Google’s superb doodle of the day depicts the Great Court of the British Museum, a wonderful institution and national gem that I always love to visit.
Today I am reminded of the inscription on the floor of that great court, opened in the year 2000, taken from Tennyson’s poem “The Two Voices”:
The stanza in full:
Forerun thy peers, thy time, and let
Thy feet, millenniums hence, be set
In midst of knowledge, dream'd not yet.
The full text of the excellent, autobiographical poem (begun as far back as 1833 though not published until 1842) is available here.
This morning I was catching up on Andrew Sullivan’s weekend blogging (yes, I’m a Dishhead), and unusually I actually recognised the poem selected for his “A Poem For Sunday” segment.
This rarely happens; poetry has never really been my thing, but since I studied this particular poet at school I enjoyed her writing.
I thought I would reproduce this one in full on my blog, as a tonic from the caustic observations and dissents that I seem to have been producing a lot of recently. I don’t want to develop a reputation as a total grouch.
“Remember”, by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more, day by day,
You tell me of our future that you planned;
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve;
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
I found this much more understatedly moving and memorable than “Goblin Market“, which we also studied. But then unlike my own writing, in poetry I have always favoured brevity.