03 September 2006

All The Useless Things

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us    I've been thinking a lot lately about Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII, Edward VI and eventually ("Bloody") Mary Tudor.  Don't ask me why.  I love this image at right (click on it for a larger version), though, from John Foxe's The Actes and Monuments..., aka The Book of Martyrs, a text that became crucial to the survival of the Anglican Church during its post-Henrician turmoil.  Oddly enough, between Cranmer, Foxe and the eventual translators-writers of the King James Bible, you essentially but not completely have the three pillars upon which the Anglican house somehow managed to remain standing: the English Book of Common Prayer, The Book of the Martyrs and the English Bible.  (Crude and grossly simplified, yes, but not untrue, I think.)  Cranmer reminds me, though, that when all is said and done-- and the dances of pragmatism and peaceability have been called capriciously to an end-- you can still choose how you're going to burn, at least on mundaner planes.  Somehow, I find that wonderfully steeling, especially when the gloves are off.  Now what's that line from Mr Eliot again about ashes on an old man's sleeve? 
    (Post-script: Not sure about the title of this entry?  Then see here.) 

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