Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Audrey the rat; sad Parker; consoling PSB

I am sad because I have had my little rat, Audrey, put to sleep. She was a very good age for a rat, and it was time to call it a day because she was becoming miserable, and she had had a pleasant life, and I did everything I could to make her comfortable as she grew more frail: all these supposedly comforting things are true, but I still feel very sad. I will miss her. She liked to sit on my lap and make happy teeth-chattering noises. She had an annoying habit of casually chewing things as she passed them, so that most of my electrical goods now have thick clumps of insulating tape around their cables, but when I shouted Hey Audrey, stop that! at her she would look up as if to say Oh, it's you! and then bound over to me and climb onto my lap to have her neck scratched. This was endearing. When given the choice, she preferred to run towards me rather than away, and when rats do this it always seems like a bit of a miracle to me, given the tremendous disparity in size between us.

I have also been reading Matthew Parker's eventually futile attempts not to become archbishop of Canterbury. All bishops are supposed not to want to be bishops, it's a topos known as noli episcopari, but I think in Parker's case, as probably in the case of all those who ought to be bishops, it was not a pose. Poor old Parker. He only wanted to be left along with his books. When his friends Bacon and Burghley, elevated by the accession of Elizabeth I, were first offering to do something for him after the lean fugitive years of Mary's reign, he said this:
But to tell you my heart, I had rather have such a thing as Benet College is in Cambridge, a living of twenty nobles by the year at the most, than to dwell in the deanery of Lincoln, which is two hundred at the least.

He was hoping to be restored to the mastership of Corpus, which he had been forced to resign for religious reasons. But he soon began to understand that they had a higher and much worse honour in store for him.
But, sir, except ye both moderate and restrain your overmuch good will in the former respects to me-ward, I fear, in the end, I shall dislike you both, and that your benevolences should by occasion of my obstinate untowardness jeopard me into prison; yet there shall I bear you my good heart, which I had rather suffer in a quiet conscience, than to be intruded into such room and vocation, wherein I should not be able to answer the charge to God nor to the world, wherein I should not serve the Queen’s honour, which I would wish most heartily advanced in all her wise and godly proceedings; nor yet should I live to the honour of the realm, and so finally should but work a further displeasant contemplation to my good friends who preferred me.

But Elizabeth had decided, and Parker couldn't do much about it. Being archbishop of Canterbury made Parker miserable, and his last letters, after the death of his wife, are very pitiable.

Here is an excellent Pet Shop Boys remix which is helping me to feel better through expressing my melancholy.

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