Thursday, April 28, 2016


You Might Have Seen the Gods There

John Ruskin (1819-1900), Fors Clavigera: Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain, Letter V (May 1, 1871):
There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time, divine as the vale of Tempe; you might have seen the Gods there morning and evening,—Apollo and all the sweet Muses of the light,—walking in fair procession on the lawns of it, and to and fro among the pinnacles of its crags. You cared neither for Gods nor grass, but for cash (which you did not know the way to get). You thought you could get it by what the Times calls "Railroad Enterprise." You Enterprised a railroad through the valley—you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone, and the Gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative process of exchange—you Fools everywhere!

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