Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Real Religion

Gathered Leaves from the Prose of Mary E. Coleridge, with a Memoir by Edith Sichel (London: Constable and Company Ltd., 1910), p. 233:
How dull is the Life of Dean Church! How much worse than dull the Life of Dr. Pusey! I think the devil writes religious biography. There's much more real religion in the Bacchae of Euripides, which is simply glorious—a sort of Greek Salvation Army business, all drums and cymbals and ecstasy. Macaulay says he hasn't the least idea whether Euripides meant to run up or run down fanaticism, but it's one of the finest things going. The revel of vine and ivy and bryony and wind—blown torches and roofless rocks and wild delirious joy in freedom and music and open air—is quite intoxicating. Then there's Bacchus himself, the god come down in the likeness of man, the men of Thebes refusing to understand, obstinate not to worship him, punished accordingly. There's no real tipsiness as far as I can make out. The Hallelujah Lasses get drunk on the wine of the spirit, not the wine of the grape.

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