Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Agony (April)

April reading. “In that dismal hermitage, his mind, preying on itself, had become disordered,” writes Marcus Clarke (1846-1881), such that drowning himself becomes his character’s wilful desire: “…as the short, sharp agony of suffocation caught him… he desperately struck out.” The convict grabs a log, fortuitously bearing him up. Clarke attended Highgate School with Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). Hopkins’ account of drowning is more famous. “Hope had grown grey hairs,” he writes of his nuns, “Hope had mourning on.” Their preparedness for death is not an attempt on their lives. “Five! the finding and sake/ And cipher of suffering Christ.”

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