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Index: Reference Archive

Shelley, the ‘Divine Poet’.

Gilbert Thomas: ‘The poet of “The Skylark” was also a prophet; it is because it is of him in that aspect that we most naturally think at this time. In the sight of his own contemporaries he was mad, and even thirty-four years ago Matthew Arnold proclaimed that he was not quite sane. ‘

The Olympic Games.

G.S. Robertson: ‘Athens, all hail! Hail, O rejoicing throng!
And from our lips receive the tributary song.’

‘Jane Austen’ and ‘Jane Austen at home’.

Thomas Kebbel: ‘The danger to which a young lady is exposed by imagining too readily that a polite gentleman is in love with her; and the danger to which a young gentleman is exposed by imagining too readily that a good-natured girl is in love with him; the misunderstandings that arise from careless conversation, from exaggerated reserve, from overrated pretensions, from all the little mistakes which create the common embarrassments of ordinary society; these are the minor mischiefs which [Jane Austen’s] pen is devoted to setting in their proper light, and no man or woman turned forty will deny that such work may be of great utility, or that anybody who chooses to read her novels with a view to practical instruction may learn a great deal from them. ‘

Swinburne on Keats.

A.C. Swinburne: ‘”The Ode to a Nightingale”, one of the final masterpieces of human work in all time and for all ages, is immediately preceded in all editions now current by some of the most vulgar and fulsome doggrel ever whimpered by a vapid and effeminate rhymester in the sickly stage of whelphood.’

Rabindranath Tagore.

Ezra Pound: ‘We have found our new Greece, suddenly. As the sense of balance came back upon Europe in the days before the Renaissance, so it seems to me does this sense of a saner stillness come now to us in the midst of our clangour of mechanisms.

The “mens sana in corpore sano,” the ethic of Odyssey, came then upon the tortured habits of mediaeval thought, and with no greater power for refreshment.

I am not saying this hastily, nor in an emotional flurry, not from a love of brandishing statement. I have had a month to think it over.

Hearing his first Greek professor, hearing for the first time the curious music of Theocritus, coming for the first time upon that classic composure which Dante had a little suggested in his description of limbo, Boccaccio must have felt, I think, little differently from what we have felt here, we few who have been privileged to receive the work of Mr. Tagore before the public have heard it.’

The marbles of Aegina.

Walter Pater: ‘We come at last in the marbles of Aegina to a monument, which bears upon it the full expression of this humanism,—to a work, in which the presence of man, realised with complete mastery of hand, and with clear apprehension of how he actually is and moves and looks, is touched with the freshest sense of that new-found, inward value; the energy of worthy passions purifying, the light of his reason shining through, bodily forms and motions, solemnised, attractive, pathetic. We have reached an extant work, real and visible, of an importance out of all proportion to anything actually remaining of earlier art…’

The beginnings of Greek sculpture 2.

Walter Pater: ‘This whole first period of Greek art might, indeed, be called the period of graven images, and all its workmen sons of Daedalus; for Daedalus is the mythical, or all but mythical, representative of all those arts which are combined in the making of lovelier idols than had heretofore been seen. ‘

The beginnings of Greek sculpture 1.

Walter Pater: The highest Greek sculpture is presented to us in a sort of threefold isolation; isolation, first of all, from the concomitant arts—the frieze of the Parthenon without the metal bridles on the horses, for which the holes in the marble remain; isolation, secondly, from the architectural group of which, with most careful estimate of distance and point of observation, that frieze, for instance, was designed to be a part; isolation, thirdly, from the clear Greek skies, the poetical Greek life, in our modern galleries.

Sir Richard Francis Burton.

Ouidah: that Burton merely used the translations of others, as his detractors venture to say is, I am certain, a cowardly calumny. He was not perhaps a scrupulous man, but he was a very clever man, a man who knew other men in all their wisdom and al their folly; and it is quite certain that such a man would never have done such an imbecile act, or given such a handle against himself to his antagonists.

Literature in the other Jubilee year.

H. D. Traill: One has resolutely to think away all the brass bands and banners, as of a Salvation Army procession, which confuse and vulgarise the advance of English literature, before we can discern the truth which fortunately is at bottom indisputable, that during the Sixty Years of the Queen’s reign that advance has been real and great.

Of the ‘pathetic fallacy’.

By John Ruskin. NOW, THEREFORE, PUTTING these tiresome and absurd words1 quite out of our way, we may go on at our ease to examine the point in question,–namely, the difference between the ordinary, proper, and true appearances of things to us; and the extraordinary, or false appearances, when we are under the influence of […]

Metaphor and poetic mendacity.

Roden Noel: When…we attribute to nature a sympathy with our moods, whether of joy or sorrow, we are not under an amiable delusion; the intuition is true, although the shape it assumes may not always be scientifically correct. Nature, like man, has her bright, rich, joyous, and her desolate, decaying phases; in joy we feel the former most, in sorrow we feel and discern more especially the latter. We may indulge these feelings to a morbid degree and see things too brightly or too gloomily; but the sense of a sympathy in nature has its basis in fact.

The Bibliomania.

John Ferriar: Proudly he shews, with many a smile elate,
The scrambling subjects of the private plate;
While Time their actions and their names bereaves,
They grin forever in the guarded leaves.

The evolution of mystery.

Maurice Maeterlinck: There is a hopefulness in man which renders him unwilling to grant that the cause of his misfortune may be as transparent as that of the wave which dies away in the sand or is hurled on the cliff, of the insect whose little wings gleam for an instant in the light of the sun till the passing bird absorbs its existence.

Dulce et Decorum Est.

Owen: In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.