Friday, February 16, 2007

Chesterton at Notre Dame.

Last night, while we were both cleaning up after dinner, I got talking with my fellow Domer and brother Ciszekian Peter Folan about G. K. Chesterton and his association with the University of Notre Dame. Chesterton has a fair number of admirers at the Dome, including the people who run the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. Chesterton made a celebrated visit to the Notre Dame campus in 1930, an event you can read about in Father Arthur Hope's episodic history of the university and (in much greater detail) in a 2002 talk given by Ralph McInerny. The most enduring legacy of Chesterton's time at Notre Dame is his poem "The Arena," my favorite lines of which are the following:

I have seen, where a strange country
Opened its secret plains about me,
One great golden dome stand lonely with its golden image, one
Seen afar, in strange fulfillment,
Through the sunlit Indian summer,
That Apocalyptic portent that has clothed her with the Sun.

Among many other quotable remarks, Chesterton is also the one who opined, "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." I've always gotten a chuckle at that line, though some people I tell them to find them maddening. If you want a sense of the context, here's an attempt to explain the quotation. I came upon this link and all those given above following my conversation last night with Peter. In hopes that someone out there might enjoy them, I submit them for your approval. AMDG.


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