The sublimity of Gower’s cover drive
Our experiences of the sublime – a magnificent sky, Mozart’s requiem, Gower’s cover drive -so escape the constrictions of sensibility, so fill the mind with pleasure on the occasions of their occurrence, it is only when we think about them afterwards that we come to appreciate the meaning of their sublimity. Gower’s cover drive was as though a Greek kouros had come to life. The sculptors who made the kouroi didn’t take one good bit from one person’s body and another good bit from another, but seized the perfection of the human form that exists beneath the imperfect realisations of it that all human beings are. But Gower’s cover drive – the beauty and harmony of it, the perfect balance, the subjugation of every nerve and muscle to the supremacy of the act, was probably about as near to the perfection of the human body in motion as we are going to get. In these days of limited overs and 20-20 cricket will we ever see such beauty again? I fear the answer may be no. But maybe not. Bell and Root are artists not run bludgeoners, and even Buttler’s mighty blows have a terribilita about them that approaches the grandeur of art.