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The Ballad of the White Horse de G. K.…
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The Ballad of the White Horse (1911 original; edició 1925)

de G. K. Chesterton

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One of the last great epic poems, this ballad tells the tale of Alfred the Great's unlikely victory -- with the assistance of the Virgin Mary -- over Gunthrum and the Danes at the Battle of Ethandune. A Catholic allegory relying more upon legends than historical facts, this chronicle is often considered Chesterton's greatest literary achievement.… (més)
Membre:TELawrence
Títol:The Ballad of the White Horse
Autors:G. K. Chesterton
Informació:Methuen & Co. (1925), Hardcover
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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The Ballad of the White Horse de G. K. Chesterton (1911)

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This poem attempts to mark a great historical event in English history. It does so not by chronicling history but by celebrating the human spirit. King Alfred the Great, against all odds, defeated Danish invaders in the year 878. The Battle of Ethandune went a long way in establishing the constitutional unity of an English people. Chesterton, writing over a millennium later, sought to use his prodigious talents to excite the English people to embrace their Christian history as they faced a coming century of a disorderly world.

Although the symbolism is clear, the poem is not overtly religious. The main triumph takes place on the battlefield and in the hearts of English soldiers. Chesterton, while outspoken, clearly possesses class and dignity. The Danish invaders represent a world of dark chaos while the English leader Alfred represents a culture of light, song, and rare class (like a white horse). Yes, Alfred represents all that is good on the English isle. And like all good British subjects, they should rally around their monarchical head of state.

This poem was picked up in the Battle of Britain in 1940 when the English were again fighting against all odds against the Nazis. Chesterton was used to remind the Brits not only of their ingenuity but also that their personal strength can overcome all odds. Indeed, Churchill – whatever his racist faults were – was a new King Alfred. Belief, faith, and heart are all evoked in this poem, and the verse sought to inspire an island and an Empire in tumult.

That same belief, faith, and heart are still needed in the world today. Chesterton reminds us that when wedded to skill, belief has a power that can overcome demagoguery and hollow show. That is true not only of England but also of the human race. Alfred, Chesterton, and England have plenty of faults, but they have also contributed to saving civilization. The battle for such victories lie within, based on personal courage and integrity. With its detailed crafting and human resonance, Chesterton’s poem simply inspires. ( )
  scottjpearson | Jun 15, 2020 |
The Ballad of the White Horse tells the story of Alfred the Great's shock victory over the invading Norsemen at the Battle of Ethandun near the White Horse of Uffington (a famous figure carved into chalk hill at some point in mists of England's prehistoric past). Written in ballad meter, we watch Alfred travel from the depths of despair, as his kingdom is lost to him, to the joy of victory over his enemies as many brave men die heroic (and bloody) deaths on the battlefield. Chesterton being Chesterton, there are many lessons to be imparted and learned here, but as always he makes the process enjoyable for himself and for his readers.

A poem for those who don't think they like poetry, it may be metered but its meaning is easy to pick out and the plotting is strong. My edition is a facsimile of an edition from the 1920s and is filled with fabulous period art nouveau illustrations. Highly recommended for fans of Chesterton and those with an interest in Alfred the Great or English history. ( )
  inge87 | May 31, 2017 |
Epic poetry is hard, especially for those of us who don't come from a strong oral storytelling tradition. The opening and closing chapters were strong, but in the middle I kind of struggled to keep going with it. I read this on my kindle at night and was also intermittently listening to the Illiad as an audio book in the car. The Ballad of the White Horse didn't compare well -- the timing was just slightly off, and it didn't have the polish of so many, many centuries of re-telling. Still, it was a good effort, and I might try re-reading it in the future.
( )
  Amelia_Smith | May 2, 2015 |
The story of the battle of King Alfred the Great, who unified the English.
  StJulian | Dec 29, 2008 |
Includes copious synopses and notes (pages 175-231)

This is a very interesting and famous work of historical literature. It is an epic poem - the sort of story that would have been performed aloud to an audience in days gone by. The style is beautiful and moving. It is the story of King Alfred the Great, the 9th century Christian king of Wessex who re-conquered England from the Danes (Vikings). It's an interesting mix (by Chesterton's own admission) of history, legend and allegory - always understanding what is essential to the story for many reasons. This is a beautiful text with an ancient-looking typeface and wood-cut style illustrations, appropriate to its lofty and epic nature.

The first time reading this, I was especially struck by its beautiful language and nuggets of wisdom. Here are a few favorite samples:

"When God put man in a garden
He girt him with a sword,
And sent him forth a free knight
That might betray his lord;

He brake Him and betrayed Him,
And fast and far he fell,
Till you and I may stretch our necks
and burn our beards in hell.

But though I lie on the floor of the world,
With the seven sins for rods,
I would rather fall with Adam
Than rise with all your gods." (Book 3, 305-310)

"Our monks go robed in rain and snow,
But the heart of flame therein,
But you go clothed in feasts and flames,
When all is ice within;

Nor shall all iron dooms make dumb
Men wondering ceaselessly,
If it be not better to fast for joy
Than feast for misery." (Book 3, 350-355)

Even some of my fairly young children (grades three and six) really enjoyed listening to the beauty of the language and picking up bits of truth - like the contrast between fasting for joy and feasting for misery - that rings of truth about the shallow and temporary happiness of the pleasures of this world.

It is an amazing story of the development of virtue in this Christian king, with many glimpses into core Christian beliefs (with a lovely Marian theme). It is heroic, patriotic and a classic in every way. What a great thing it would be if every high schooler studied it and learned to appreciate it on some level. And as a note - it might be very helpful to read this aloud - to any age or even to yourself! ( )
2 vota alivanmom | Nov 21, 2008 |
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» Afegeix-hi altres autors (8 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Chesterton, G. K.autor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Austin, RobertIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sheridan, BernadetteEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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One of the last great epic poems, this ballad tells the tale of Alfred the Great's unlikely victory -- with the assistance of the Virgin Mary -- over Gunthrum and the Danes at the Battle of Ethandune. A Catholic allegory relying more upon legends than historical facts, this chronicle is often considered Chesterton's greatest literary achievement.

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