Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hazel-nut Vision

I came across a book somewhere (I'll find it soon promise) which proposed that Shakespeare knew of Julian's famous hazel-nut vision because Prince Hamlet alludes to it. There's also the suggestion that Julian was a member of the Beguine order, a continental religious community which had only one Community based in England at Norwich. Finally found the Shakespeare quote of Prince Hamlet and nutshell image!

'O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space - were it not I have bad dreams'. (Act 3: Scene 2).

There's also a Sir Thomas Browne 'nutshell' image, an imagery in essence of essence worth quoting here-

And since instructions are many, hold close unto those whereon the rest depend. So may we have all in a a few, and the Law and Prophets in a Rule, the Sacred Writ in Stenography, and the Scripture in a Nut-shell. (Christian Morals 3:4)
Here's Julian of Norwich's famous 'nutshell' vision-

At the same time, our Lord showed me a spiritual vision of his familiar love. I saw that for us he is everything that we find good and comforting......In this vision he also showed a little thing, the size of a hazel-nut in the palm of my hand, and it was as round as any ball. I looked at it and thought, 'What can this be?' And the answer came to me, 'It is all that is made.' I wondered how it could last, for it was so small I thought it might suddenly disappear. And the answer in my mind was,'It lasts and will last forever because God loves it; and in the same way everything exists through the love of God'.
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