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After the Parthagica moments everything else pales.


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In 1127 Henry invited the king of the Scots to Windsor to join in the royal celebration of Christmas, but the festivities were marred by an unseemly quarrel between the two primates. Thurstan, Archbishop of York, encroaching upon the privileges of his brother of Canterbury (William de Corbeuil), insisted upon placing the crown upon the king's head ere he set out for church. This the partisans of Canterbury would not allow, settling the matter by turning Thurstan's chaplain and followers out of doors, and thereby causing such strife between the heads of the Church that they both set off to Rome to lay their grievances before the Pope. And, subsequently, appeals to Rome became frequent, until a satisfactory adjustment of the powers and privileges of the two archbishops was arrived at. The Archbishop of Canterbury was acknowledged Primate of all England and Metropolitan; but, while the privilege of crowning the sovereign was reserved for the Archbishop of Canterbury, that of crowning the Queen Consort was given to the Archbishop of York.

Edward FitzGerald once said that a fault of modern writing was that it tried to compress too many good things into a page, and aimed too much at omitting the homelier interspaces. We must not try to make our lives into a perpetual feast; at least we must try to do so, but it must be by conquest rather than by inglorious flight; we must face the fact that the stuff of life is both homely and indeed amiss, and realise, if we can, that our happiness is bound up with energetically trying to escape from conditions which we cannot avoid. When we are young and fiery-hearted, we think that a tame counsel; but, like all great truths, it dawns on us slowly. Not until we begin to ascend the hill do we grasp how huge, how complicated, how intricate the plain, with all its fields, woods, hamlets, and streams is; we are happy men and women if in middle age we even faintly grasp that the actual truth about life is vastly larger and finer than any impatient youthful fancies about it are, though it is good to have indulged our splendid fancies in youth, if only for the delight of learning how much more magnificent is the real design.

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