While visiting London, we spent several hours in Westminster Abbey. While I am generally quite conscious of how much of my interior life is indebted to great men and women of the past who have contributed to the arts and sciences over the centuries, that feeling was particularly acute while roaming through the Abbey. In the first few minutes of our visit, I found myself walking across the spot where John Blow was buried – and said thanks, John, for all of the great keyboard music that I enjoy playing centuries later. We missed it by a day or so, but Stephen Hawkings ashes were laid to rest there this week.
A partial list of what I remember seeing, individuals either buried in the Abbey or for which there were memorial statues (besides English royalty, which like today’s politicians, contribute very little if anything to my inner life, except perhaps to its detriment).
Muzio Clementi, George Handel, Henry Purcell, Charles Stanford, Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaugh Williams, Benjamin Britten, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Isaac Newton, James Maxwell, Paul Dirac, Lord Kelvin, Charles Darwin, Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Ben Jonson, William Blake, Auden, Dylan Thomas, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Chaucer, Byron, Thomas Hardy, Robert Browning, William Turner.