What is it about Stonehenge that makes
people take their senses leave? Oh, why
should a harmless group of megaliths
induce a softening of the brain?
Hill persistently, with erudition
examines in her witty book Stonehenge.
One great strength of Hill is that her method
does not merely laugh at what appears
as ludicrous beliefs. Instead, with care
she unpicks them, showing why they were
attractive in their given cultures, how
scholarly their adherents often were
apart from their perfunctory descent
into Stonehenge madness.
Mr. Wood in 1747,
his book on Stonehenge published,
claimed it should be rightly called “Choir
gaur,” from the Hebrew via Welsh,
and that the priesthood of the druids
had secrets of the stars’ designed and hidden,
figured in the emblems of their temples.
Even fellow druid-fanciers
mocked these whimseys of a crackt romantic
But today the science,
astro-archeology, has shown
that Stonehenge is, in truth, a way to see.
The holes in stones within the outer ring
were designed and could foretell the moon’s
eclipses on a cycle lasting fifty
It is an ancient looking lens
to observe the languid moving moon.
The Georgian Bath was also made by Wood,
an architect who with his son designed it.
And when he made the Circus there, he based
it on The Giants Dance, an ancient name
for Stonehenge: post and lintel hanging stones
built about five thousand years ago.
It’s sixty Hebrew cubits wide (the measure
Wood believed the druids used), its thirty
houses equal to the outer row
of thirty sarsen stones. It’s crowned with large
acorns, dear to druids as “priests
of the hollow oak.”
And Wood believed
the circle made of stone at Stanton Drew,
near Bristol, was a temple to the moon
and a druid university,
and his son designed at Bath the Royal
Crescent as a lunar symbol.
Circus has been copied round again
by other architects. Without it we
wouldn’t have the Oxford Circus
or Piccadilly Circus, or, Hill declares,
the modern traffic island, the planners’
of the towns interpretation
of Wood’s idea.
Thus, the ancient humans
foretold the moon’s alluring cycle, building
our urban path, that we may round
about celestial artifacts and make
our modern urban daily tide a circus.
And even if the author’s claim is fancy,
on ground atop they built a place to gather
inside the lunar earth their figures dead,
they buried those remembered at Stonehenge,
like we top the ground with concrete, building
Arc de Triumph or World War One memorial
and traffic islands where we can assemble.
The above text begins as an interpreted versification drawn from “Stonehenge by Rosemary Hill,” a review by John Carey of her book in the Sunday Times on June 8, 2008. As it continues, thoughts without a source are added along with ones from other sites, like Fais-Do-Do’s about us page or Militant Angeleno.
Is Rosemary Hill’s claim true? Additional research on the Origins and Histories of Traffic Islands reveals that, although her story is lovely, she is most likely incorrect. Nonetheless, since Stonehenge was the origin of the English Circus, it did certainly result in the creation of many a Circuses and, hence, traffic islands built by the English, such as those in Piccadilly Circus.
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