Appreciations, with an Essay on Style | Walter Pater | Literary Criticism | Sound Book | 4/5

section 11 of appreciations with an essay on style this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Eberly thomas appreciations by walter pater section 11 measure for measure in measure for measure as in some other of his plays Shakespeare has remodeled an earlier and somewhat rough composition to finer issues suffering much to remain as it had come from the less skillful hand and not raising the whole of his work to an equal degree of intensity hence perhaps some of that depth and weightiness which make this play so impressive as with the true seal of experience like a fragment of life itself rough and disjointed indeed but forced to yield in places its profounder meaning in measure for measure and contrast with the flawless execution of Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare has spent his art and just enough modification of the scheme of the older play to make it exponent of this purpose adapting its terrible essential incidents so that Coleridge found it the only painful work among Shakespeare's dramas and leaving for the reader of today more than the usual number of difficult expressions but infusing a lavish color and a profound significance into it so that under his touch certain select portions of it rise far above the level of all but his own best poetry and working out of it a morality so characteristic that the play might well pass for the central expression of his moral judgments it remains a comedy as indeed is Congress with the bland half humorous equity which informs the whole composition sinking from the heights of sorrow and terror in to the rough scheme of the earlier piece yet it is hardly less full of what is really tragic in man's existence than if Claudio had indeed stooped to death even the humorous concluding scenes have traits of special grace retaining in less emphatic passages astray liar or word of power as it seems so that we watch to the end for the traces where the nobler hand has glanced along leaving its vestiges as if accidentally or wastefully in the rising of the style the interest of measure for measure therefore is partly that of an old story told over again we measure with curiosity that variety of resources which is enabled Shakespeare to refashion the original material with a higher motive adding to the intricacy of the piece yet so modifying its structure as to give the whole almost the unity of a single scene lending by the light of a philosophy which dwells much on what is complex and subtle in our nature a true human propriety to its strange and unexpected turns of feeling and character to incidents so difficult as the fall of Angelo and the subsequent reconciliation of Isabella so that she pleads successfully for his life it was from whetstone a contemporary English writer that Shakespeare derived the outline of chin Theo's rare history of promise and Cassandra one of that numerous class of Italian stories like vaca shows Tancredi of Salerno in which the mere energy of southern passion has everything its own way and which though they may repel many a northern reader by a certain crudité and their coloring seemed to have been full of fascination for the Elizabethan age this story as it appears in Whetstone's endless comedy is almost as rough as the roughest episode of actual criminal life but the play seems never to have been acted and sometime after its publication whetstone self turned the thing into a tail included in his hep Tamerlan of civil discourses where it still figures as a genuine piece with touches of undesigned poetry a quaint field flower here and there of diction or sentiment the whole strung up to an effective brevity and with the fragrance of that admirable age of literature all about it here then there is something of the original Italian color in this narrative Shakespeare may well have caught the first glimpse of a composition with nobler proportions and some artless sketch from his own hand perhaps putting together his first impressions insinuated itself between Whetstone's work and the play as we actually read it out of these insignificant sources Shakespeare's play Rises full of solemn expression and with a profoundly designed beauty the new body of a higher though sometimes remote and difficult poetry escaping from the imperfect relics of the old story yet not wholly transformed and even as it stands but the preparation only we might think of a still more imposing design for once we have in it a real example of that sort of writing which is sometimes described as suggestive and which by the help of certain subtly calculated hints only brings into distinct shape the readers own half-developed imaginings often the quality is attributed to writing merely vague and unrealized but in measure for measure quite certainly Shakespeare has directed the attention of sympathetic readers along certain channels of meditation beyond the immediate scope of his work measure for measure therefore by the quality of these higher designs woven by his strange magic on a texture of poorer quality is hardly less indicative than Hamlet even of shakespeare's reason of his power of moral interpretation it deals not like Hamlet with the problems which beset one of exceptional temperament but with mere human nature it brings before us a group of persons attractive full of desire vessels of the genial seed-bearing powers of nature a gaudy existence flowering out over the old court and city of Vienna a spectacle of the fullness and pride of life which to some may seem to touch the verge of wantonness behind this group of people behind their various action Shakespeare inspires in us the sense of a strong tyranny of nature and circumstance then what shall there be on this side of it on our side the spectators side of this painted screen with its puppets who are really glad or sorry all the time what philosophy of life what sort of equity stimulated to read more carefully by Shakespeare's own profounder touches the reader will note the vivid reality the subtle interchange of light and shade the strongly contrasted characters of this group of persons passing across the stage so quickly the slightest of them is at least not ill-natured the meanest of them can put forth a plea for existence truly sir I am a poor fellow that would live they are never sure of themselves even in the strong tower of a cold unimpressive nature they are capable of many friendships and of a true dignity in danger giving each other a sympathetic if transitory regret one sorry that another should be foolishly lost at a game of Tic Tac words which seem to exhaust man's deepest sentiment concerning death and life are put on the lips of a gilded witless youth and the saintly Isabella feels fire creep along her kindling her tongue to eloquence at the suggestion of shame in places the shadow deepens death intrudes itself on the scene as among other things a great disguise er blanching the features of youth and spoiling its goodly hair touching the fine Claudia even with its disgraceful associations as in or Canas fresco at Pisa it comes capriciously giving many and long reprieves to bar nadine who has been waiting for it 9 years in prison taking another vents by Fever another by mistake of judgment embracing others in the midst of their music and song the little mirror of existence which reflects to each for a moment the stage on which he plays he is broken at last by a capricious accident while all alike in their yearning for unn tasted enjoyment are really discounting their days grasping so hastily and accepting so in exactly the precious pieces The Dukes quaint but excellent moralizing at the beginning of the third act does but Express like the chorus of a Greek play the spirit of the passing incidents to him in Shakespeare's play to a few here and there in the actual world this strange practical paradox of our life so unwise in its eager haste reveals itself in all its clearness the Duke disguised as a friar with his curious moralizing on life and death and Isabella in her first mood of renunciation a thing in skyed and sainted come with the quiet of the cloister as a relief to this lust and pride of life like some gray monastic picture hung on the wall of a gaudy room their presence cools the heated air of the peace for a moment we are within the placid convential walls whether they fancy at first that the Duke has come as a man crossed in love with friar Thomas and friar Peter calling each other by their homely English names or if the nunnery among the novices with their little limited privileges where if you speak you must not show your face or if you show your face you must not speak not less precious for this relief in the general structure of the piece than for its own peculiar graces is the episode of Marianna a creature wholly of Shakespeare's invention told by way of interlude and subdued prose the moated Grange with its dejected mistress its long listless discontented days where we hear only the voice of a boy broken off suddenly in the midst of one of the loveliest songs of Shakespeare or of Shakespeare's school is the pleasantest of many glimpses we get here of pleasant places the field without the town Angelo's garden house the consecrated fountain indirectly it has suggested two of the most perfect compositions among the poetry of our own generation again it is a picture within a picture but with fainter lines and a grayer atmosphere we have here the same passions the same wrongs the same continuance of affection the same crying out upon death as in the nearer and larger peace though softened and reduced to the mood of a more dreamy scene of Angelo we may feel at first sight inclined to say only guarda a passer or to ask whether he is indeed psychologically possible in the old story he figures as an embodiment of pure and unmodified evil like Helio kabbalists of Rome or Denis of Sicily but the embodiment of pure evil is no proper subject of art and Shakespeare in the spirit of a philosophy which dwells much on the complications of outward circumstance with men's inclinations turns into a subtle study in casuistry this incident of the austere judge fallen suddenly into at most corruption by momentary