The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Head To Head   The Modern Antiquarian   General Discussion Forum Start a topic | Search
The Modern Antiquarian
Henry James on Stonehenge
963 messages
Select a forum:
Henry James on Stonehenge, it was probably written round about 1870 and appears in a book entitled “English Hours” Its a good piece of prose by an American writer, and given Stonehenge has just been damned by an American magazine, fitting that it should appear.. " a heart stirring picture in a land of pictures" sadly roads today
;( and not a place for sitting by and watching the shadows shorten and lengthen....

..Stonehenge is rather a hackneyed shrine of pilgrimage. At the time of my former visit a picnic party was making libations of beer on the dreadful altar sites. But the mighty mystery of the place has not yet been stared out of countenance; and on this occasion there were no picnickers we were left to drink deep of all its ambiguities and intensities. It stands as lonely in history as it does on the great plain whose many tinted green waves, as they roll away from it, seem to symbolise the ebb of the long centuries which have left it so portentously unexplained. You may put a hundred questions to these rough hewn giants as they bend in grim contemplation of their fallen companions; but your curiosity falls dead in the vast sunny stillness that enshrouds them, and the strange monument, with all its unspoken memories, becomes simply a heart stirring picture in a land of pictures. It is indeed immensely vague and immensely deep. At a distance you see it standing in a shallow den of the plain, looking hardly larger than a group of ten-pins on a bowling green. I can fancy sitting all a summer’s day watching its shadows shorten and lengthen again, and drawing a delicious contrast between the world’s duration and the feeble span of individual experience.
There is something in Stonehenge almost reassuring to the nerves; if you are disposed to feel that the life of man has rather a thin surface, and that we may soon get to the bottom of things, the immemorial grey pillars may serve to represent for you the pathless vaults beneath the house of history…

Reply | with quote
Posted by moss
5th November 2006ce

In reply to:

Megalithic Poems (Littlestone)

1 reply:

Re: Henry James on Stonehenge (Littlestone)

Messages in this topic: