Vanishing Roads and Other Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 267 pages of information about Vanishing Roads and Other Essays.
half-torpid immortal within us, revived awhile our sluggish sense of our spiritual significance and destiny, made us once more, if only for a little, attractively mysterious to ourselves.  Yes! there is what one might call a certain monastic discipline about winter which impels the least spiritual minded to meditation on his mortal lot and its immortal meanings; and thus, as I said, the Church has done wisely to choose winter for its most Christian festival.  The heart of man, thus prepared by the very elements, is the more open to the message of the miraculous love, and the more ready to translate it into terms of human goodness.  And thus, I hope, the ghostly significance of mince-pie is made clear.

But enough of ghostly, grown-up thoughts.  Let us end with a song for the children: 

O the big red sun,
And the wide white world,
And the nursery window
Mother-of-pearled;

And the houses all
In hoods of snow,
And the mince-pies,
And the mistletoe;

And Christmas pudding,
And berries red,
And stockings hung
At the foot of the bed;

And carol-singers,
And nothing but play—­
O baby, this is
Christmas Day!

XXII

ON RE-READING WALTER PATER

It is with no small satisfaction, and with a sense of reassurance of which one may, in moods of misgiving, have felt the need during two decades of the Literature of Noise, that one sees a writer so pre-eminently a master of the Literature of Meditation coming, for all the captains and the shouting, so surely into his own.  The acceptance of Walter Pater is not merely widening all the time, but it is more and more becoming an acceptance such as he himself would have most valued, an acceptance in accordance with the full significance of his work rather than a one-sided appreciation of some of its Corinthian characteristics.  The Doric qualities of his work are becoming recognized also, and he is being read, as he has always been read by his true disciples—­so not inappropriately to name those who have come under his graver spell—­not merely as a prosateur of purple patches, or a sophist of honeyed counsels tragically easy to misapply, but as an artist of the interpretative imagination of rare insight and magic, a writer of deep humanity as well as aesthetic beauty, and the teacher of a way of life at once ennobling and exquisite.  It is no longer possible to parody him—­after the fashion of Mr. Mallock’s brilliancy in The New Republic—­as a writer of “all manner and no matter,” nor is it possible any longer to confuse his philosophy with those gospels of unrestrained libertinism which have taken in vain the name of Epicurus.  His highly wrought, sensitively coloured, and musically expressive style is seen to be what it is because of its truth to a matter profound and delicate and intensely meditated, and such faults

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Vanishing Roads and Other Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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