Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Natural Beauty was being Threatened

... And just when he perceived this most passionately (in his young manhood) that natural beauty was being threatened from without by the machine and the foundry and the railway. We, now, are used to our critics being filthy and to tracts of our country being black, and to the railway as a means of transport. But in Ruskin's time those things were only beginning, and their beginning seemed to him a vile poisoning and degradation of base and beastly purposes of whatever was lovely and sacred, on which the mind of man could brood and in which the eye of man could see the Divine. He saw what he calls "the blunt hard hand" marring the Divine vision - John Bull wadding in to the place of St. George, the Diving revealer flouted by this not golden, but rather stony Jerusalem, which had stoned so many of the prophets, Blakd and Keats and Wordsworth...

Ruskin the Prophet, Ruskin by J Masefield, ed, J Howard Whitehouse; page 19.

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