in Last Chronicle of Barset

Chapter 62 – Mr. Crawley’s Letter to the Dean

Let justice be done, though the heaven may fall

Again Mr. Crawley states to himself that he will resign from his office and that justice shall be done, though the heavens may fall.  A version of this phrase was used in Chapter 61.  See the commentary for Chapter 4 of The Warden.  [KD & RR 2006; rev. 2011]


Greek iambics

Mr. Crawley states to himself that the bishop (unlike himself) probably did not know the difference between an iamb and a trochee.  It appears that Mr. Crawley is using his knowledge of Greek to make himself feel better in his own eyes.  [KD 2006]


The Greek poem about the agonies of the blind giant

Mr. Crawley makes Jane read this story before he writes his letters to the bishop and dean.  The story, from the Odyssey, is about the Cyclops, Polyphemus, who was blinded by Odysseus while he and his men were attempting to escape Polyphemus’ cave.  This is an interesting link because Polyphemus was once a great giant who was utterly overcome.  Trollope, by mentioning Mr. Crawley’s interest in Polyphemus, implies that Mr. Crawley believes himself to be a tragic figure like Polyphemus.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  Homer, Odyssey 9.



Mr. Crawley considers the story of Polyphemus and declares that “Fate–Necessity, as the Greeks called her” is “the goddess that will not be shunned!”  The Fates were thought to determine the life of people in antiquity, and it appears that Mr. Crawley believes that the Fates are interfering with his life by causing the turmoil with the missing cheque.  [KD 2006]



A general under the Emperor Justinian in the 6th c. CE.  According to later legend, Belisarius was blinded at Justinian’s command and reduced to a beggar.  Trollope (and Crawley) would probably have known more about Belisarius from post-antique treatments of his life (in both painting and writing) than by actual ancient accounts.  [RR 2011]


Mr. Crawley takes up the passage himself

Mr. Crawley begins to read the passage of the Odyssey himself.  As we have seen, Mr. Crawley only reads Greek when he is in a good mood.  In this instance, he must be very content because he takes over the reading from Jane.  [KD 2006]


Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa

This means “to be conscious of no guilt, to turn pale at no blame.”  This phrase is from Horace’s Epistles I.1.61.  Mr. Crawley in his letter to the dean says that the dean, if he were not abroad, would probably give him this advice.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  Horace, Epistle 1.1.61.


My hair stands on end with horror

In his letter to the dean, Mr. Crawley states that his hair stands on end in horror when he thinks of the possibility that he stole the cheque.  Here Trollope is playing on the literal meaning of the verb horresco, horrescere:  “to bristle” or “to have one’s hair stand on end.”  [KD 2006]

Sources:  OLD.


The dean as patron of Mr. Crawley’s living

In his letter to the dean, Mr. Crawley declares him his patron of the living.  This is a reference to the patron/client system which Trollope commonly invokes in his novels.  [KD 2006]