Thursday, May 11, 2006

St. Paul's Cathedral

Today is our last full day in London and the last full day of the trip. After breakfast tomorrow, we'll head to Gatwick for our flight home. One of our stops today was St. Paul's Cathedral. Marc and I been there in February, but we thought his mom might like to see it. Also, we hadn't paid the entrance fee back then, so we hadn't gotten to explore the best parts of it.

The place really is amazing. At 28 pounds for the three of us, it wasn't cheap (that's about $52), but I wasn't disappointed. We've seen some amazing places during this trip--places that are inspiring to behold--but St. Paul's really holds its own. The size of it is impressive, but so is the quality of the work that went into it. It's magnificent.

In addition, for a history buff like me, it sure has a lot to offer. Many of the greats of Western history walked in its aisles, and several notables are entombed in its crypt.

I found it interesting that the poet John Donne had served as Dean of St. Paul's. A work of his that I (and many of us) learned in school was actually a sermon, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions XVII, in which he counseled that we must remember that we are all part of a greater group: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." Speaking of the bell that would be sounded for someone who had taken ill or died, in words often misquoted (by me as well as others), he said, "never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

His sermon is worth the time to read today as much as it would have been if you had lived almost 400 years ago when he gave it to his congregation. I don't mean that in the religious sense, for it certainly is a call to devotion to the church, and I'm not even a Christian. I mean, rather, that it's an excellent linguistic work, as well as a passage in which we each may find some meaning. If you'd like to read the whole thing, you may find it here.

3 comments:

Sangroncito said...

London prices are crazy but it's all worth it.
Have a good trip home.

Bruce said...

Playing catchup ... reading in reverse order ... but I must say, I'm envious! Haven't been to England yet. "Well, I've never been to Spain, but I've been to Oklahoma..."

Will said...

Have a good trip back. We're having rains here in the Noah's Flood league.

Fritz and I managed an affordable week in Wales a couple of years ago--the prices there are nothing like London, fortunately! But there's a ton of history, great scenery and really lovely people.