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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, January 26, 2009
    The best things are the most frequent
     
    So the other day it was James Hervey throwing light on the glory of the mundane; today I discover that on the latest leg of Mister Roy's tremendous odyssey Roy (long-distance walker, online chronicler and devoted photographer of motorway hard shoulders, gateposts, road signs and pints of beer) found in his copy of Thomas Traherne's Selected Writings, 'an exhilarating manifesto':
    ‘…God being, as we generally believe, infinite in goodness, it is most consonant and agreeable with His nature, that the best things should be most common. For nothing is more natural to infinite goodness, than to make the best things most frequent; and only things worthless scarce. Then I began to enquire what things were most common: Air, Light, Heaven and Earth, Water, the Sun, Trees, Men and Women, Cities, Temples, &c. These I found common and obvious to all: Rubies, Pearls, Diamonds, Gold and Silver, these I found scarce, and to the most denied. Then began I to consider and compare the value of them which I measured by their serviceableness, and by the excellencies which would be found in them, should they be taken away. And in conclusion, I saw clearly, that there was a real valuableness in all the common things; in the scarce, a feigned.’
    A beautiful perversion of conventional assumptions, as enlightening now as when he wrote this, 350 years ago. This synchronicity encourages me to try my very best to get to Rod Garner's session on Traherne’s poetry on 17 March at Edge Hill Uni [details in this pdf booklet].