Samphire groweth in scepter'd isles

I just planted some Samphire....

You say what?

But in King Lear we learn its ecology:
"Come on, sir. Here’s the place. Stand still. How fearful
And dizzy ’tis to cast one’s eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers samphire—dreadful trade!"

In the US, Samphire has been born again as 'Sea Bean' pitched as a delicious, seemingly new age, salad, stir fry and frittata vegetable.Here, it's grown commercially in salt marshes along the Snowy River...watered by the tides.

And since I truly love Warrigal Greens (aka New Zealand Spinach), Samphire is my new must-have bush tucker. Point being that both Warrigal Greens and Samphire are coastal plants prone to mangrove wetland habitations...which is my neighbourhood.

And while 'gathering Samphire' was a Elizabethan trade we have our own local species in our own scepter'd isle....

[Ah! my first great Shakespeare speech --'Richard II']: What jingoism!
"This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands.."
Obviously hardly the stuff of Scottish independence and long before the onset of current neo-liberal preferences...but I'm sure Tony Abbott would have felt right at home excepting the bad time of it the catholics were having.

Henry XIII (Queen Liz's father) delivered a campaign against Popery in similar spin mode as our own Islamophobes in Canberra. ..and for similar reasons.

Irony is that under Henry XIII the 'nationalisations' and sacking of the monasteries was privatisation in reverse and the wealth garnered greatly imbued the English state and ruling class. En route Henry invented capitalist banking by allowing the charging of interest on lent money...thus changing the religious codes against usury.

Big changes-- restructuring and 'reform' akin to current habits -- but then, a few years later (in 1642) the English peeps forgot all about scepter'd isles and royal thrones, rose up in revolt,executed their king and set up a republic.

And all that time, hanging off the cliffs, or nestled under mangrove in the far off Antipodes,just within reach, were bunches of Samphire...


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