contact with supreme purity but the main interest in measure for measure is not as in promess and cassandra in the relation of Isabella and Angelo but rather in the relation of Claudio and Isabella Greek tragedy and some of its noblest products has taken for its theme the love of a sister a sentiment unimpassioned indeed purifying by the very spectacle of its passion listless but capable of a fierce and almost animal strength if informed for a moment by pity and regret at first Isabella comes upon the scene as a tranquilizing influence in it but Shakespeare in the development of the action brings quite different and unexpected qualities out of her it is his characteristic poetry to expose this cold chastened personality respected even by the worldly Lucio as something in skyed and sainted and almost an immortal spirit to to sharp shameful trials and wring out of her a fiery revealing eloquence thrown into the terrible dilemma of the piece called upon to sacrifice that cloister whiteness to sisterly affection become in a moment the ground of strong contending passions she develops a new character and shows herself suddenly of a kindred with those strangely conceived women like Webster's vitória who unite to a seductive sweetness something of a dangerous and tiger-like change fulness of feeling the swift vindictive anger leaps like a white flame into this white spirit and stripped in a moment of all convention she stands before us clear detached columnar among the tender frailties of the peace Cassandra the original of Isabella in wet stones tale with the purpose of the Roman Lucretia in her mind yields gracefully enough to the conditions of her brothers safety and to the lighter reader of Shakespeare that may seem something harshly conceived or psychologically impossible even in the suddenness of the change wrought in her as Claudia welcomes for a moment the chance of life through her compliance with Angelo's will and he may have a sense here of flagging skill as in words less finely handled than in the preceding scene the play those still not without traces of nobler handiwork sinks down as we know at last into almost homely comedy and it might be supposed that just here the grander manner deserted it but the skill with which Isabella plays upon Claudia's well-recognized sense of honour and endeavors by means of that to ensure him beforehand from the acceptance of life on baser terms indicates no coming laxity of hand just in this place it was rather that there rose in Shakespeare's conception as there may for the reader as there certainly would and any good acting of the part something of that terror the seeking for which is one of the notes of romanticism in Shakespeare and his circle the stream of ardent natural affection poured as a sudden hatred upon the youth condemned to die adds an additional note of expression to the horror of the prison where so much of the scene takes place it is not here only that Shakespeare has conceived as such extreme anger and pity as putting a sort of genius into simple women so that their lips drop eloquence and their intuitions interpret that which is often too hard or fine for manly or a reason and it is Isabella with her grand imaginative diction and that poetry laid upon the prone and speechless dialect there is in mere youth itself who gives other instudio t the finer judgments of the Peace on men and things from behind this group with its subtle lights and shades it's poetry it's impressive contrasts Shakespeare as I said conveys to us a strong sense of the tyranny of nature and circumstance over human action the most powerful expressions of this side of experience might be found here the Bloodless impassable temperament does but wait for its opportunity for the almost accidental coherence of time with place and place with wishing to annul its long and patient discipline and become in a moment the very opposite of that which under ordinary conditions it seemed to be even to itself the near resolute self assertion of the blood brings to others special temptations temptations which as defects or over growths lie in the very qualities which make them otherwise imposing or attractive the very advantage of men's gifts of intellect or sentiment being dependent on a balance in their use so delicate that meant hardly maintained it always something also must be conceded to influences merely physical to the complexion of the heavens the skyyy influences shifting as the star shift as something also to the mere Caprice of men exercised over each other in the dispensations of social or political order to the chance which makes the life or death of cláudio dependent on Angelo's will the many veins of thought which render the poetry of this place a weighty and impressive unite in the image of Claudio a flower like young man whom prompted by a few hints from Shakespeare the imagination easily clothes with all the bravery of youth as he crosses the stage before us on his way to death coming so hastily to the end of his pilgrimage set in the horrible blackness of the prison with its various forms of unsightly death this flower seems the braver fallen by prompter of the blood the victim of a suddenly revived law against the common fault of youth like his he finds his life forfeited as if by the chance of a lottery with that instinctive clinging to life which breaks through the subtlest casuistry z' of monk or sage apologizing for an early death he welcomes for a mo the chance of life through his sisters shame though he revolts hardly less from the notion of perpetual imprisonment so repulsive to the buoyant energy of youth familiarized by the words alike of friends and the indifferent to the thought of death he becomes gentle and subdued indeed yet more perhaps through pride than real resignation and would go down to darkness at last hard and unblinded called upon suddenly to encounter his fate looking with keen and resolute profile straight before him he gives utterance to some of the central truths of human feeling the sincere concentrated expression of the recoiling flesh thoughts as profound and poetical as Hamlet's arise in him and but for the accidental arrest of sentence he would descend into the dust a mere gilded idle flower of youth indeed but with what are perhaps the most eloquent of all Shakespeare's words upon his lips as Shakespeare in measure for measure has refashioned after a nobler pattern materials already at hand so that the relics of other men's poetry are incorporated into his perfect work so traces of the old morality that early form of dramatic composition which had for its function the inculcating of some moral theme survive in it also and give it a peculiar ethical interest this ethical interest though it can escape no attentive reader yet in accordance with that artistic law which demands the predominance of form everywhere over the mere matter or subject handled is not to be wholly separated from the special circumstances necessities embarrassments of these particular dramatic persons the old moralities exemplified most often some rough-and-ready lesson here the very intricacy and subtlety of the moral world itself the difficulty of seizing the true relations of so complex a material the difficulty of just judgment of judgment that shall not be unjust of lessons conveyed even in wet stones old story this peculiar vein of moralizing comes to the surface even there we noticed a tendency to dwell on mixed motives the contending issues of action the presence of virtues and vices alike in unexpected places on the hard choice of two evils on the imprisoning of man's real intense measure for measure is full of expressions drawn from a profound experience of these casuistry x' and that ethical interest becomes predominant in it it is no longer promise and Cassandra but measure for measure its new name expressly suggesting the subject of poetical justice the action of the play like the action of life itself for the keener observer develops in us the conception of this poetical justice and the yearning to realize it the fruit justice of which Angelo knows nothing because it lies for the most part beyond the limits of any acknowledged law the idea of justice involves the idea of rights but at bottom rights are equivalent to that which really is to facts and the recognition of his rights therefore the justice he requires of our hands or our thoughts is the recognition of that which the person in his inmost nature really is and as sympathy alone can discover that which really is in matters of feeling and thought true justice is in its essence a finer knowledge through love tis very pregnant the jewel that we find we stoop and take it because we see it but what we do not see we tread upon and never think of it it is for this finer justice a justice based on a more delicate appreciation of the true conditions of men and things a true respect of persons in our estimate of actions that the people in measure for measure cry out as they pass before us and as the poetry of this play is full of the peculiarities of Shakespeare's poetry so in its ethics it is an epitome of Shakespeare's moral judgments they are the moral judgments of an observer of one who sits as a spectator and knows how the threads in the design before him hold together under the surface they are the judgments of the humorist also who follows with a half amused but always pitiful sympathy the various ways of human disposition and sees less distance than ordinary men between what are called respectively great and little things it is not always that poetry can be the exponent of morality but it is this aspect of morals which it represents most naturally for this true justice is dependent on just those finer appreciations which poetry cultivates in us the power of making those peculiar valuations of action and its effect which poetry actually requires and of section 11 recording by a burly Thomas section 12 of appreciations with an essay on style this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Eberly thomas appreciations by walter pater section 12 shakespeare's english king's a brittle glory shine a–the in this face as brittle as the glory is the face the english plays of Shakespeare needed but the completion of one unimportant