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Yeats advances his Dogmatic Symbolism as a form of spiritual adventure, a mode of thought conveyed in a personal system of symbols, to be experienced rather than understood in the common sense of the word. It is the moment of Dr. Yeats deliberately chosen a moment of Antiquity pregnant with change, the air hanging heavy with dumb antagonisms and dying modes of thought?

I seem to see that worker in mosaic a shrill and violent partisan. And what of Nemesius, that Bishop of Emessa who, I note with pleasure, and appreciation, had an early and watchful eye on the Yeatsian Anschauung? Yeats is seeking? Yeats is daring; or, perhaps, arrogant.

He has written a Sibylline book that I could easily imagine falling into this cynical, fragmentary, analytical age like a lark into a lime-kiln; as I can image it being read equally with pleasure and disgust, fascination and rage, seized on with glee by a Night and Day , trumpeted by a Hibbert Journal.

And yet, what more analytical book has ever been written—unless, of another kind, the Anatomy of Melancholy? What more impersonal, aloof book? In this time of a return to the seventeenth-century poets or have the Reds finished all that?

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If he had not been forced by his nature and his literary ancestry to wrap it up in a romantic fable of Michael Robartes, which will discourage many, if, that is, he could have written it in the crisp fashion of our day, I could imagine it echoing for a long time among the cognoscenti. Even yet it may—with whatever derision for its folly mingled with delight in its ripeness and wisdom. The possible combinations of four faculties and twenty-eight phases are obviously immense. They are rarely in alignment or in harmony; for out of conflict comes the condition of life.

Starting from complete objectivity, the progress is from character—the imposed unity, mob- and environment-formed—to self-won, or fate-given personality, a condition of fire; and thence back towards social character again. The illustration of all this by types, forms the most interesting part of the book, and must excite the brain of every pious reader. It is all shrewd and persuasive though too many types are taken from men of letters. The actor and the play are one. The drama is inclusive and illuminating—as absolute as a poem; a poem—however prosy with tables and numbers—whose subject is the oldest subject in the world—the nature of man in relation to his human destiny.

With such a subject and such a poet, I cannot once the pseudo-romantic trappings have been flicked away imagine anybody form an assayer to a tea-tester, a Communist to a pious Roman Catholic, who will not find it an exasperating, provoking, stimulating delight.

Yeats in a newspaper review. Even with more space and leisure the task would be difficult. What came in disjointed sentences, in almost illegible writing, was so exciting, sometimes so profound, that I persuaded her to give an hour or two every day to the unknown writer, and after some half-dozen such hours offered to spend what remained of life explaining and piecing together those scattered sentences. Yeats shows nowhere that he employed any critical power in the investigation of the phenomena.

His part in the strange colloquies has been, it seems, purely receptive; the Church regards this passivity as extremely perilous.

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That is as nearly as I can summarise the matter of the book. Yeats seeks the assistance of philosophy it is to thinkers outside the main stream of traditional European thought he goes. Plato, he mentions often, Aristotle, once or twice, St. Thomas Aquinas twice I think ; but his reading of the last two seems negligible, and from Plato and Plotinus he takes only the more esoteric conceptions.

But the chief trouble is the almost unintelligible terminology thus the Faculties are Will—which is voluntas not the Liber Arbitrium—Mask, Body of Fate and Creative Mind—which again means more than we are accustomed to understand by it , and the indefensible eclecticism. A Vision. One can safely predict that it cannot upset the progress of the world. Thus it came about.

The automatic writing began to take shape as a series of messages from disembodied spirits whom the poet now calls his instructors.

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A different prefix might be less poetic but more true. Soon Mrs. Moreover its obvious sincerity is an added danger. Yeats in the matter. Let it be confessed that this book moves the reader to a profound pity for the writer. Let me quote a significant passage.

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Apart from two or three of the principal Platonic Dialogues, I knew no philosophy. They came to her in the years to , and were recorded by her husband. He, in turn, had many supernormal experiences sights, sounds and odours , some of which would usually be called telepathic. All this Mr. Yeats describes in his most lucid and delicate prose.

Yeats and the Logic of Formalism

He then sat down to edit his notes and to interpret the message. Yeats has always been a visionary, and we shall not ask him to think that the revelation simply rose up from the mundane experience, or under-mind, of the two recorders. Whatever its origin, it is offered as providing a great scheme of metaphysical and historical truth, and as such it asks to be judged. The reviewer, who is baffled, wishes others better fortune.

Summary is here impossible. These cones trace the course of history from B. Real persons, Plotinus, Donatello, Christ, whirl about together as in a dream. In the end, Mr. But it is vain for the reader to be acquainted with the ordinary terms and issues of philosophy. The vision is self-enclosed, and the author rightly claims that it is unborrowed.

