But Donne survived theperils of middle age by virtue of the acuteness and
ardour of hisintellect. Thus the Arcadia, bywilfully flouting all contact with
the fact, gains another reality.
But when thecharm of that childish device
falls flat, there is no breath leftto fill his sails. Had she despised him, had
she hated him, it would have been better.
For the Dean still retained
theincorrigible curiosity of his youth. But thisrealism is only to be applied
to Nature and animals and peasants.
Butalas, softness has weighed down our
steps; brambles have caught atour clothing.
Hisdevotions themselves were
feverish and fitful. It breaks up the monotony andstrikes a high-light. Half
dreaming, half yawning, we prepare toseek the elder brother of
Obviously, then, we must alterour attitude.
Mere rhythm we feelas we
sweep over the smooth backs of the undulating sentencesintoxicates him. It is
this inequality and elasticity that lend their freshness toSidneys vast
ROBINSON CRUSOEThere are many ways of approaching this classical volume;
but whichshall we choose?
Donnes genius was precisely the opposite of
Eventhe prose-writers have the same habit of aggrandisement.
attainedhis end; but he is weaker and worse than the horse or the bull.
dreaming, half yawning, we prepare toseek the elder brother of death.
of what slight and thin stuff is thy happiness! He is said tohave been a
hosier; but what, after all, was a hosier in theseventeenth century? Donnes
genius was precisely the opposite of this.
We who wished to escape havebeen
caught and enmeshed.
Even for the Sidneys and the Pembrokes lifewas not quite
like that. Then, behold, something floats onthe waters.
Oworld, of what slight
and thin stuff is thy happiness!
Andthen the novelist Sidney suddenly opens his
eyes. We realize more clearly the boundaries within which Sidney wasworking. In
the Arcadia, as in some luminous globe, all the seeds of Englishfiction lie
But keepes the earth her round proportion still?