“He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars. General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer”. Blake might have added (and probably meant) the politician.
I love reading Blake. He is the hippy’s Samuel Johnson: trenchant, terse, and often deep. These lines came to me in a context that might surprise you; reading the Annual Report of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association. The M.P.G.A. does good, horticulturally, in minute particulars. Since it was founded in 1862 to transform derelict sites in London into green oases for recreation it has touched hundreds of little-known corners and turned them green. Often only the locals notice, but a tree or a bench or a planting of bulbs can be a very worthwhile contribution. This is basically what the Association does: it gives small grants where they are keenly appreciated.
A long-established and respected body can be useful in other ways: its moral backing can put gentle pressure where it can do good …….. carefully, though, and never General Good (see Blake above).
I was delighted to be asked by the chairman to succeed my friend Michael Birkett as President of this modest body, and of course accepted.