Did you hear that a grieving husband has been prevented from putting a line from Byron on the tombstone of his wife? The line comes from the poem ‘So We’ll Go No More a Roving’. Perhaps it is to be expected that when I googled this to find out more, the two sites that came up first were The Telegraph and The Daily Mail: I realise what this tells us, but I won’t type it here. Radio 3 even seemed to protest at this by having a poem read on the breakfast show on Thursday. I know! What have things come to! What riotous protest is this?
If you want to follow those links to those sites they are here (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7886787/Widower-heartbroken-Church-blocks-including-classic-Lord-Byron-verse-wifes-tombstone.html) and here (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/14/lord-byron-poem-banned-church-england-gravestone/).
From the outside, this seems deeply sad for all kinds of reasons. The Telegraph puts forward the idea that ‘A poem by Lord Byron has been banned from a Church of England Gravestone [not quite sure why the capital there, but who am I to quibble?] after a court has said that the words offer no “Christian hope of resurrection”‘; there’s a spin on this there that I am sure you can see – and an agenda (or perhaps the ground is being laid for one is a better way of saying it: imagine what The Telegraph will thunder when a line of Roger Robinson is proposed by a grieving relative for a gravestone). But isn’t it interesting. I mean, consider (now you’ve read the article) who is being offended and why – and what a line of poetry might represent and to whom. Even now.
Do please enjoy that The Telegraph also has a handy ‘profile’ about Byron next to the story which includes a handy ‘When did he become infamous?’ ‘FAQ’-style section, so that anyone reading without any knowledge of Byron (who am I to suggest how many Telegraph readers that might be?) can be outraged, too, without putting themselves to any trouble.