Wednesday, 9 January 2013
St John the Evangelist from the Old English ''Grimbald Gospels,'' early 11th century. The impression I get is ''Western yet Orthodox.'' I get the same feeling from memories of having visited churchyards and the ruins of monasteries in Cornwall and Ireland, all those ominous standing crosses, and, curiously, my impression of the Barrow-downs and the ruins of Weathertop. Tom Bombadil's description of the mounds in the grassy hills, and Frodo's vision of the shadow shapes of men stalking through the hills in times past, a vision of that which has been left far behind by the flowing streams of Time. Like old English Orthodoxy.
Now I am off to finish reading The Hobbit. I tried to read it back in September, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its publication, but I was too depressed. As it happens, Bilbo and the Dwarves have successfully opened the ''secret door'' into the Lonely Mountain and the Dwarves are all counting on Bilbo to go down to do something about Smaug and earn his share in the treasure. That I have reached this far is a very good sign indeed.