It breaks and blasts and confounds them; and out of it the Lord speaks.
Now of that famous and marvellous speech, put by the poet into the mouth of God, we may say what may be said of all speeches put by man into the mouth of God. We may say, as of the speeches of the Archangel in “Paradise Lost” that it is argument, and argument, by its very nature, admits of being answered. But, if to make God talk at all be anthropomorphism, here is anthropomorphism at its very best in its effort to reach to God.
There is a hush. The storm clears away; and in this hush the voice of the Narrator is heard again, pronouncing the Epilogue. Job has looked in the face of God and reproached him as a friend reproaches a friend. Therefore his captivity was turned, and his wealth returned to him, and he begat sons and daughters, and saw his sons’ sons unto the fourth generation. So Job died, being old and full of years.
Structurally a great poem; historically a great poem; philosophically a great poem; so rendered for us in noble English diction as to be worthy in any comparison of diction, structure, ancestry, thought! Why should we not study it in our English School, if only for purpose of comparison? I conclude with these words of Lord Latymer:
There is nothing comparable with it except the “Prometheus Bound” of Aeschylus. It is eternal, illimitable ... its scope is the relation between God and Man. It is a vast liberation, a great gaol-delivery of the spirit of Man; nay, rather a great Acquittal.
[Footnote 1: It is fair to say that Myers cancelled the Damascus stanza in his final edition.]
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1918
Let us hark back, Gentlemen, to our original problem, and consider if our dilatory way have led us to some glimpse of a practical solution.
We may re-state it thus: Assuming it to be true, as men of Science assure us, that the weight of this planet remains constant, and is to-day what it was when mankind carelessly laid it on the shoulders of Atlas; that nothing abides but it goes, that nothing goes but in some form or other it comes back; you and I may well indulge a wonder what reflections upon this astonishing fact our University Librarian, Mr Jenkinson, takes to bed with him. A copy of every book printed in the United Kingdom is—or I had better say, should be—deposited with him. Putting aside the question of what he has done to deserve it, he must surely wonder at times from what other corners of the earth Providence has been at pains to collect and compact the ingredients of the latest new volume he handles for a moment before fondly committing it to the cellars.