"There Is a Land of Pure Delight"
Isaac Watts (1674–1748)
When that wise old fellow Geoffrey Chaucer described the Franklin on the pilgrimage to Canterbury, it was as a well-fed man whose house “snowed meat and fish,” and his cook had better keep the sauces sharp and spicy, or he’d hear it from his master. That’s because the Franklin, says Chaucer, “was Epicurus’ own son,” and “it was his belief that pure delight / Was true and perfect happiness aright.” Well, the Franklin was wrong about that, or at least he was wrong about where you can find that delight that is true happiness. Chaucer was setting up the Franklin and his worldly opinion to knock them down. Not that his courtly audience would have needed him to do that. I am sure that, as fancy in their ways as they were, and as lavish in their spending, the well-taught court of Richard II, whom Chaucer delighted with his poems and stories, knew better than that.
If only we could keep that knowledge in our minds! Our true and perfect happiness cannot be here. How can it be, when all t…
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