interval to possess the unity of a popular chronicle from richard ii to henry the eighth and possess as they actually stand the unity of a common motive and the handling of the various events and persons which they bring before us certain love his historic dramas not English display Shakespeare's mastery in the development of the heroic nature amid heroic circumstances and had he chosen from English history to deal with Coeur de Leon or Edward the first the innate quality of his subject would doubtless have called into play something of that profound and sombre power which in Julius Caesar and Macbeth has sounded the depths of mighty character true on the whole to fact it is another side of kingship which he has made prominent in his English histories the irony of kingship average human nature flung with a wonderfully pathetic effect into the vortex of great events tragedy of everyday quality heightened and degree only by the conspicuous scene which does but make those who play their parts their conspicuously unfortunate the utterance of common humanity straight from the heart but refined like other common things for kingly users by Shakespeare's unfailing eloquence such unconsciously for the most part though palpably enough to the careful reader is the conception under which Shakespeare has arranged the lights and shadows of the story of the English kings emphasizing merely the light and shadow inherent in it and keeping very close to the original authorities not simply in the general outline of these dramatic histories but sometimes in their very expression certainly the history itself as he founded in Hall Holland shed and Stowe those somewhat picturesque old chroniclers who had themselves an eye for the dramatic effects of human life as much of this sentiment already about it what he did not find there was the natural prerogative such justification in kingly that is to say in exceptional qualities of the exceptional position as makes it practicable in the result it is no Henry add he writes and no history of the English people but the sad fortunes of some English kings as conspicuous examples of the ordinary human condition as in a children's story all princes are in extremes delightful in the sunshine above the wall into which chance lifts the flower for a season they can but plead somewhat more touchingly than others their everyday weakness in the storm such as the motive that gives unity to these unequal and intermittent contributions toward a slowly evolved dramatic chronicle which it would have taken many days to rehearse a not distant story from real life still well remembered in its general course to which people might listen now and again as long as they cared finding human nature at least wherever their attention struck ground in it he begins with John and allows indeed to the first of his English kings a kind of greatness making the development of the play center in the counteraction of his natural gifts that's something of heroic force about him by a madness which takes the shape of reckless impiety forced especially on men's attentions by the terrible circumstances of his end in the delineation of which Shakespeare triumphs setting with true poetic tact this incident of the Kings death in all the horror of a violent one amid a scene delicately suggestive of what is perennially peaceful and genial in the outward world like the sensual humors of Falstaff in another play the presence of the bastard Faulconbridge with his physical energy and his unmistakable family likeness those limbs which Sir Robert never hope to make contributes to an almost coarse assertion of the force of nature of the somewhat ironic preponderance of nature and circumstance over men's artificial arrangements to the recognition of a certain potent natural aristocracy which is far from be being always identical with that more formal heraldic one and what is a course fact in the case of Falconbridge becomes a motive of pathetic appeal in the one and babyish Arthur the magic with which nature models tiny and delicate children to the likeness of their rough fathers is nowhere more justly expressed than in the words of King Philip look here upon thy brother Geoffrey's face these eyes these brows were moulded out of his this little abstract Duff contained that large which died in Geoffrey and the hand of time shall draw this brief into his huge volume it was perhaps something of a boyish memory of the shocking end of his father that had distorted the piety of Henry the third into superstitious terror a frightened soul himself touched with the contrary sort of religious madness doting on all that was alien from his father's huge ferocity on the geniality 'he's the soft gilding of life on the genuine interests of art and poetry to be credited more than any other person with a deep religious expression of Westminster Abbey Henry the third picturesque though useless but certainly touching might have furnished Shakespeare had he filled up this interval in his series with precisely the kind of effect he tends towards in his English plays but he found it complete her still in the person and story of Richard ii a figure that sweet lovely Rose which haunts Shakespeare's mind as it seems to have haunted the minds of the English people as the most touching of all examples of the irony of kingship Henry the fourth to look for a moment beyond our immediate subject in pursuit of Shakespeare's thought is presented of course in general outline as an impersonation of surviving force he has a certain amount of kingcraft also a real fitness for great opportunity but still true to his leading motive Shakespeare and King Henry the fourth has left the high-water mark of his poetry in the soliloquy which represents royalty longing vainly for the toilers sleep while the popularity the showy heroism of Henry the fifth is used to give him Phatak point to the old earthy commonplace about Wild Oats the wealth of homely humor in these plays the fun coming straight home to all the world of Fluellen especially and his unconscious interview with the king the boisterous earthiness of Falstaff and his companions contribute to the same effect the keynote of Shakespeare's treatment is indeed expressed by Henry v himself the greatest of shakespeare's kings though I speak it to you he says incognito under cover of night to a common soldier on the field I think the king is but a man as I am the violet smells to him as it does to me all his senses have put human conditions and though his affections be higher mounted than ours yet when they stoop they stoop with like wing and in truth the really kingly speeches which Shakespeare assigns to him as to other Kings weak enough in all but speech are but a kind of flowers worn for and effective only as personal embellishment they combined to one result with the merely outward and ceremonial ornaments of royalty it's pageant Aires flirting so naively so credulous Lea and Shakespeare as in that old medieval time and then the force of Hotspur is but transient youth the common heat of youth in him the character of Henry the sixth again Roth fanny all with la Pucelle for his counterfoil lay in the direct course of Shakespeare's design he has done much to fix the sentiment of the holy Henry Richard the third touched like John with an effect of heroism is spoiled like him by something of criminal madness and reaches his highest level of tragic expression when circumstances reduce him to terms of mere human nature a horse a horse my kingdom for a horse the princes in the tower recalled to mind the lot of young Arthur I'll go with thee and find the inheritance of this poor child his little kingdom of a four seed grave and when Shakespeare comes to Henry the eighth it is not the superficial the very English splendor of the king himself but the really potent and ascendant nature of the butcher's son on the one hand and Catherine's subdued reproduction of the sad fortunes of Richard ii on the other that define his central interest with a prescient of the Wars of the Roses of which his errors were the original cause it is richard ii who best exposes Shakespeare's own constant sentiment concerning war and especially that sort of Civil War which was then recent in English memories the soul of Shakespeare certainly was not wanting in a sense of the magnanimity of warriors the grandiose aspects of war it's magnificent apparel Eng he records monumentally enough the dressing of the lists the lion's heart its unfaltering haste thither in all the freshness of youth and morning not sick although I have to do with death the Sun doth gild our Armour up my Lords I saw young Harry with his beaver on his creases on his thighs gallantly armed rise from the ground like feathered mercury only with Shakespeare the afterthought is immediate they come like sacrifices in their trim will it never be today I will trot tomorrow a mile and my way shall be paved with English faces this sentiment Richard reiterates very plaintively in association with the delicates sweetness of the English fields till sweet and fresh like London and her other fair towns in that England of Chaucer for whose soil the exiled Bolingbroke is made too long so dangerously while Richard on his return from Ireland salutes it that pale that white faced Shore as a long parted mother with her child so weeping smiling grete I thee my earth and do the favor with my royal hands then of Bolingbroke here the crown he looks for live in peace ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers sons shall it'll become the flower of England's face changed the complexion of her maid pale piece to Scarlet indignation and be do my pastures grass with faithful English blood why have they dared to March asks York so many miles upon her peaceful bosom freighting her pale-faced visages with war waking according to Richard our peace which in our country's cradle draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep be wrenching with crimson tempest the fresh green lap of fair King Richard's land freighting fair piece from our quiet confines laying the summer's dust with showers of blood rained from the wounds of slaughtered Englishmen bruising her flower Epps with the armored hoofs of hostile paces perhaps it is not too fanciful