Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Bearded Gentlemen on Plinths
Roger Scruton, "Monumental Egos
," The American Spectator
(April 10, 2012):
Recently I spent a few days in Budapest, a city that is full of monuments. In every park some bearded gentleman stands serenely on a plinth, testifying to the worth of Hungarian poetry, to the beauty of Hungarian music, to the sacrifices made in some great Hungarian cause. The monuments include bas-relief, incorporated into the corner of some building, showing soldiers advancing into war, or patriotic faces against a background flag. They include classical colonnades linking buildings across the edge of a park, and gateways lending dignity to a public street. None stands out, none is designed to draw attention to itself. On the contrary, all attention comes from the monuments, onto the city and the people who live and move within their sight. They are like the eyes of a father, resting on his children at play. They are full of the joy of belonging, and convey a serene acceptance of death in the national cause.