Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dicken's Preaches Christ

And let us linger in this place for an instant to remark that if ever household affections and loves are graceful things, they are graceful in the poor. The ties that bind the wealthy and the proud to home may be forged on earth, but those which link the poor man to his humble hearth are of the true metal and bear the stamp of Heaven. The man of high descent may love the halls and lands of his inheritance as a part of himself, as trophies of his birth and power; his associations with them are associations of pride and wealth and triumph; the poor man's attachment to the tenements he holds, which strangers have held before, and may tomorrow occupy again, has a worthier root, struck deep into a purer soil. His household gods are flesh and blood, with no alloy of silver, gold, or precious stone; he has no property but in the affections of his own heart; and when they endear bare floors and walls, despite of rags and toil and scanty meals, that man has his love of home from God, and his rude hut becomes a solemn place.

Oh! if those who rule the destinies of nations would but remember this – if they would but think how hard it is for the very poor to have engendered in their hearts that love of home from which all domestic virtues spring, when they live in dense and squalid masses where social decency is lost, or rather never found, – if they would but turn aside from the wide thoroughfares and great houses, and strive to improve the wretched dwellings in bye-ways where only poverty may walk – many low roofs would point more truly to the sky, than the loftiest steeple that now rears proudly up from the midst of guilt, and crime, and horrible disease, to mock them by its contrast. In hollow voices from Workhouse, Hospital, and Jail, this truth is preached from day to day, and has been proclaimed for years. It is no light matter – no outcry from the working vulgar – no mere question of the people's health and comforts that may be whistled down on Wednesday nights. In love of home, the love of country has its rise; and who are the truer patriots or the best in time of need – those who venerate the land, owning its wood, and stream, and earth, and all that they produce? or those who love their country, boasting not a foot of ground in all its wide domain?
-- Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop


Purgatory Penman said...


I have missed your commentary on my writing. Have you read the blog lately?

I've recently gotten hooked on Dickens's works again. After reading DAVID COPPERFIELD, I've realized what I missed in high school and college. When I finish THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP, perhaps we can compare notes.

Tony Arnold said...

I am trying to keep up. I barely blog on my site. Work takes a lot of my time these days. I do read your blog but don't always comment. I look forward to sharing notes.

JMG said...

That last line about "not boasting a foot of ground" in the country reminds me of Abraham not living to receive the promise, but looking faithfully forward to it nonetheless.