This Precious Stone Set in a Silver Sea

This royal throne of kings…

… this sceptred isle.

This earth of majesty…

…this seat of Mars.

This other Eden…



This fortress built by Nature for herself.

Against infection…

…and the hand of war.

This happy breed of men…

…this little world.

This precious stone…

…set in the silver sea…

…Which serves it in the office of a wall.

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,—

This blessed plot…

…this earth…

…this realm…

…this England.

Words by William Shakespeare, from King Richard II. Act ii. Sc. 1.

All images copyright 2014 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Silver.

Here are links to more of my posts on England…

Where Are We?  Where’s Walter?  And Where Is That Fleeting Moment?

Tempest in a Teapot

Does This Make My Butts Look Big?



  1. Great job! I was wondering when someone think of this speech. I just didn’t have the right photos… 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your visit, and taking the time to leave such a generous comment. I hoped someone hadn’t already decided to use this passage, which I have always loved!

  2. Ah… no place like England.

    1. Thank you, Lisa, for stopping by. I got itchy feet just going through the photos for this post. Yep. I’m ready to go back.

  3. So clever of you, Naomi! I especially love the “silver sea” pic. 🙂

    1. Thank you! It’s fun to know which photo appeals most to whom–it seems to be different for everyone. Thanks so much for the visit, and for taking the time to comment.

  4. Nice! . . . and great intro to Downton tonight 😉

    1. Hi Mary,
      Viewed Downton Abbey tonight for the first time this season!

      1. It’s on DVD and online at PBS if you want more. 😉

  5. Oh, very well done, Naomi. Lovely photos.


    1. Hi Janet,
      Thanks so much for the visit, and for your very generous response.

  6. Amy says:

    What a grand tour!! I really enjoy it, Naomi!

    1. Thanks, Amy. It’s always good to hear from you.

  7. Pat says:

    This is a beautifully done post, Naomi. I love it – and it makes me yearn to return to England.

    1. Hi Pat,
      Just going over the photos to post this made me want to go back. Thanks for the visit.

  8. Thank you for taking us along on your journey! Beautiful photos and words

    1. Thank you for joining me, and for your very kind response.

  9. Carol says:

    One of the many places I would love to visit! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

    1. Hi JB,
      Thank you so much for sharing this with your readers!

      1. Jueseppi B. says:

        Love your photos Ms. Naomi.

      2. Thank you so much! Were you affected by the extreme weather back east? I hope you are staying warm!

      3. Jueseppi B. says:

        I am visiting family in Sicily until April, I stay away from U.S. until spring.

      4. Hi JB,
        That’s wonderful! I’ve never been to Sicily and would love to learn more. Is there any chance that you might make it the subject of a post? Have a great holiday!

  11. Millie Ho says:

    I love living vicariously through your photos and words, Naomi. I’ll be sure to document my own journeys when I go overseas.

    1. Dear Millie,
      When you go, I’m sure you are going to bring travel journals and sketchbooks to record your adventures in, and they’re going to knock our socks off. Thanks so much for the visit.

  12. niasunset says:

    Great post and wonderful photograps. Thank you dear Naomi, love, nia

    1. Dear Nia,
      Thank you so much for your visit and, as always, your generous encouragement.

  13. bulldog says:

    Damn this was good.. and what great photos…

  14. viveka says:

    Naomi, you have really caught England at it’s best. Stunning photos, my favorite is the village street, must be in Devon somewhere … or???? Stunning post, true pleasure to land here this sepia morning.

    1. Hi Viveka,
      Thank you for the visit, and for taking the time to comment. That is Gold Hill in Dorset. I was in England looking for the setting for a historical novel (The Keeper of the Crystal Spring), when I stumbled upon that view a block off the high street of Shaftesbury. It turns out to be a much photographed site. Far From the Madding Crowd, starring Julie Christie, was filmed there.

      1. viveka says:

        Far from the Madding Crowd, from 1967,- one of my favorite movie – and Julie Christie was so stunningly beautiful. Wasn’t Terence Stamp in the movie too as Sergeant Troy. Beautiful movie and a very beautiful man.

  15. I absolutely adore these pictures, Naomi. I always do. ^_^ Thank you for sharing them. x

    1. Dear Ileandra,
      Thanks so much for the visit, and for taking the time to comment. It’s always good to hear from you!