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We may fear that its meaning and its value will remain his own secret. Yeats can ever leave us quite unsatisfied. The opening pages on the characters and cats of Rapallo, and on the converse with Mr. Ezra Pound, restore to us Mr. Yeats, the humorist and observer. And the poet, here at his best, is restored in the beautiful lines, written at Oxford in , and now reprinted.

There are those in Liverpool who will remember Mr.

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Menigerlei zijn de gezichten die u aanstaren, de gestalten, schoon bewegend, die ons voorbijgaan in deze verzen, zij zijn zeer werkelijk, zeer persoonlijk, karaktervol, onderscheiden, precies, hun uitdrukking, hun gebaren, de woorden, die hun mond spreekt. Maar in de uiterste preciesheid, in de onomwondenheid en onverbiddelijkheid van zijn verschijning is iets, dat hem afzondert van de bedelaars, de individueele bedelaars, die we kennen en al zijn zijn woorden juist de woorden, die bij zijn karakter passen, al is het bedelaarswijsheid, die hij spreekt, deze wijsheid blijkt door haar strenge beperktheid een eeuwige geldigheid te verkrijgen, die aan het accidenteele cynisme van den in het leven ontmoeten landlooper ontbreekt.

De fiquren in Yeats' verzen hebben daarom altijd eenigermate het karakter van het type, terwijl ze terzelfdertijd, in hooge mate gedifferentieerde persoonlijkheid vertoonen, zij zijn vrij tot in het ongebondene somwijlen, maar, van een andere zijde bezien, zijn zij strikt bepaald.

Maar niet alleen om deze onmiddellijk waarneembare, maar meer algemeene dualiteit is een groot deel van het werk van dezen dichter geheimzinnig. Men ontdekt in zijn Collected Poems herhaaldelijk bepaalde gevallen, namen, uitdrukkingen, uitspraken, die om een verklaring vragen.

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Nu kan men van meening zijn, dal het geheim somtijds schooner is dan de wetenschap, dat de wetenschap schade zou kunnen doen aan de betoovering van het gedicht. Er zijn inderdaad gedichten, waarop men beter geen uitleg beproeft, omdat een uitleg tot een banale wijsheid voert, die, eenmaal gekend, de stemmingsfeer, die het vers zijn bekoorlijkheid schonk, aantast en niet zelden vernietigt.

Bij de verzen van Yeats is dit, naar mijne meening, vrijwel nooit het geval, ook al begrijpt men ze niet, men voelt onmiddelijk, dat hun verborgen beteekenis wel voort kan komen uit een valsch, maar niet uit een banaal inzicht. Meer wetenschap kan hier niet schaden, want de wetenschap krijgt hier haar ware hoogere doel, niet het wegnemen van het geheim, dit doodende element der beperkte wetenschap, maar het door verheldering nog meer [] duidelijk maken van het geheim, dit levende element eener wijder schouwende, dienende wetenschap.

Het heeft misschien zijn nut, hier enkele voorbeelden te geven. Ik wil beginnen met het korte gedicht The Saint and the Hunchback. Eenieder, die dit gedicht met aandacht leest, zal bemerken, dat het allerminst een vaag, of onduidelijk gedicht is, er is sfeer, maar aan de sfeer wordt niet het minste geofferd, iedere regel is tot aan den boord gevuld met beteekenis, maar toch is het gedicht, althans zoo was het dit voor mij, zonder nadere aanduiding, niet te begrijpen. Men weet wat een heilige is, maar niet wat Yeats hier onder den heilige verstaat en zoo week man ook wat en gebochelde is, maar niet van welke geestelijk persoonlijkheid, de gebochelde, volgens Yeats, het symbool is. Nog bepaalder welhaast van beteekenis en daarom zonder nadere aanduiding nog onbegrijpelijker is de uiteenzetting, die Michael Robartes over de phasen van de maan geeft voor zijn leerling Aherne.

Twenty-and-eight the phases of the moon, The full and the moon's dark and all the crescents, Twenty-and-eight, and yet but six-and-twenty The cradles that a man must needs be rocked in: For there's no human life at the full or the dark. From the first crescent to the half, the dream But summons to adventure and the man Is always happy like a bird or a beast: But while the moon is rounding towards the full He follows whatever whim's most difficult Among whims not impossible, and though scarred, As with the cat-o'-nine-tails of the mind, His body moulded from within his body Grows comelier.

Eleven pass, and then Athena takes Achilles by the hair, [] Hector is in the dust, Nietzsche is born, Because the heroes [sic] crescent is the twelfth.