to note in this play a peculiar recoil from the mere instruments of warfare the contact of the rude ribs the Flint bosom of bark lovely castle or Pomfret or Julius Caesar's ill erected tower the boisterous untuned drums with harsh resounding trumpets dreadful Bray and grating shock of wrathful iron it is as if the lacs soft beauty of the king took effect at least by contrast on everything beside one gracious prerogative certainly Shakespeare's English Kings possess they are very eloquent company and Richard is the most sweet tongued of them all in no other play perhaps is there such a flush of those gay fresh variegated flowers of speech color and figure not lightly attached to but fused into the very phrase itself which Shakespeare cannot help dispensing to his characters as in this play of the deposing of King Richard the second and exquisite poet if he is nothing else from first to last in light and gloom alike able to see all things poetically to give a poetic turn to his conduct of them and refreshing with his golden language the try 'test aspects of that ironic contrast between the pretensions of a king and the actual necessities of his destiny what a garden of words with him blank verse infinitely graceful deliberate musical in inflection becomes indeed a true verse royal that rhyming laps which to the Shakespearean ear at least in youth came as the last touch of refinement on it being here doubly appropriate his eloquence blends with that fatal beauty of which he was so frankly aware so amiable to his friends to his wife of the effects of which on the people his enemies were so much afraid on which Shakespeare himself dwells sill attentively as the royal blood comes and goes in the face with his rapid changes of temper as happens with sensitive natures it assumes him to a congruous suavity of manners by which anger itself becomes flattering it blends with his merely youthful hopefulness and high spirits his sympathetic love gay people things apparel his coat of gold and stone valued at 30,000 marks the novel Italian fashions he preferred as also with those real aime abilities that made people forget the darker touches of his character but never tire of the pathetic rehearsal of his fall the meekness of which would have seemed merely abject in a less graceful performer yet it is only fair to say that in the painstaking revival of king richard ii by the late Charles keen those who were very young 30 years ago were afforded much more than Shakespeare's play could ever have been before the very person of the king based on the stately old portrait in Westminster Abbey the earliest extant contemporary likeness of any English sovereign the grace the winning pathos the sympathetic voice of the player the tasteful archaeology confronting vulgar modern London with a scenic reproduction for once really agreeable of the London of Chaucer in the hands of keen the play became like an exquisite performance on the violin the long agony of one so gaily painted by nature's self from his tragic abdication till the hour in which he sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood was for playwrights a subject ready to hand and became early the theme of a popular drama of which some have fancied surviving favourite fragments in the rhymed parts of Shakespeare's work the King Richard of England was in his flower is then rainy and but his flower is after Sun faded and were all undone says the old Chronicle strangely enough Shakespeare supposes him an overconfident believer in that Divine Right of Kings of which people in Shakespeare's time were coming to hear so much a general write sealed to him so Richard is made to think as any radical personal gift by the touch stream rather over head and breast in shoulders of the holy oil of his consecration at Westminster not however through some oversight the genuine bomb used at the coronation of his successor given according to legend by the Blessed Virgin to st. Thomas of Canterbury Richard himself found that it was said among other forgotten treasures at the crisis of his changing fortunes and vainly sought rhe consecration there with understood wistfully that it was reserved for his happier rival and yet his coronation by the pageantry the amplitude the learned care of its order so lengthy that the king then only 11 years of age and fasting as a communicant at the ceremony was carried away in a faint fixed the type under which it has ever since continued and nowhere is there so emphatic a reiteration as in richard ii of the sentiment which those singular rights were calculated to produce not all the water in the rough rude sea can wash the balm from an anointed king as supplementing another almost supernatural right edwards seven sons of whom Richard's father was one whereas seven vials of his sacred blood but this too in the hands of Shakespeare becomes for him like any other of those fantastic ineffectual easily discredited personal graces as capricious in its operation on men's wills as mere physical beauty kindling himself to eloquence indeed but only giving double pathos to insults which barbarism itself might have pitted the dust in his face as he returns through the streets of London a prisoner in the train of his victorious enemy how soon my sorrow hath destroyed my face he cries in that most poetic invention of the mayor scene which does but reinforce again that physical charm which all confessed the sense of divine right in Kings is found to act not so much as a secret of power over others as of infatuation to themselves and of all those personal gifts the one which alone never altogether fails him is just that royal utterance his appreciation of the poetry of his own hapless lot an eloquent self-pity infecting others in spite of themselves till they too become irresistibly eloquent about him in the Roman Pontifical of which the order of Coronation is really a part there is no form for the inverse process no right of degradation such as that by which an offending priest or bishop may be deprived if not of the essential quality of orders yet one by one of its outward dignities it is as if Shakespeare had had in mind some such inverted right like those old ecclesiastical or military ones by which human hardness or human justice adds the last touch of unkindness to the execution of its sentences in the scene where Richard opposes himself as in some long agonizing ceremony reflectively drawn-out with an extraordinary refinement of intelligence and variety of piteous appeal but also with a Felicity of poetic invention which puts these pages into a very select class with the finest Vermeil and ivory work of Chatterton or Keats fetch hither Richard that in common view he may surrender and Richard more than concurs he throws himself into the part realizes a type falls gracefully as on the world stage why is he sent for to do that office of thine own good will which tyrant Majesty did make the offer now mark me how I will undo myself hath Bolingbroke opposed thine intellect the Queen asks him on his way to the tower hath Bolingbroke deposed thine intellect had he been in thy heart and in truth but for that adventitious poetic gold it would be only plume plucked Richard I find myself a traitor with the rest for I have given here my soul's consent to undec the pompous body of a king he is duly reminded indeed how that which in mean men we entitled patience his pale will cold cowardice in noble breasts yet at least within the poetic bounds of Shakespeare's play through Shakespeare's bountiful gifts his desire seems fulfilled oh that I were as great as is my grief and his grief becomes nothing less than a central expression of all that in the revolutions of fortunes wheel goes down in the world no Shakespeare's Kings are not nor are meant to be great men rather little or quite ordinary humanity thrust upon greatness with those pathetic results the natural self-pity of the week heightened in them into irresistible appeal to others as the net result of their royal prerogative one after another they seem to like imposed and Shakespeare's embalming pages with just that touch of nature about them making the whole world akin which has infused into their tombs at Westminster a rare poetic grace it is that irony of kingship the sense that it is in its happiness child's play in its sorrows after all but children's grief which gives its finer accent to all the changeful feeling of these wonderful speeches the great meekness of the graceful wild creature tamed at last give Richard leave to live till Richard died his somewhat abject fear of death turning to acquiescence at moments of extreme weariness my large kingdom for a little grave a little little grave an obscure grave his religious appeal in the last reserved with its bold reference to the judgment of Pilate as he thinks once more of his anointing and as happens with children he attains contentment finally in the merely passive recognition of superior strength in the naturalness of the result of the great battle as a matter of course and experiences something of the royal prerogative of poetry to obscure or at least to attune and soften men's griefs as in some sweet anthem of Handel the sufferer who put finger to the organ under the utmost pressure of mental conflict extracts a kind of peace at last from the mere skill with which he sets his distress to music be shrew the cousin that didst lead me forth of that sweet way I was in to despair with Kengo wander through the shades of night cries the new king to the jailer Exton de simulating his share in the murder he is thought to have suggested and in truth there is something of the murdered Abel about Shakespeare's Richard the fact seems to be that he died of waste and a broken heart it was by way of proof that his end had been a natural one that stifling a real fear of the face the face of Richard on men's minds with the added pleading now of all dead faces henry exposed the corpse to general view and shakespeare and bringing it on the stage in the last scene of his play does but follow out the motive with which he has emphasised Richard's physical beauty all through it that most beauteous in as the queen says quaintly meeting him on the way to death residence then soon to be deserted of that wayward