Where else could I go but to the only respectable church in all of Christendom? It was most cool to step out of the Tube station and look up and recognize this rather huge, ornate building.
We walked around this elaborate pile, guarded by grim-looking fellows carrying nasty big guns.
There was another huge stone building there. We went inside and took the tour.
An awful lot of people seemed to have tried to have achieved immortality by surrounding their corpses with ornate sarcophagi. You can find Elizabeth I’s stony likeness in there, for instance, atop a big stone box holding, presumably, the more modest and now crumbling bundle of calcium phosphate she had personally assembled during her life.
What I was there for was just off the main entrance. There was a pair of huge monuments with cherubs and globes and the stern statues of Newton and Stanhope front and center, and good on the church for giving them that much attention; the Principia was a more impressive achievement than any hunk of carved marble, but I suppose just having a copy of the book on hand has less superficial heft than a few tons of rock.
Off to one side was a simple stone, surrounded by a few Herschels:
Thank you, Church of England, for keeping this memorial, but I’m not fooled. You may seek to sanctify your sacred spaces by appropriating and honoring the dead, but it’s the living work of human beings that counts.