6 May 2012

Charles Mackay's Grave in Kensal Green Cemetery, London

The grave of Charles Mackay (1814–1889) has (on top) a dove with a lyre, which is now broken.

Mackay was a Scottish poet and journalist whose most widely known book is almost without doubt Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841), a history of 'popular' madnesses, such as 'economic bubbles' (like the South Sea Bubble and 'tulip mania'), fortune telling, witch hunts, crusades, etc.

One of Mackay's well known poems is 'You have no enemies, you say?':

'You have no enemies, you say?
Alas, my friend, the boast is poor,
For those who have mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes.
If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never set the wrong to right.
You’ve been a coward in the fight.'

Mackay was the father of, er, Marie Corelli.


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