frenzied but withal so affectionate sold though the body did not go to Westminster immediately his tomb that small model of the barren earth which serves as paste and cover to our bones the effigy clasping the hand of his youthful consort was already prepared there with rich gilding and ornaments monument of poetic regret for Queen Anne of Bohemia not of course the queen of Shakespeare who however seems to have transferred to this second wife something of Richard's wildly proclaimed affection for the first in this way through the connecting link of that sacred spot our thoughts once more associate Richards to fallacious prerogatives his personal beauty and his anointing according to Johnson richard ii is one of those plays which shakespeare has apparently revised and how doubly delightful Shakespeare is where he seems to have revised wood that he had blotted a thousand a thousand hasty phrases we may venture once more to say with his earlier critic now that the tiresome German superstition has passed away which challenged us to a dogmatic faith in the plenary verbal inspiration of every one of Shakespeare's clowns like some melodiously contending anthem of Handel's I said of Shakespeare's meek undoing of himself in the mirror scene and in fact the play of Richard ii does like a musical composition possess a certain concentration of all its parts a simple continuity and evenness in execution which are rare in the great dramatist with Romeo and Juliet that perfect symphony symphony of three independent poetic forms set in a grandeur one which it is the merit of German criticism to have detected it belongs to a small group of plays whereby happy birth and consistent evolution dramatic form approaches to something like the unity of a lyrical ballad a lyric a song a single strain of music which sort of poetry we are to account the highest is perhaps a barren question yet if in art generally unity of impression is a note of what is perfect then lyric poetry which in spite of complex structure often preserves the unity of a single passionate ejaculation would rank higher than dramatic poetry where especially to the reader as distinguished from the spectator assisting at a theatrical performance there must always be a sense of the effort necessary to keep the various parts from flying asunder a sense of imperfect continuity such as the older criticism vainly sought to obviate by the rules of the dramatic unities it follows that a play attains artistic perfection just in proportion as it approaches that unity of lyrical effect as if a song or ballad were still lying at the root of it all the various expression of the conflict of character and circumstance falling at last into the compass of a single melody or musical theme as historically the earliest classical drama arose out of the chorus from which this or that person this or that episode detached itself so into the unity of a Corrick song the perfect drama ever tends to return its intellectual scope deepened complicated enlarged but still with an unmistakable singleness or identity in its impression on the mind just there in that vivid single impression left on the mind when all is over not in any mechanical limitation of time and place is the secret of the unities the true imaginative unity of the drama and of section 12 recording by Everly Thomas section 13 of appreciations with an essay on style this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Leonard Wilson appreciations by Walter Potter section 13 Dante Gabriel Rossetti it was characteristic of a poet who had ever something about him of mystic isolation and will still appeal perhaps though with a name it may seem now established in English literature to a special and limited audience that some of his poems had one a kind of exquisite Fame before they were in the full sense published the Blessed Demoiselle although actually printed twice before the year 1870 was eagerly circulated in manuscript and the volume which it now opens came at last to satisfy a longstanding curiosity as to the poet whose pictures also had become an object of the same peculiar kind of interest for those poems were the work of a painter understood to belong to and to be indeed the leader of a new school then rising into note and the reader of today may observe already in the Blessed domicile written at the age of eighteen a prefigurement of the chief characteristics of that school as he will recognize in it also in proportion as he really knows resetti many of the characteristics which are most markedly personal and his own common to that school and to him and in both alike of primary significance was the quality of sincerity already felt as one of the charms of that earliest poem a perfect sincerity taking effect in the deliberate use of the most direct and unconventional expression for the conveyance of a poetic sense which recognized no conventional standard of what poetry was called upon to be at a time when poetic originality in England might seem to have had its utmost play here was certainly one new poet more with a structure and music of verse a vocabulary and accent unmistakeably novel yet felt to be no mere tricks of manner adopted with a view to forcing attention an accent which might rather count as the very seal of reality on one man's own proper speech as that speech itself was the wholly natural expression of certain wonderful things he really felt and saw here was one who had a matter to present to his readers to himself at least in the first instance so valuable so real and definite that his primary aim as regards form or expression in his verse would be but its exact equivalence to those data within that he had this gift of transparency and language the control of a style which did but obediently shift and shape itself to the mental motion as a well-trained hand can follow on the tracing paper the outline of an original drawing below it was proved afterwards by a volume of typically perfect translations from the delightful but difficult early Italian poets such transparency being indeed the secret of all genuine style of all such style as can truly belong to one man and not to another his own meaning was always personal and even recondite in a certain sense alerted and casuist achill sometimes complex or obscure but the term was always one could see deliberately chosen from many competitors as the just transcript of that peculiar phase of Seoul which he alone knew precisely as he knew it one of the peculiarities of the Blessed Demoiselle was a definiteness of sensible imagery which seemed almost grotesque to some and was strange above all in a theme so profoundly visionary the gold bar of heaven from which she leaned her hair yellow like ripe corn are but examples of a general treatment as naively detailed as the pictures of those early painters contemporary with Dante who has shown a similar care for minut and definite imagery in his verse there – in the very midst a profoundly mystic vision such definition of outline is indeed one among many points in which resetti resembles the great Italian poet of whom led to him at first my family circumstances he was ever a lover a servant and singer faithful as Dante of Florence and a Beatrice with some close inward conformities of genius also independent of any mere circumstances of Education it was said by a critic of the last century not wisely though agreeably to the practice of his time that poetry rejoices in abstractions for resetti aswer Dante without question on his part the first condition of the poetic way of seeing and presenting things is particular ization tell me now he writes for the old dictum wha-hoo nom LPE as flora labeller o men tell me now in what hidden way is lady flora the lovely Roman way in which one might actually chance to meet her the unmistakably poetic effect of the couplet in English being dependent on the definiteness of that single word though actually lighted on in the search after a difficult double rhyme for which everyone else would have written like beyond himself a more general one just equivalent to place or region and this delight in concrete's definition is allied with another of his conformity is to Dante the really imaginative vividness namely of his personifications his hold upon them or rather their hold upon him with the force of a Frankenstein when once they have taken life from him not death only and sleep for instance and the wing its spirit of love but certain particular aspects of them a whole populace of special hours and places the hour even which might have been yet might not be are living creatures with hands and eyes and articulate voices stands if not by the door loves Allah till she and I shall meet with bodyless form and an apparent feat that casts no shadow yet before though round its head the dawn begins to pour the breath that makes a sweet neigh why name the dead hours I mind them well they're ghosts in many darkened doorways dwell with desolate eyes to know them by poetry as amania one a plato's to higher forms of divine mania has in all its species a mere insanity incidental to it the defect of its quality into which it may lapse in its moment of weakness and the insanity which follows a vivid poetic anthropomorphism like that of resetti may be noted here and there in his work in a forced and almost grotesque materializing of abstractions as dante also became at times a mere subject of the scholastic realism of the middle age in love's Nocturne and the streams secret congruous Li perhaps with a certain feverishness of soul in the moods they present there is at times a near approach may it be said to such insanity of realism pity and love shall burn in her pressed cheek and cherishing hands and from the living spirit of love that stands between her lips to soothe and yearn each separate breath shall clasp me round in turn and loose my spirits bands but even if we concede this even if we allow in the very plan of those two compositions something of the literary conceit what exquisite what novel flowers of poetry we must admit them to be as they stand in the one what a delight in all the natural beauty of water all its details for the eye of a painter in the other how subtle and defined the imaginative hold upon all the secret