  16. scillagrace says:

    Fabulous! Jewel of the North Atlantic….I think this quote was included in the Great Muppet Caper movie, when they get thrown out a plane’s baggage port and land in front of Peter Ustinov (?) wondering where they are.

    1. The Muppets? Oh, my gosh, that’s one I am going to have to see!
      Thanks for the visit, Scilla.

  17. Wow, a beautiful tribute to this sceptre isle x wonderful altogether x

    1. Thank you! I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    1. Thank you, Darla. I hope you are having a Happy New Year!

  18. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    Never heard it so beautifully illustrated, Naomi- your camera found every line. Intelligent design?!

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you for the very kind comment. It’s hard to take a bad photo with so much beauty around you.

  19. You are so skilled with that camera. Just wonderful!

    1. Thank you so much for your generous response, Victoria.

  20. diannegray says:

    Fantastic photos, Naomi. The two lambs feeding from their mother is my favourite! 😀

    1. Hi Dianne,
      So good to hear from you. I really appreciate your feedback on the photos–I almost didn’t include the shot with the ewe and her lambs, so it’s great to know that it was your favorite.
      Best wishes for the New Year!

  21. Ah, Naomi – really, a masterly compilation – and beautiful photos to illustrate Richard’s rousing speech! I loved it! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Meredith. This was a really fun post to put together. I almost feel as though I took a little trip back to Merry Olde England as I went through my pictures.

  22. Beautifully illustrated, Naomi. And a creative approach to the theme. Of course. 🙂

    1. Hi George,

      Thank you so much for the visit, and for your generous comments. I hope your New Year is going well!

  23. elisaruland says:

    You had me at This royal throne of kings….

    1. Dear Elisa,
      You had me at “You had me…” Thank you so much for your generous response to this post. You really made me smile.

  24. Roy McCarthy says:

    Excellent Naomi – who woul;d want to be anywhere else? Love the bargain in the window – who would buy only two or three kings? Would the cobbled street be a corner of Shaftesbury?

    1. Hi Roy,
      How’d you know? Shaftesbury, yes! My sister and I were trying to choose a setting for our novel, and came across that view a block off the high street–no warning or directions–just stumbled upon that gorgeous view. It turns out to be one of the most photographed spots in England!

  25. footsy2 says:

    If only the sun would shine more often 🙂

    1. Dear Footsy,
      I think your weather is similar to ours here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s why our grass is so green and the gardens so prolific. I love my silver city by the sea, but a little more sunshine here too wouldn’t be such a bad thing, especially in the midst of winter.
      Thanks for the visit!

  26. Amazing picture, Naomi. These deserve to be on public display. You’ve quite the photographer’s eye. Makes my mouth melt. 🙂

    1. Hi Tess,
      When you are in such a beautiful place, it’s not heard to get a good photo. Thank you for the lovely comment. It’s always good to hear from you.

  27. That’s a really clever post — such well-chosen pictures hand-in-hand with William Shakespeare’s powerful words. You’ve definitely excelled yourself here, Naomi 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I have always loved that passage, and with such a beautiful country, I could hardly take a bad picture!

  28. Very cool way to honor Shakespeare!

    1. Thanks, Britt. I’ve always loved this passage.

  29. Laurel Leigh says:

    You should get an award just for using text from Richard II. It’s like the under-done play and way too overshadowed by R III, although I suppose that is somewhat understandable.

    Love the silver sea pic especially! As an admirer of your blog for a while now, I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. You can view the nomination at Dear Writers ( Keep up the awesome work, Naomi!

    XO Laurel Leigh

    1. Hi Laurel,
      Thanks for making me smile, and thank you for honoring me with this award.

      1. Laurel Leigh says:

        Long live Richard II!

        Keep up the awesome blog work and keep entertaining so many of us. I know you will!


  30. Ruth says:

    Pluperfect, Naomi! i always enjoy traveling with you via your photography.

    1. Hi Ruth,
      Thanks so much for your very generous response to this post, and this blog.

  31. Madhu says:

    Perfection!! For a moment there i forgot you aren’t English 🙂

  32. frizztext says:

    hi Naomi, I like the castle with the red phone cell – verry Brritish!

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