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like to have there, instead of setting down the truth solely for its own sake as he sees it in the light of his own vision. Every artist is beset by this danger, and none, I think, escapes from it quite unharmed; but the law is plain.

While, however, we recognize that this is an essential condition of all worthy creation, that the act of creation is carried through first and foremost to bring completion of experience to the artist's own mind, and that if it were not for this purpose there would be no such thing as art, this is not the end of the matter. It must be understood that the argument implies that the poet, apart altogether from the consideration of an audience, would still actually write his poem upon paper, or at least shape it into exact form in set words in his mind, and not be content with a merely vague emotional perception that took on no concrete form. This same audience does, nevertheless, come into the scheme of art, and in two ways. First, from the point of view of the artist, the position seems to me to be this. Once he has done his work, as loyally as he can, abiding by that first essential condition of art, he has finished with his creative obligations, and becomes a member of society battling for his livelihood like the rest, and hungry, like the rest, for approval and acceptance. With a very human eagerness, therefore, he quite rightly begins to think of publishers, and concert

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rooms, and exhibitions, and he, quite legitimately, may take a keen interest, even a commercial interest, in the career of the work that he has created. Just as I believe that no honest artist thinks about his audience when he is working, so do I believe that no artist who is also a rational being is indifferent to the public estimation of his work when it is finished. While communication to the world beyond does not seem to be a necessity to the poet

in his work, publication of his work to other people becomes a very practical and human desire once it is completed. But, beyond this, communication or publication of his work to other people is of profound importance to the other people themselves, and it is a fortunate economy in the scheme of things that makes him want to hand his work on when it is done. For while the general view of what the use of art is to the world often seems to be wrong, there is no doubt that a world in which the artists created their work without publishing it would be the poorer by one of its most healing influences.

The nature of the influence would seem to be this. The hunger of each mind for the understanding of its own experience is one towards the satisfaction of which nothing is more helpful than communion with other minds that have in some measure solved this problem satisfactorily for themselves. And it is just such communion which

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is made every time we come into vivid contact with a work of art. Before a work of art, we are in the presence

of a mind that has in some measure mastered its own experience, and we come away from the presence with our own mind braced towards the understanding of its own experience in turn. That is the secret of the power of art in the world. It is not that the poets can solve our own problems and answer our own questions for us. My problems are my problems, they exist only in terms of my personality, and it is mere spiritual idleness for me to go to Shakespeare or Wordsworth or Browning, saying, 'Here is my problem, what is the solution; here is my question, what is the answer?' They cannot tell me, nor can any one but myself. But what I can do is to go to the

great poets and under the influence of their faculty for achieving lucidity out of their darkness quicken my own powers of achieving lucidity for myself. This means that to value poetry for its message or the nature of its philosophic content is to misunderstand its very nature. If we truly care for poetry and know the virtue to be found in it, we shall profit equally from Wordsworth, who tells us that ‘Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,' and from Swinburne, who tells us that 'life is a watch or a vision between a sleep and a sleep,' and Browning, who holds that “We fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.' Here we

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have three poets coming to three vastly different conclusions upon much the same speculation, but that does not matter. The point is that each in turn has been able to see his own philosophical experience so clearly that he has been able to reduce it to this excellent clarity of form, and it is that shaping faculty which stimulates our faculty to its own rich purpose in turn.

To hear people talk about art is generally to get but a very misleading impression as to what its real effect upon them is. This is, perhaps, most noticeably so in the case of the theatre, the most democratic of the arts. If we leave out of the question the great number of plays that make no abiding impression at all upon anybody and consider only those to which the spectator does return in his mind some days after he has seen them, we find that people even here rarely talk about the thing as intelligently as they feel it. A man will watch a fine play in the theatre, and respond to it with fulness of emotion, and delight in the subtle intellectual structure and movement, and talk irrelevant nonsense about it at lunch the next day. He will almost certainly find himself arguing about the argument of the play; instead of recalling the manner in which the argument has been presented, praising that for its excellence and censuring where it fails. That is the true business of criticism, and one which critics, both amateur and professional,

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very commonly forget. For one person who can deal justly by the imperfections of a work of art, which is to do something of great spiritual significance, a hundred can chatter volubly about the artist's conclusions, which really do not matter to anybody but to the artist himself. If we rejoice in the

presence of a vivid work of art, we should be able to carry that spirit of enjoyment with us into the world, braced by the strong imaginative life of which we have partaken, and it is no more than an impertinence for us to think it important to other people that they should know whether we do or do not happen to agree with the moral or psychological argument of that life. We have every right to complain if the life is not real, real, that is, in the sense that it was something about which the artist himself was convinced at creation, but we have no right to complain that it is a life of which we are not able personally to approve in our sympathies. Translated into terms of abstract life, we doubtless do not like Malvolio, but under the touch of Shakespeare's art we should be just as happy in his presence as in that of Viola, who is all grace. But the world is seldom good at reducing its emotion to reason, particularly when that reason has to come out at the end of a pen. I have known many critics enjoy a performance in a theatre, for example, quite simply in their emotions, who have yet reported nothing of that enjoyment when they have

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