waves of sleep and dreams in both of them with much the same attitude and tone love sick and doubtful love would fain inquire of what lies below the surface of sleep and below the water stream or dream being forced to speak by love's powerful control and the poet would have it foretell the fortune issue and event of his wasting passion such artifice is indeed were not unknown in the older Provencal poetry of which Dante had learned something only in Rosetti at least they are redeemed by a serious purpose by that sincerity of his which allies itself readily to a serious beauty a sort of grandeur of literary workmanship to a great style one seems to hear there are a really new kind of poetic utterance with effects which have nothing else like them as there is nothing else for instance like the narrative of Jacob's dream in Genesis or Blake's design of the singing of the morning stars or Edison's 19th psalm with him indeed as in some revival of the old mythopoetic age common things dawn noon night are full of human or personal expression full of sentiment the lovely little sceneries standard up and down his poems glimpses of a landscape not indeed a broad open-air effects but rather that of a painter concentrated upon the picturesque effect of one or two selected objects at a time the hollow brimmed with mist or the ruined we're as he sees it from one of the windows or reflected in one of the mirrors of his house of life the vignettes for instance seen by rosemary in the magic barrel attest by their very freshness and simplicity to a pictorial or descriptive power in dealing with the inanimate world which is certainly also one half of the charm in that other more remote and mystic use of it for with resetti this sense of lifeless nature after all is translated to a higher service in which it does but incorporate itself with some phase of strong emotion everyone understands how this may happen at critical moments of life what a weirdly expressive soul may have crept even in full noonday into the white flowered elder thicket when Godiva saw it Liam through the Gothic archways in the wall at the end of her terrible ride to resetti it is so always because to him life is a crisis at every moment his sustained impress ability towards the mysterious conditions of man's everyday life towards the very mystery itself in it gives a singular gravity to all his work those matters never became trite to him but throughout it is the ideal intensity of love of love based upon a perfect yet peculiar type of physical or material beauty which is enthroned in the midst of those mysterious powers youth and death destiny and fortune Fame poetic Fame memory oblivion and the like Rosetti is one of those who in the words of Mary may surpass una por la passion one of love's lovers and yet again as with Dante to speak of his ideal type of beauty as material is partly misleading spirit and matter indeed have been for the most part opposed with a false contrast or antagonism by school men whose artificial creation those abstractions really are in our actual concrete experience the two trains of phenomena which the words matter and spirit do but roughly distinguish play and extra calmly into each other practically the Church of the middle age by its aesthetic worship its sacramentalism its real faith in the resurrection of the flesh hath set itself against that Manichaean opposition of spirit and matter and its results in men's way of taking life and end there's Dante as the central representative of its spirit to him in the vehement and impassioned heat of his conceptions the material and the spiritual are fused and blend if the spiritual attains the definite visibility of a crystal what his material loses its earthiness and impurity and Aragon by force of instinct Rosetti is one with him his chosen type of beauty is one whose speech truth knows not from her thought nor love her body from her soul like Dante he knows no region of spirit which shall not be sensuous also or material the shadowy world which he realizes so powerfully has still the ways and houses the land and water the light and darkness the fire and flowers that had so much to do in the moulding of those bodily powers and aspects which counted for so large a part of the soul here for resetti then the great affections of persons to each other swayed and determined in the case of his highly pictorial genius mainly by that so-called material loveliness formed the great undeniable reality and things the solid resisting substance in a world were all beside might be but shadow the fortunes of those affections of the great love so determined its cash with strees its languor sometimes above all its sorrows its fortunate or unfortunate collisions with those other great matters how it looks as the long way of life goes round in the light and shine of them all this conceived with an abundant imagination and a deep a philosophic reflectiveness is the matter of his verse and especially at what he designed as his chief poetic work a work to be called the house of life towards which the majority of his sonnets and songs were contributions the dwelling place in which one finds oneself by chance or destiny yet can partly fashioned for oneself never properly one's own at all if it be changed too lightly in which every object has its associations the dim mirrors the portraits the lamps the books the hair tresses of the dead and visionary magic crystals in the secret drawers the names and words scratched on the windows windows open upon prospects the saddest or the sweetest the house one must quit yet taking perhaps how much of its quietly active light and color along with us grown now to be a kind of raiment to one's body as the body according to Swedenborg is what the raiment of the soul under that image the whole of Rosetti's work might count as a house of life of which he is but the interpreter and it is a haunted house a sense of power in love defying distance and those barriers which are so much more than physical distance of an achievable desire penetrating into the world of sleep however led bound was one of those anticipated notes obscurely struck in the Blessed Demoiselle hand in his later work makes him speak sometimes almost like a believer in mesmerism dreamland as we said with its phantoms of the body deftly coming and going on love service is to him in no mere fancy or figure of speech a real country a veritable expansion of or addition to our waking life and he did well perhaps to wait carefully upon sleep for the lack of it became mortal disease with him one may even recognize a sort of morbid and over-hasty making ready for death itself which increases on him thoughts concerning it its imageries coming with the frequency and importunity in excess one might think of even the very saddest quite wholesome wisdom and indeed the publication of his second volume of ballads and sonnets preceded his death by scarcely a 12-month that volume bears witness to the reverse of any failure of power or falling off from his early standard of literary perfection in every one of his then accustomed form suppori the song the sonnet and the ballad the newly printed sonnets now completing the house of life certainly advanced beyond those earlier ones in clearness his dramatic power in the ballad was here at its height while one monumental nomic piece soothsay testifies more clearly even than the Nineveh of his first volume to the reflective force the dry reason always at work behind his imaginative creations which at no time dispensed with a genuine intellectual structure for in matters of pure reflection also Rosetti maintained the painter's sensuous clearness of conception and this has something to do with the capacity largely illustrated by his balance of telling some red hearted story of impassioned action with effect have there in very deed been ages in which the external conditions of poetry such Rossetti's were at more spontaneous growth than in our own the archaic side of Rossetti's work his preferences in regard to earlier poetry connect him with those who have certainly thought so who fancied they could have breathed more largely in the age of Chaucer or Avram saw in one of those ages in the words of Stendhal South Euclid apostle rule is impervious Oliver a freshman ala pre-suit exultation Connelly pysanky fool a possibility we may think perhaps that such all time as that has never really existed except in the fancier poets but it was to find it that resetti turned so often from modern life to the chronicle of the past old Scotch history perhaps beyond any other is strong in the matter of heroic and vehement hatreds and love the tragic Mary herself being but the perfect blossom of them and it is from that history that Rosetti has taken the subjects of the two longer balance of his second volume of the three admirable balance in it the Kings tragedy in which resetti has dexterously interwoven some relics of James's own exquisite early verse reaching the highest level of dramatic success and marking perfection perhaps in this kind of poetry which in the earlier volume gave us among other pieces troy town sister Helen and Eden bower like those earlier pieces the ballads of the second volume bring with them the question of the poetic value of the refrain Eden Bowers in flower and oh the bower and the hour and the like two of those ballots Troy town and Eden power are terrible in theme and the refrain serves perhaps to relieve their bold aim at the sentiment of terror ancestor Helen again the refrain has a real ancestor the purpose being here Julie varied also and performs the part of a chorus as the story proceeds yet even in these cases whatever its effect may be an actual recitation it may fairly be questioned whether to the mirror reader their actual effect is not that of a positive interruption and drawback at least in pieces so lengthy and resetti himself it would seem came to think so for in the shortest of his later balance the white ship that old true history of the generosity with which a youth worthless in life flung himself upon death he was contented with a single utterance of the refrain given out like the keynote or tune of a chant in the Kings tragedy well said he has worked upon motive broadly human to adopt