Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Football

To urge with matchless boot the Leathern Sphere is the dream of every stumbling yeoman, for by this means may he win the recognition of a Patron, and rise from the sink of rustick obscurity that Nature and Circumstance hath so cruelly ordained. Let him no longer excavate from icy ground, with crude bucolic curse, the obdurate Turnip, but rather permit him to range upon a nobler campus, declaiming in clarion voice, and with commendable Spartan brevity, the battle cries of the noble Sport: “Strike it hither, Sir!” and “Drive back that man!”  Many an obscure yokel, born to sluggish plough or Stygian mill, was thus elevated, and the perseverance of visionary Managers wrought worthy Corinthians of rude hobbledehoys. In recent times, a want of Guineas for the enterprise was supplied by the luxurious Arab or the opulent Muscovite, who sat by his Tent or Samovar in delighted contemplation of the warring, liveried armies he had purchas’t. Some celebrated players, upon whom the encroaching Winter of life hath enforc’t decorous retirement from the muddy battlefield, sit by the barricades, where for the instruction of the Mob they sustain an uninterrupted discourse on the strategies and accidents of the game, seasoned, during the opportune interlude that occurs twixt the moieties of play, by Philosophical and Political observation. One such was Mr Lineker who, incens’t by the Prime Minister’s attempt to purloin glory for the resurrection in Albion of the noble Sport, cried Foul! upon the Scheming Potentate, to an universal roar of approbation from this affable Veteran’s myriad throng of admirers.

For the complete Edward Gibbon on Modern Life, click here.

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