Sunday, 15 January 2012

The fallen king...

Standing there for a moment filled with dread Frodo became aware that a light was shining; he saw it glowing on Sam's face beside him. Turning towards it, he saw, beyond an arch of boughs, the road to Osgiliath running almost as straight as a stretched ribbon down, down, into the West. There, far away, beyond sad Gondor now overwhelmed in shade, the Sun was sinking, finding at last the hem of the great slow-rolling pall of cloud, and falling in an ominous fire towards the yet unsullied Sea. The brief glow fell upon a huge sitting figure, still and solemn as the great stone kings of Argonath. The years had gnawed it, and violent hands had maimed it. Its head was gone, and in its place was set in mockery a round rough-hewn stone, rudely painted by savage hands in the likeness of a grinning face with one large red eye in the midst of its forehead. Upon its knees and mighty chair, and all about the pedestal, were idle scrawls mixed with the foul symbols that the maggot-folk of Mordor used.

Suddenly, caught by the level beams, Frodo saw the old king's head: it was lying rolled away by the roadside. ''Look, Sam!'' he cried, startled into speech. ''Look! The king has got a crown again!''

The eyes were hollow and the carven beard was broken, but about the high stern forehead there was a coronal of silver and gold. A trailing plant with flowers like small white stars had bound itself across the brows as if in reverence for the fallen king, and in the crevices of his stony hair yellow stonecrop gleamed.

''They cannot conquer for ever!'' said Frodo. And then suddenly the brief glimpse was gone. The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the shattering of a lamp, black night fell. (J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter VII).

The image? A restored Rood Loft from Binham Priory in Norfolk. Our Lord was expunged, painted over with verses from an English Bible. Look at the eyes, in token of pity, almost grief. It was the beginning of the end.

1 comment:

  1. I read about the Solemn Evensong, Benediction and Procession at the New Liturgical Movement. I must confess, that i do not understand your aversion to this particular ceremony. The Church in England certainly celebrated Vespers, Benediction and Eucharistic Processions before the ''Ordinariate'' was instituted, even before Henry VIII's break with Roma. I just question what is here meant by ''Evensong''? Is that the englished form of proper, traditional Vespers, or is that Cranmer's invention - a mixture of Vespers, Completorium with certain catholic things left out, and protestant things put in?