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Cliche Came Out of its Cage

Written by: C S Lewis | Biography
 | Quotes (33) |
 1

You said 'The world is going back to Paganism'. 
Oh bright Vision! I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House 
Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes, 
And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes, 
Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses 
To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem. 
Hestia's fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before 
The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands 
Tended it By the hearth the white-armd venerable mother 
Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. at the hour 
Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave 
Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush 
Arose (it is the mark of freemen's children) as they trooped, 
Gleaming with oil, demurely home from the palaestra or the dance. 
Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods, 
Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men, 
Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged 
Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die 
Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing. 
Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune 
Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions; 
Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears ... 
You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop.

2

Or did you mean another kind of heathenry? 
Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth, 
Fortified Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm. 
Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll 
Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound; 
But the bond wil1 break, the Beast run free. The weary gods, 
Scarred with old wounds the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand, 
Will limp to their stations for the Last defence. Make it your hope 
To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them; 
For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die 
His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong 
Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last, 
And every man of decent blood is on the losing side. 
Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits 
Who walked back into burning houses to die with men, 
Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals 
Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim. 
Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs; 
You that have Vichy water in your veins and worship the event 
Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).



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