The tragedy of Lee Boo

Stop, Reader, stop! – let NATURE claim a Tear – /
A Prince of Mine, LEE BOO, lies bury’d here.

“What shall we do with the drunken sailor” gives a clue to the origins of the Lutheran Nordic churches at Rotherhithe. We didn’t make it to the Danes or the Swedes, but the Norwegian temple of St Olaf is a splendid between-wars affair and the Finnish mission a really lovely building from the late 50s – I’ve never been so close to forswearing vodka and learning a bit of yer old Uralic, two mutually incompatible activities if ever there were. However, the images most likely to remain in this decaying brain are to be found in the yard and north aisle of the parish church of St Mary the Virgin:


Though some things may have been blurred, I don’t accept the common illiterate reading of initial tellings of the tale and context as “noble savage” / Edward-Said-Orientalist stereotyping. The people of Palau haven’t seen firearms, but they appreciate the unfair advantage offered. Etc etc. What (German) Lutherans later made of it is their business:

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