yes, it's a little late in coming.
variations on a rococo theme
but then, as plato asks,--and we must repeat the question,--what becomes of the mind? experience tells us by a thousand proofs that our sensations of colour, taste, and the like, are the same as they were an instant ago--that the act which we are performing one minute is continued by us in the next--and also supplies abundant proof that the perceptions of other men are, speaking generally, the same or nearly the same with our own.
king pandion, he is dead
the aged man that coffers up his gold
is plagued with cramps, and gouts, and painful fits;
and scarce hath eyes his treasure to behold,
but like still-pining tantalus he sits,
and useless barns the harvest of his wits;
having no other pleasure of his gain
but torment that it cannot cure his pain.
i don't regret for a single moment having lived for pleasure. i did it
to the full, as one should do everything that one does. there was no
pleasure i did not experience. i threw the pearl of my soul into a cup
of wine. i went down the primrose path to the sound of flutes. i lived
on honeycomb. but to have continued the same life would have been wrong
because it would have been limiting. i had to pass on. the other half
of the garden had its secrets for me also. of course all this is
foreshadowed and prefigured in my books. some of it is in the happy
prince, some of it in the young king, notably in the passage where the
bishop says to the kneeling boy, 'is not he who made misery wiser than
thou art'? a phrase which when i wrote it seemed to me little more than a
phrase; a great deal of it is hidden away in the note of doom that like a
purple thread runs through the texture of dorian gray; in the critic
as artist it is set forth in many colours; in the soul of man it is
written down, and in letters too easy to read; it is one of the refrains
whose recurring motifs make salome so like a piece of music and bind
it together as a ballad; in the prose poem of the man who from the bronze
of the image of the 'pleasure that liveth for a moment' has to make the
image of the 'sorrow that abideth for ever' it is incarnate. it could
not have been otherwise. at every single moment of one's life one is
what one is going to be no less than what one has been. art is a symbol,
because man is a symbol.
it is, if i can fully attain to it, the ultimate realisation of the
artistic life. for the artistic life is simply self-development.
humility in the artist is his frank acceptance of all experiences, just
as love in the artist is simply the sense of beauty that reveals to the
world its body and its soul. in marius the epicurean pater seeks to
reconcile the artistic life with the life of religion, in the deep,
sweet, and austere sense of the word. but marius is little more than a
spectator: an ideal spectator indeed, and one to whom it is given 'to
contemplate the spectacle of life with appropriate emotions,' which
wordsworth defines as the poet's true aim; yet a spectator merely, and
perhaps a little too much occupied with the comeliness of the benches of
the sanctuary to notice that it is the sanctuary of sorrow that he is
'and the conspiracy--the organization? is it real? it is not simply an invention of the thought police?'
'no, it is real. the brotherhood, we call it. you will never learn much more about the brotherhood than that it exists and that you belong to it. i will come back to that presently.'
let every nation know. . .whether it wishes us well or ill. . . that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. this much we pledge. . .and more.
"i can understand your fire-eating manners as being natural to you," sheldon went on wearily, "but why you should try them on me is what i can't comprehend. you surely don't want to quarrel with me."