The author takes you on a journey from Big Bang to Britain in the 21st century as seen through the eyes of a fish. He attempts to explain why so many of us are living lives of deceit, dissipation and depression. These days he is suspicious of anybody who is not depressed. Over the centuries, despite all the wonders of the arts and science, human nature has remained constant. Human nature must change if there is to be a future. If you think you are on the right side, the end always justifies the means. That is the real tragedy of humanity.
This is a remarkable distillation of rhyming couplets, blank verse and prose covering the period from the beginning of existence to civilisation's potential end. A Briton's Complaint is didactic literature which uses tragedy to convey the important messages at its heart. Like Dante's Divine Comedy it contains political and historical elements as well as much philosophical musing. Interwoven in this structure is the perceived view of Britain by a physical and metaphorical fish.
After the creation of the universe Section One develops the character of the fish, (or perhaps human Pisces) towards that of a legitimate leader who is nonetheless fatally flawed. After the ascent of man Section Two descends into the separation of the races of Great Britain according to tradition, blood, and eventually war. The unicorn appears in the minds of the invading English representing a sign that a grave transgression has been committed. This leads into Section Three which deals with the political and sociological state in which Britain finds itself today. Many pertinent issues are addressed including power, education, charity and privilege. The dehumanization of the people is mourned by a plethora of different agents.
Throughout this work there is powerful, wonderfully descriptive writing and stanzas which could stand alone as great pieces of writing in themselves. It is definitely worth reading but you will need a dictionary handy as it will increase your vocabulary. Its only limitation is it assumes a high level of education and intellect.
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