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Insula Albionum

[1]2,008 words

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,

That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice

–Sir Cecil Spring-Rice

Wistful and romantic as it may seem, there are still parts of the Faerie Isle that retain the magic of A. A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, where if you are very lucky you can catch a glimpse of Arthur Rackham’s elfin folk frolicking in spring meadows, and taste the tang of wood smoke rolling from the inglenook chimney of Tolkien’s Cottage of Lost Play in the gloaming at the end of an autumnal day.

You can still find green fields and wooded islets where Enid Blyton’s boys and girls, Charles Kingsley’s water babies, Kenneth Grahame’s Ratty and Badger, and Arthur Ransom’s Swallows and Amazons romp abroad in innocent play. This is still a land where Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius resounds over Housman’s blue remembered hills and London’s Victorian sash windows reflect the mischievous face of J. M. Barrie’s protégé, a mischievous little tyke who never grows up and comes to steal your children away, and where Kipling’s Puck sings of Weland’s sword and oak, ash and thorn, deep in the heart of Sussex’s chalky weald, before the Normans came on that fateful day.

This is the idyllic country described by the Greek geographer Pytheas in the fourth century BC as the Brittanic Isles, home to the Pritani, and by classic writers like Isidore of Charax and the Roman Pliny the Elder as Albion and Ierne, immortalized in Shakespeare’s memorable description:

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England . . .

England is a nation allegedly founded by the mythic Albina and Brutus, as recorded in the poetic manuscript of the Des Grantz Geanz and celebrated in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain:

Brutus! there lies beyond the Gallic bounds
An island which the western sea surrounds,
By giants once possessed, now few remain
To bar thy entrance, or obstruct thy reign.
To reach that happy shore thy sails employ
There fate decrees to raise a second Troy
And found an empire in thy royal line,
Which time shall ne’er destroy, nor bounds confine.

England was ruled by Brythonic tribal leaders like Cassibelaunu, Verica, and Antedios, prior to the Julian and Claudian invasions. And then, in their turn, there were Alfred’s Saxon descendants, like Athelstan, who was crowned at the Coronation Stone on the bank of the Thames. Five hundred years later, his line was forced to relinquish their realm in fire and blood to the Houses of Normandy, Blois, and Anjou, and subsequently to the Plantagenets, Lancastrians, Yorkists, Tudors, and Stuarts.

What a tumultuous brew of blood we are: an admixture of Romano-Celt, Saxon, Norman, and Norse. We are warriors, traders, healers, and explorers, skilled in metals and boreal lore. We are lords of a landscape filled with the poet Robert Browning’s hazy days between May and August, with apple blossom blowing through Herefordshire cider orchards; tree-filled churchyards; grey, woolly clouds hanging over crashing ocean waves; elderflower wine at village fetes; and the loveliness of wildflower meadows filled with a mosaic of butterflies on a bright summer morning.

England is home to cities of learning like Lewis Carroll’s Oxford and Francis Bacon’s Cambridge, as well as to provincial towns like William Morris’ beloved Bibury and quiet hamlets of thatched cottages. These realms are inhabited by the progenitors of the Magna Carta, which paved the way for property rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and democracy. And it is a kingdom whose throne has been occupied by valiant kings such as Henry V, who rallied his men before a mighty foe, as memorialized by Shakespeare:

Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

There have also been defiant Virgin Queens, like the fiery redhead who stood before her troops at Tilbury:

My loving people.

We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you on a word of a prince, they shall be duly paid. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

These are words that resonate within the fibrous DNA of the hosts of Albion. They are the builders of Henges and the makers of stone rings since Doggerland, eight thousand years ago. They are the forgers both of empires and of vessels that commanded the seven seas. It is the motherland to heroes from many fields, such as Raleigh, Drake, Frobisher, and Nelson; Caxton, Jenner, Babbage, Newton, and Watt; Cook, Shackleton, Lawrence, and Scott; Darwin, Fleming, Faraday, and Hawking; Marlborough, Clive, Wolfe, Wellington, and Colonel Tim Collins, who spoke thusly on the eve before Operation Desert Storm:

The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.
If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer.
You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest – for your deeds will follow you down through history.
We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.
It is not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself.
If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.
As for ourselves, let’s bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.
Our business now is North.

These are not the sentiments of a cowed and battered nation. They are the aspirations of a quietly determined population, slow to anger but terrible when aroused. They are European conquerors, not slaves to be subjected to the cur-like whip tongues of lickspittles, an ignorant herd that needs to be brought back into line. And believe me when I say that we are stirring from our torpor, breaking our shackles, and are shocked by the arrogance of an EU President who acts more like an Oriental potentate than a servant of the will of free peoples, surrounded as he is by the Balrogs of Brussels and the Saurons and Sarumans of Strasbourg. They spend their days whispering and plotting in their covens that were bought and paid for by the likes of George Soros and his cadaverous slime.

Many of us want to leave the EU, not because we have set our hearts in opposition to our Continental brothers and sisters, but because we long to remain truly European. We hope for an identitarian future under the Hellenic lambda banner. We should proclaim our intent to end the tyranny of this globalist monarchy, not through the auspices of an appeaser like Theresa May and her obsequious cabinet, but instead with the fierceness of a daughter of Boudica, possessing the gritty, governess-like spirit of a real-life Mary Poppins. We make our case over the heads of these unelected bureaucrats, who seem to think they can negotiate away our homelands and our very existence by appealing directly to the peoples of Europe. But these same peoples are the Yellow Vest protesters in France, the thousands of Belgians who took to the streets to object to the UN’s Global Migration Compact, and the multitudes of patriotic Austrians, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Poles, Slovaks, and Slovenes who are resisting multiculturalism and ethnic replacement in their lands.

We have been slaying mighty dragons in this blessed place since Saint Servanus in the sixth century, and I clearly recall what Shakespeare once wrote of this:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!”