For there is not any vertue that disposeth a man, either to the service of God, or to the service of his Country, to Civill Society, or private Friendship, that did not manifestly appear in his conversation, not as acquired by necessity, or affected upon occasion, but inhaerent, and shining in a generous constitution of his nature. Therefore in honour and gratitude to him, and with devotion to your selfe, I humbly Dedicate unto you this my discourse of Common-wealth. I know not how the world will receive it, nor how it may reflect on those that shall seem to favour it. For in a way beset with those that contend on one side for too great Liberty, and on the other side for too much Authority, ’tis hard to passe between the points of both unwounded.
This then a tribute to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Rarely has any man been so beguiling in public life that so much has been written, whether in anticipation of his attaining office, or in examining the minutiae of his action when in such office. He has become a character in his own drama, or his own comedy, known by his single praenomen, ‘Boris’, as a trademark as much as a name; the persona behind which presumably a real man lives. Who that man is, we many never know: just that all men and women in politics these last years have lived in his shadow. And some resented it with a deadly passion.
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
It was not with aforethought intent that so much was written about Boris, but as so much was, it makes a volume in itself, written in fits and starts, with no plan, no structure, no determined journey to Ithaka – nor even to 7 Eccles Street – but written as inspiration struck, on the topics or musings of the day. It is a measure of the fascination or loathing he has inspired that so much has been written with Boris at the centre of it, even without the commentator’s meaning to, and this just on direct references, not the events set in motion by him and carried forth by others.
The man himself is still here and still as brimful with energy, perhaps more so with responsibilities lifted from him. (Responsibilities he always wore lightly, which was most of the trouble.) It may be he shall reach the Happy Isles, or will stroll to the farm of Cincinnatus or to Colombey. We cannot tell.
Of what was written on this blog, random and unplanned, is recorded here as our own Borisiad.