At a conference last weekend celebrating the thought of my friend, Roger Scruton, at McGill University in wonderful Montreal, besides hearing some terrific papers, I had the opportunity to meet some fine philosophers whose work I’ve admired for a long time, Anthony O’Hear and John Cottingham, and I made many, new Canadian friends.

My own contribution, “A Glance at The Face of God,” examining Scruton’s Gifford Lectures, took a slightly different turn from what I state in the abstract for the program and concentrated on the question of how, and in what sense, a person in Scruton’s philosophy acts upon the world.

The conference included brilliant performances by students at McGill, and a conference participant (Alexandra Slaby), of some of Scruton’s musical compositions, including three songs based on poems of Federico Garcia Lorca (my favorite was “Despedida,” see below), a piano composition, and an excerpt from his one act opera, The Minister.

Roger Scruton

Scruton will be a Philosopher and Artist in Residence at my university in early October next year.

I had no time for tourism in Montreal or much walking around the city.  I had hoped to climb Mount Royal and hold some snow in my hands.  But I was able to get to Marie Reine du Monde basilica, an extraordinary 1:3 replica of St. Peter’s in Rome.

Interior of the basilica of Marie Reine du Monde, Montreal, Canada

 

Despedida

Si muero,
dejad el balcón abierto.

El niño come naranjas.
(Desde mi balcón lo veo).

El segador siega el trigo.
(Desde mi balcón lo siento).

¡Si muero,
dejad el balcón abierto!

 

We’ll leave this untranslated mindful of what his translator Roy Campbell self-effacingly wrote in his own “The Martyrdom of F. Garcia Lorca”:

Not only did he lose his life

By shots assassinated:

But with a hammer and a knife

Was after that – translated.