At midsummer, the walls of the Tower are splashed with banners and streamers in the colours of the sun and the sea. […]
London, thou art the flower of cities all."
Nothing is so green as a summer in England. Those who have voyaged yearn for it. They dream of a bowl such as this.
Somewhere – or Nowhere, perhaps – there is a society ruled by philosophers. They have clean hands and pure hearts. But even in the metropolis of light there are middens and manure-heaps, swarming with fl ies. Even in the republic of virtue you need a man who will shovel up the shit, and somewhere it is written that Cromwell is his name.
Hilary Mantel «The Mirror and the Light»