Monday, 19 April 2021

19 April, A Chesterton Calendar (See Note)

APRIL 19th

PRIMROSE DAY

If the great Jew who led the English Tories understood patriotism (as I do not doubt that he did) it must have been a decidedly special and peculiar kind of patriotism, and it necessarily laid him open to the mistake about the relative positions of the terms Emperor and King. To him no doubt Emperor seemed obviously a higher title; just as Brother of the Sun and Moon would have seemed to him a higher title than Second Cousin of the Evening Star. Among Orientals all such titles are towering and hyperbolical. But of kingship as it has been felt among Christian men he had no notion, and small blame to him. He did not understand the domestic, popular, and priestly quality in the thing; the idea expressed in the odd old phrase of being the breath of his people's nostrils; the mystical life pumped through the lungs and framework of a state.

'Illustrated London News.'

N.B. Despite what GKC seems to have thought, Christendom has always viewed Emperor as the higher title than King. Hence the Holy Roman Emperor ruled over Kings, and indeed had the sole power to grant the Royal title in Mediaeval Europe.

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