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