The incomparable Roger Scruton has a review of an old speech. The year was 1968, and a British politician stood up to warn about the perils of immigration:
“Human kind cannot bear very much reality,” said T. S. Eliot. It is not one of his best lines, but he used it twice—in Murder in the Cathedral and in Four Quartets—and in both places its prosaic rhythmlessness reinforces its sense, reminding us that our exaltations are invented things, and that we prefer inspiring fantasies to sobering facts. Enoch Powell was no different, and his inspiring fantasy of England caused him to address his countrymen as though they still enjoyed the benefits of a classical education and an imperial culture. How absurd, in retrospect, to end a speech warning against the effects of uncontrolled immigration with a concealed quotation from Virgil. “As I look ahead,” Powell said, “I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’” These words were addressed to an England that had forgotten the story of the Aeneid, along with every other story woven into its former identity as the “sweet, just, boyish master” of the world—to borrow Santayana’s luminous phrase. It is hardly surprising that Powell’s words were instantly converted to “rivers of blood,” and their speaker dismissed as a dangerous madman.H/t Arts & Letters Daily.
Confer with Ron's warning, in the comments below, that the old Boy Scout Handbooks can no longer be read by the boys of today.