In the embrace of what I call the feverish agony of my bout with this twenty-first century plague I marveled about how an eighteenth century English poet could foresee and reflect so precisely upon the human condition in which our post-Trump planet finds itself today, two centuries later.
by Alfred Tennyson (1st Baron 1809–92)
Many a hearth upon our dark globe sighs after many a vanish’d face,
Many a planet by many a sun may roll with a dust of a vanish’d race.
Raving politics, never at rest—as this poor earth’s pale history runs,—
What is it all but a trouble of ants in the gleam of a million million of suns?
Lies upon this side, lies upon that side, truthless violence mourn’d by the Wise,
Thousands of voices drowning his own in a popular torrent of lies upon lies;
Stately purposes, valor in battle, glorious annals of army and fleet,
Death for the right cause, death for the wrong cause, trumpets of victory, groans of defeat;
Innocence seeth’d in her mother’s milk, and Charity setting the martyr aflame;
Thraldom who walks with the banner of Freedom, and recks not to ruin a realm in her name;
Faith at her zenith, or all but lost in the gloom of doubts that darken the schools;
Craft with a bunch of all-heal in her hand, follow’d up by her vassal legion of fools;
Trade flying over a thousand seas with her spice and her vintage, her silk and her corn;
Desolate offing, sailorless harbors, famishing populace, wharves forlorn;
Star of the morning, Hope in the sunrise; gloom of the evening, Life at a close;
Pleasure who flaunts on her wide downway with her flying robe and her poison’d rose;
Pain, that has crawl’d from the corpse of Pleasure, a worm which writhes all day, and at night
Stirs up again in the heart of the sleeper, and stings him back to the curse of the light.
* * *
As usual, you’ll turn on the TV and find that someone, somewhere – on one of the channels for sure – will tell you that, shortly, the Donald will be found guilty of having broken the law.
PAY NO HEED. IT’S APRIL FOOLS’ DAY.