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'You are as good as the Duke of Norfolk'

life_heraldry_norfolk.jpg

Some years ago I made the acquaintance of a gentle man who had become a teacher to support his family. He lacked the personal strength to make much headway with his students, but shortly before he died he led them in a class of heraldry, with each student creating his own escutcheon of personally meaningful symbols. The students were enthralled. Of course! wrote GK Chesterton decades earlier, "all these towering symbols and flamboyant colours, should have been extended to mankind" -

. . .the democrats made the appalling mistake - a mistake at the root of the whole modern malady - of decreasing the human magnificence of the past instead of increasing it. They did not say, as they should have done, to the common citizen, You are as good as the Duke of Norfolk, but used that meaner democratic formula, The Duke of Norfolk is no better than you are.

I am pretty sure that the late Duke of Norfolk would have agreed with Chesterton.

Thanks to Chronicles of Atlantis for the citation.

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