must have remained dark and formless. Nothing could be more superbly simple, for example, than

'Nothing extenuate
Nor set down aught in malice; then must you speak

Of one that loved not wisely but too well.' But in two lines here is recorded a whole voyage of psychological insight. It may be added that since no experience is ever final, an endless succession of poets may bring simplicity to the same preoccupation, and each give us delight and satisfaction in turn. Even the same poet may do this himself on many occasions:

"This life is but a shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour

And then is heard no more.'


the stage

And again:

'We are such stuff
As dreams are made of and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.'

And again:

‘Golden lads and girls all must

As chimney sweepers come to dust.' And yet again:

‘Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea

But sad mortality o'ersways their power.' And lastly, to give but one more of the numerous examples which Shakespeare alone might supply:

‘Of all the wonders that I have yet heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come. In Wordsworth's 'Daffodils' we have a remarkable instance of this first necessity in poetry. The poem in its meaning is clear for any reader. We leave it with a perfectly formed realization, reached through a sharply defined and particular instance, of the pleasure that may come to us from remembered moments of ecstatic experience. But we are made free of this simplicity of perception only through this subtle psychological analysis on the part of the poet. The phrase,

‘They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude,' is magnificent in its simplicity, because the phenomenon which is here reduced to plain terms is not one of simple appearance in itself, but so intricate that for all the tens of millions of people who had experienced it not one before Wordsworth had been able to arrest it with the perfect touch of definition. Of the value for us which this quality gives to poetry it need only be said that without it we can understand nothing, or at most something which is not worth our understanding; with it every true poem is treasure trove for us, giving us that rarest spiritual satisfaction which we experience when we can suddenly resolve obscurity, and know our minds liberated from confusion. We may now summarize the impression that Wordsworth's poem yields to alert reading, thus: our perceptions are quickened by having to create images to correspond to those created by the poet. These quickened senses are then directed by the poet's intellectual passion to a relation of these particular images to a presiding vision of life and experience. Then, by the primary creative act of the poet, the bringing of material into shape, these processes of our mind become definable in our own consciousness: are complete.



When every philosophy has been tested, when all policies have been heard and all speculations as to the destiny of man weighed one against another, it is bigotry alone that will assert that it has the last word in any argument. No social faith is ever wholly proved, there is no god but will sooner or later be dethroned, no chart of life that we can know with certainty is truly drawn. This is not unhappily so. The imagination of man is so vast an instrument, and the world of experience upon which it may work so varied and so exhilarating, that a lifetime of untiring activity will enable us at best to realize but an odd stray here and there from the thronging life that is daily waiting to be shaped to our delight. The man who is continually refusing the witness of his own imagination and is crying for the assurance of authorities other than his own alert spirit is withered in the centre, he is spiritually dead. You may be sorry for him; his misfortune

may be explained. Life may have dealt so hardly with him, his nature may be so little robust or may have been so ill-tended, that he cannot oppose calamity with the resources of his own resilient character and imagination. But compassion and a recognition of causes do not alter the


fact that here is spiritual death — the most lamentable, as it is, perhaps, the commonest of all tragedies. It is a tragedy that permeates society, thriving even when there is no bitter burden of cruel experience to excuse or at least to explain it. Flourishing trades are built upon it. We all know the unfortunate people whose spiritual lethargy is so profound, who are so insensible to the calls of the innumerable adventures that are in every

wind and bough and footstep, that they will pay sly palmists to tell them of a to-morrow that they may be sure will be duller than to-day. It is a tragedy that our newspapers exploit with a certain knowledge of profit. So general is the apathy in which we move that a placard promising us a sensation it is the very word of common use — will sell a paper to three men out of four as they pass.

This pervading dulness of spirit is the gravest penalty that we pay for an over-specialized civilization. There are so many things that, in the state which we have blindly chosen, have to be done by routine and example, that routine and example have become habits with us, creeping from what should be their lowly station of servility and warping the free functions of our imagination. That this should be so is tragic chiefly because it is a denial of our proudest right. If absolute knowledge is beyond our attainment, as it is, a continuity of vivid experience is not beyond our attainment, and such

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