March 31, 2006

Good and clever

Posted in Knitting, Varia at 12:31 pm by mamalu

Franklin’s Good Girls versus Bad Girls* field hockey match got me thinking that the good girls (and I believe they was robbed) could also be divided into the “good” and the “clever,” along the lines of the poem by that name. That sent me off to find it, and I was startled to discover that it does not end, as I thought, at the end of the second verse, but that there is a third.

    Good and Clever
    If all the good people were clever,
      And all clever people were good,
    The world would be nicer than ever
      We thought that it possibly could.
   
    But somehow ’tis seldom or never
      The two hit it off as they should,
    The good are so harsh to the clever,
      The clever, so rude to the good!
   
    So friends, let it be our endeavour
      To make each by each understood;
    For few can be good, like the clever,
      Or clever, so well as the good.
    Elizabeth Wordsworth

I’m afraid the last verse is a bit of a cop-out; no wonder it has been forgotten. I also looked for more information about Elizabeth Wordsworth. She was described in one place as “grand niece of the poet Wordsworth” and in another as “educator.” I think that hardly does justice to a woman who founded two Oxford Colleges—Lady Margaret Hall and St. Hugh’s College. I vaguely remember my mother saying that she was a friend or at least acquaintance of my grandmother’s. That wouldn’t surprise me, since Granny was something of a bluestocking. She was also friends with Miss Willis of Downe House and made good use of her time by attending lectures in London before she was married (which didn’t happen until she was pushing 30).

I asked my mother if my grandmother had been a suffragette, but I was told that she disapproved of the woman, Emily Davison, who flung herself in front of one of the horses at the running of the 1913 Derby. Miss Davison died of her injuries, but I gather, the cause of Granny’s disapproval was the possibility that it might have resulted in the horse having to be put down.

Knitting
The shawl won out over the wristwarmers again last night. I am five rows away from the watershed, so I think it’s going on the ferry with me today, and then I’ll
put it aside.


* I can’t tell you how chuffed I am that the link to the Panopticon goes to the right post. (Back)

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