the phrase of popular criticism such as one and all may realize resetti indeed with all his self concentration upon his own peculiar aim by no means ignored those general interests which are external to poetry as he conceived it as he has shown here and there in this poetic as also in pictorial work it was but that in a life to be shorter even than the average he found enough to occupy him in the fulfillment of a task plainly given him to do perhaps if one had to name a single composition of his to readers desiring to make acquaintance with him for the first time one would select the Kings tragedy that poem so moving so popularly dramatic and lifelike notwithstanding this his work it must be conceded certainly through no narrowness or egotism but in the faithfulness of a true workman to a vocation so emphatic was mainly of the esoteric order but poetry time's exercises two distinct functions it may reveal it may unveil to every eye the ideal aspects of common things after Gray's way though gray to it is well to remember seemed in his own day seemed even to Johnson obscure or it may actually add to the number of motives poetic and common in themselves by the imaginative creation of things that are ideal from their very birth resetti did something something excellent of the former kind but his characteristic is really revealing work lay and they adding to poetry afresh poetic material of a new order of phenomena in the creation of a new ideal end of section 13 Dante Gabriel Rossetti recording by Leonard Wilson of Springfield Ohio section 14 of appreciations with an essay on style this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit appreciations by Walter Potter section 14 Felice lamothe part 1 in his latest novel Monsieur Octavio he adds two charming people to that Johson group of personages in which he loves to trace the development of the more serious elements of character mid the refinements and artifice of modern society and which makes such good company the proper function of fictitious literature in affording us a refuge into a world slightly better better conceived or better finished than the real one is affected in most instances less through the imaginary events at which a novelist costs us to exist than by the imagined persons to whom he introduces us the situation of Monsieur effigies novels are indeed of a real and intrinsic importance tragic crisis inherent in the general conditions of human nature itself or which arise necessarily out of the special conditions of modern society still with him in the actual result they become subordinate as it is their tendency to do in real life to the characters to help deform often his most attentive reader will have forgotten the actual details of his plot while the sole tried enlarged shaped by it remains as a well fixed type in the memory he may return a second or third time to Seville or La Jolla LT and fam or less emotive Philip and watch surprised afresh the clean dainty Ward's bearing literary operation Ward's bearing yet with no loss of real grace or eise which sometimes in a few pages with a perfect logic of a problem of euclid complicates and then unravels some moral embarrassment freely worthy of a train dramatic expert but the character is themselves the agents in those difficult revealing situations such a reader will recognize as old acquaintances after the first reading feeling for them as person gifted and attracted persons he is known in the actual world how old is Shelley aunty Dylan Madame de Tech Jean de la Hache a man m'allister climbers many others to who must now be added banal Analia devoted cool how I love those people Christ Mademoiselle decoders of Madame de seven-year and some other of her literary favorites in the days of the grand monarch what good company what pleasure they took in high things how much more worthy they were than the people who live now what good company that is precisely what the admirer of Monsieur fellows books feels as one by one he places them on his bookshelf to be sought again what is proposed here is not to tell his last story but to give the English reader specimens of his most recent efforts at characterization it is with the Journal of banal himself that the story opens September 18 hundred and seventy something banal Melissa gone to Monta he become devotee ku is on a visit to his uncle the head of his family at Lhasa be near a country house somewhere between Normandy and Brittany this uncle an artificial old person in manner that honest in purpose a good talker and full of real affection for his Arab Anna is one of Monsieur feels good minor characters one of the quietly humorous figures with which he relieves this more serious company Venna with whom the refinements of a man of fashion in the Parisian world by no means disguise a powerful intelligence cultivated by wide reading has had thoughts during his tedious day at la Sevigny of writing a history of the reign of louis xiv the library of a neighbouring Chateau being rich in memoirs of that period finally he prefers to write his own story a story so much more interesting to himself to write it at a peculiar crisis in his life the moment when his uncle unmarried but anxious to perpetuate his race is bent on providing him with a wife and indeed has one in view the accomplished banner with many graces of person by his own confession takes nothing seriously as to that matter of religious beliefs the breeze of the age and of science has blown over him as it has blown over his contemporaries and left empty space there still when he saw his childish villages faith departing from him as he thinks it must necessarily depart from all intelligent male Parisians he wept since that moment however a gaiety serene and imperturbable has been the mainstay of his happily constituted character the girl to whom his uncle desires to see him United awed quixotic intelligent with a sort of pathetic indelicate grace and herself very religious belongs to an old-fashioned devout family resident at Vavi nearby Monsieur fuyi with half a dozen fine touches of his admirable pencil makes us see the place and the enterprise has at least sufficient interest to keep banal in the country which the young Parisian detests this piquant episode of my life he writes seems to me to be really deserving of study to be worth arching of day by day by an observer well-informed on the subject recognizing in himself though as his one real fault that he can take nothing seriously in heaven or earth Bernardo votre Coeur like old Monsieur for his favorite young men so often airing or corrupt is a man of scrupulous honor he is already shown disinterestedness in wishing his rich uncle to marry again his friends at Bobby thinks so well-mannered a young man more of a Christian than he really is and at all events he will never know his happiness to a falsehood if he has great faults hypocrisy at least is no part of them in a bleak paths he finds himself ill at ease decidedly as he thinks he was born four straight ways for loyalty in all his enterprises and he congratulates himself upon the fact in truth banal his merits which he ignores at least in this first part of his journal merits which are necessary to explain the influence he's able to exercise from the first over such a character as not Marcel Dakota's his charm in fact is in the union of that gay and apparently wanton nature with a genuine power of appreciating devotion in others which becomes devotion in himself with all the much cherished elegance and worldly glitter of his personality he is capable of apprehending of understanding and being touched by the presence of great matters in spite of that happy lightness of heart so jealously fenced about he is wholly caught at last as he is worthy to be by the serious the generous influence of things in proportion to his immense worldly strength is his capacity for the immense pity which breaks his heart in a few lifelike touches Monsieur Feeny brings out as if it were indeed a thing of ordinary existence the simple yet delicate life of a French country house the ideal life in an ideal France Dena is paying a morning visit at the old tires at home of the prehistoric quarters family Mademoiselle Elias two quarters a studious girl they were both an excellent Rider but Marcel decode hers with her hair of that strange color of fine ashes has conducted her visitor to see the library one day she took me to see the library written works of the 17th century and in memoirs relating to that time I am marked there also a curious collection of engravings of the same period your father I observed had a strong predilection for the age of louis xiv my father lived in that age she answered gravely and as i looked at her with surprise and a little embarrassed she added he made me live there too in his company and then the I said the singular girl filled with tears she turned away took a few steps to suppress her emotion and returning pointed me to a chair then seating herself on the step of the bookcase she said I must explain my father to you she was half a minute collecting her thoughts then speaking with an expansion of manner not habitual with her hesitating and blushing deeply whenever she was about to utter a word that might seem a shade too serious for looked so youthful my father she proceeded died of the consequences of a wound he had received at perte let me show you that he loved his country but he was no lover of his own age he possessed in the highest degree the love of order and order was the thing nowhere to be seen he had a horror of disorder and he saw it everywhere in those last years especially his reverence as believes his tastes all alike were ruffled to the point of actual suffering by whatever was done and said and written around him deeply saddened by the conditions of the present he abated himself to find refuge and past and the 17th century more particularly offered him the kind of society in which he would have wished to live as a scientist lettered believing more and more he loved to shut himself up in it more and more also he loved to make the moral discipline and the literary tastes of that favorite age prevail in his own household you may even have remarked that he carried his predilection into minut