Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Heroes and Babies
I think some Oxford English Limited colleagues, possibly including Justin’s mother, felt at the time that this was rather eccentric behaviour. So I am delighted to find, decades later, that I have good Morrisian authority for this supposedly curious practice. For as the crowds gather round the Burg of the Niblungs to see Sigurd the Volsung pass in and out in Morris’s great epic poem, ‘oft the mother turned,/And spake to the laughing baby: “O little son, and dear ... thou [may] sayest when all is sung,/’And I too once beheld him in the days when I was young’” (Book III). So there you are: all doting parents want their babies to see their heroes, all the way from Sigurd to Raymond Williams. Nothing in the least abnormal about that!