The New Jerusalem eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 322 pages of information about The New Jerusalem.

All this came later; but for me at the moment, looking at the scene in so dreamy a fashion, it seemed merely like a dramatic conclusion to my dream.  It was but an accident confirming what was but an aspect.  But it confirmed it with a strange and almost supernatural completeness.  The white light out of the window in the north lay on all the roofs and turrets of the mountain town; for there is an aspect in which snow looks less like frozen water than like solidified light.  As the snow accumulated there accumulated also everywhere those fantastic effects of frost which seem to fit in with the fantastic qualities of medieval architecture; and which make an icicle seem like the mere extension of a gargoyle.  It was the atmosphere that has led so many romancers to make medieval Paris a mere black and white study of night and snow.  Something had redrawn in silver all things from the rude ornament on the old gateways to the wrinkles on the ancient hills of Moab.  Fields of white still spotted with green swept down into the valleys between us and the hills; and high above them the Holy City lifted her head into the thunder-clouded heavens, wearing a white head-dress like a daughter of the Crusaders.



Various cultivated critics told me that I should find Jerusalem disappointing; and I fear it will disappoint them that I am not disappointed.  Of the city as a city I shall try to say something elsewhere; but the things which these critics have especially in mind are at once more general and more internal.  They concern something tawdry, squalid or superstitious about the shrines and those who use them.  Now the mistake of critics is not that they criticise the world; it is that they never criticise themselves.  They compare the alien with the ideal; but they do not at the same time compare themselves with the ideal; rather they identify themselves with the ideal.  I have met a tourist who had seen the great Pyramid, and who told me that the Pyramid looked small.  Believe me, the tourist looked much smaller.  There is indeed another type of traveller, who is not at all small in the moral mental sense, who will confess such disappointments quite honestly, as a piece of realism about his own sensations.  In that case he generally suffers from the defect of most realists; that of not being realistic enough.  He does not really think out his own impressions thoroughly; or he would generally find they are not so disappointing after all.  A humorous soldier told me that he came from Derbyshire, and that he did not think much of the Pyramid because it was not so tall as the Peak.  I pointed out to him that he was really offering the tallest possible tribute to a work of man in comparing it to a mountain; even if he thought it was a rather small mountain.  I suggested that it was a rather large tombstone.  I appealed to those with whom

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The New Jerusalem from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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