matters of arrangement and decoration you can see from this window of the straight paths the box in patterns the yew trees and clipped alleys of our garden you may notice that in our garden beds we have none but flowers of the period lilies rose Mallos in motels rose pinks in short what people call parsonage flowers de Fleur de Kui are old Sylvan tapestries similarly are of that age you see too that all our furniture from presses and side boards down to our little tables and our armchairs is in the severus style of louis xiv my father did not appreciate the dainty research of our modern luxury he maintained that our excessive care for the comforts of life we can mind as well as body that added the girl with the laugh that is why you find your chair so hard when you come to see us then with resumed gravity it was thus that my father endeavored by the very aspect and arrangement of outward things to promote in himself the imaginary presence of the epoch in which his thoughts delighted as for myself need I tell you that I was too confidant to that father so well beloved a confidant touched by his sorrows full of indignation at his disappointments charmed by his consolations here precisely surrounded by those books which we read together and which he taught me to love it is here that I've passed the pleasantest hours of my youth in common we indulged our enthusiasm for those days of faith of the quiet life its blissful hours of leisure well secured for the language in its beauty and purity the delicate the noble urbanity which was then the honor and the special mark of our country but it ceased to be so she paused with a little confusion as I thought at the warm of our last words and then just to break the silence you have explained I said an impression which I have experienced again and again in my visits here and which is sometimes reached the intensity of an actual illusion there were very agreeable one the look of your house at style its tone and keeping carried me two centuries back so completely that I should hardly have been surprised to her monsieur le pants Madame de Lafayette or Madame de Sevigny her South announced at her drawing-room door food it might be said to mademoiselle de choros or Monsieur how I love those people what a good company what pleasure they took in high things how much more worthy they were than the people who live now I try to calm a little this retrospective enthusiasm so much to the prejudice of my contemporaries and of myself most truly Mademoiselle I said the age which you regret had it's rare merits merits which I appreciate as you do but then need one say that that society so regular so choice and appearance had like our own below the surface its troubles its disorders I see here many of the memoirs of that time I can't tell exactly which of them you may or may not have read and so I feel a certain difficulty in speaking she interrupted me as she said with entire simplicity I understand you I have not read all you see here but I've read enough of it to know that my friends in that past age had like those who live now their passions their weaknesses their mistakes but as my father used to say to me all that did but pass over a ground of what was solid and serious which always discovered itself again anew there were great fault then but there were also great repentance –is there was a certain higher region to which everything conducted even what was she blushed deeply then pricing a little suddenly a long speech she said forgive me I'm not usually so very talkative it is because my father was in question and I should wish his memory to be as dear and as venerable to all the rest of the world as it is to me we pass over the many little dramatic intrigues and misunderstandings with the more or less a twat interferences of the uncle which raise and lower alternately burn ass hoops Monsieur Fuji has more than once tried his hand with striking success in the portraiture of French ecclesiastics he has drawn none better than the Bishop of Sant me an uncle of Mademoiselle de choros to whose interests he is devoted there now feels that you gained the influence of this prelate would be to gain his course and the opportunity for an interview comes Monsieur de Coulter's would seem to be a little over fifty years of age he's rather tall and very thin the eyes black and full of life encircled by a ring of deep brown his speech and gesture are animated and at times as if carried away he adopts frequently a sort of furious manner which on a sudden melt into the smile of an honest man he has beautiful silvery hair flying in vagrant locks over his forehead and beautiful bishops hands as he becomes calm he has an imposing way of gently settling himself in his latter total dignity to sum up his is a physiognomy full of passion consumed with feel he is still frank and sincere i was hardly seated when with a motion of the hand invited me to speak Monsignor I said I come to you you understand me as to my last resource what I'm now doing is almost an act of despair for it might seem at first sight that no member of the family of Mademoiselle decoders must show himself more pity less than yourself towards the false with which I am reproached I am an unbeliever you are an apostle and monsignor it is often at the hands of saintly priests such as yourself that the guilty find most indulgence and then I am NOT indeed guilty I have but wondered I am refused the hand of your niece because I do not share her faith your own faith but Monsignor unbelief is not a crime it is a misfortune I know people often say a man denies God one by his own conduct he has brought himself into a condition in which he may well desire that God does not exist in this way he's made guilty or innocence responsible for his own incredulity for myself Monsignor I have consulted my conscience with an entire sincerity and although my youth has been amiss I am certain that my atheism proceeds from no sentiment of personal interest on the contrary I may tell you with truth but the day on which I perceived my faith come to naught the day on which I lost hope in God I shed the bitterest tears of my life in spite of appearances I am not so light a spirit as people think I am not one of those for whom God when he disappears leaves no sense of a void place believed me a man may love sport his club his firmly habits and yet have his hours of thought of self recollection do you suppose that in those hours one does not feel the frightful discomfort of an existence with no moral basis without principles with no outlook beyond this world and yet what can one do he would tell me forthwith in the goodness the compassion which I read in your eyes confide to me your objections to religion and I will try to solve them Monsignor I should hardly know how to answer you my objections are legion they are without number like the stars in the sky they come to us on all sides from every quarter of the horizon as if on the wings of the wind and they leave in us as they pass ruins only and darkness such as thin my experience and that of many others and it has been as involuntary as it is irreparable and I Monsieur said the bishop suddenly casting on me one of his August looks do you suppose that I am but a play actor in my Cathedral Church Monsignor yes listening to you one would suppose that we were come to a period of the world in which one must needs be either an atheist or hypocrite personally I claim to be neither one nor the other need I defend myself at that point Monsignor need I say that I did not come here to give you a fence doubtless doubtless well Monsieur I admit not without great reserves mind for one is always more or less responsible for the atmosphere in which he lives the influences to which his subject for the habitual turn he gives to his thoughts still I admit that you are the victim of the incredulity of the age that you are altogether guiltless in your skepticism your atheism since you have no fear of hard words is it therefore any the less certain that the union of a fervent believer such as my niece with a man like yourself would be a moral disorder of which the consequences might be disastrous do you think it could be my duty as a relative of Mademoiselle decoders her spiritual father as a prelate of the church to lend my hands to such disorder to preside over the shocking union of two souls separated by the whole width of heaven the bishop in proposing that question kept his eyes fixed ardently on mine Monseigneur I answered after a moment's embarrassment you know as well as and better than I the condition of the world and of our country at this time you know that unhappily I am NOT an exception that men of faith are rare in it and permit me to tell you my whole mind if I must need suffer the inconsolable misfortune of renouncing the happiness I had hoped for are you quite sure that the man do you in one of these days you will give your niece may not be something more than a skeptic or even an atheist what Monsieur a hypocrite Monsignor madmaz self Boutros is beautiful enough rich enough to excite the ambition of those who may be less scrupulous than I as for me if you now know that I am a skeptic you know also that I am a man of honor and there is something not a man of honor the bishop muttered to himself with a little petulance and hesitation a man of honor yes I believe it then after an interval , sir he said gently your case is not as desperate as you suppose my ally at is one of those young enthusiasts through whom heaven sometimes works miracles and they're now refusing any encouragement of that hope the very roots of faith are dead in him forever since you think that the bishop answers it is honest to say so but God has his ways end of section 14 recording by Petra

1 thought on “Appreciations, with an Essay on Style | Walter Pater | Literary Criticism | Sound Book | 4/5

  1. Appreciations, with an Essay on Style | Walter Pater | Literary Criticism | Sound Book | 4/5

    11: [00:00:00] – 11 – Measure for Measure

    12: [00:25:41] – 12 – Shakespeare's English Kings

    13: [00:57:50] – 13 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

    14: [01:25:48] – 14 – Feuillet's "La Morte", part 1

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