For Lovers of the Arcane

Courbet_BattleofStags

History and art were my favorite subjects when I was growing up in England and they still are today. The knowledge one stores in the recesses of the mind has a way of percolating through to the present time to become something of an applied science in the modern world. Here’s an extract from one of my most treasured books, A Shortened History of England, by G.M. Trevelyan. His skill with language could bring any passage of history alive in the mind and fire up the imagination to conjure up vivid dioramas.

For many centuries after Britain became an island the untamed forest was king. Its moist and mossy floor was hidden from heaven’s eye by a close-drawn curtain woven of innumerable treetops, which shivered in the breezes of summer dawn and broke into wild music of millions upon millions of wakening birds; the concert was prolonged from bough to bough with scarcely a break for hundreds of miles over hill and plain and mountain, unheard by man save where, at rarest intervals, a troop of skin-clad hunters, stone-axe in hand, moved furtively over the ground beneath, ignorant that they lived upon an island, not dreaming that there could be other parts of the world besides this damp green woodland with its meres and marshes, wherein they hunted, a terror to its four-footed inhabitants and themselves afraid.
– A Shortened History of England – G.M. Trevelyan