LIVES LESS ORDINARY
That best portion of a good man’s lifeHis little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.
My Perfect Mind ended its run at the Young Vic on Saturday (our national tour starts tomorrow in Bristol). We went out on a high note and, in my dressing room before the matinee, I finished Middlemarch, which I’ve been reading on my Kindle throughout the run. If one is going to have nineteenth-century moralizing, surely there can be no finer or more convincing example than George Eliot’s. Her final note on that score is particularly impressive and moving. In considering her heroine Dorothea’s imperfect, unfulfilled life and its nonetheless incalculable effect on those around her, she perceives that many of us live lives of quiet inspiration, that the world is often changed by small loving acts of unknown people.
For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
This view of (West) Hampstead Cemetery, seemingly unchanged since the
nineteenth century, is just a few paces from the little patch of meadow
that is the haunt of the Gatekeeper butterfly.
|Photo by KR|
In loving memory of Louisa, the dearly loved wife of William Day, who fell asleep in Jesus on February 21, 1905, aged 36.
Weep not for me, my friend so dear, I am not dead, but sleeping here. In faith I lie, my grave you see, Prepare yourself to follow me.
|Photos by KR|
May I …
Be the sweet presence of a good diffus’d,
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world.
|Photo by EP|
… or like the butterfly
Whose wing might cause the dreaded hurricane
Do our faintest flutters never die
But echo through the cosmos, and remain?