Imágenes de páginas

in an atmosphere of ideas. Their utterances are pregnant with thought. A simple life is not necessarily stupid, nor a complex life intellectual. An old Chaldean shepherd beneath the midnight stars might have ideas beyond the reach of a modern stockbroker or civil engineer. Besides, in modern society you can scarcely ever be certain that an idea is your own, whereas in those times of isolation and simplicity there could not well be any doubt on the question.

I take it that the life of an English country gentleman is nearer to the Homeric life than could well be expected at a distance of thirty centuries. Still we might get closer to it by the establishment of such villages as I have indicated. They would be very like the old Greek cities : just as an English squire is about equivalent to an old Greek king. I fear however that in these prosaic days it would be impossible to revive the Homeric minstrel.

As we get sunshine on cloudy days, so we get sea-breath many miles from the sea. That same sea is a great physician ; it heals the world, and it heals individuals. To live long, one should live on an island ; I mean on an island of reasonable size, being of course aware that not to live on an island is impossible. To be in the arid and adust heart of Central Asia must necessarily shorten life. Here in England the sea-breath can make its way to most corners of the realm ; I think I have sniffed it at Warwick, the omphalos of the midland. When the wind comes from the south, I can inhale the seabreeze by walking up a hill close to my gate, from which Windsor Castle is visible. That breeze does infinite good. It cools and freshens the air. It destroys malaria. It brings ozone and iodine. And it is not only the breath of the sea, but also its products, which I may note as medicinal. To restore the brain or purify the blood, eat fish; take your phosphorus and iodine in the form which Nature, the mother of all chymists, supplies them in ; eat mullet and dory, eat lobster and prawn, above all, eat the inimitable oyster. Have it opened in its concave shell, not to lose a drop of the priceless liquid, which is full of infinitesimal oysters, all alive. Alas! will oysters never more be sixpence a dozen ?

To the impecunious, every month is R-less.

Every great race has its special function : that of the Greeks evidently was to interpret nature—not scientifically, but poetically. Of course the poetic interpretation, if true, will involve the scientific. From the Homeric epithets applied to Apollo and Poseidon might be evolved all that modern science can tell us about the sun and the sea. Take one instance alone—ěkdepyos, the far-worker. How apt the term for that central Power whose distance is still unsettled by modern astronomy_whose rays, transmitted through

, thirty million leagues (more or less) of space, will melt the snows of winter, colour the flowers of spring, ripen the grapes

of autumn, light your cigar through a lens, drive your railway train, take your likeness ---- whose light, shining upon Jupiter, makes that remote planet a glory of the night, to be invoked in prothalamia

Hespere, quis coelo lucet jucundior ignis ?

I believe a student of Homer might deduce almost all we know in several directions, and indicate many things yet unknown from his epithets only. Let me suggest a single problem: Why is wisdom gaauxõtis ?

Sunshine is open to all : even dwellers amid fuliginous factories get some of it, though they may seldom be conscious of the gift. Apollo can pierce the carburetted atmosphere of the country of chimneys. And sea-breath traverses this island from shore to shore, though dwellers far inland do not get quite as much as they want. However, there are days wherein the sea is accessible to those who pine for it, and I cordially advise anyone who feels that longing to gratify it as soon as possible. A thirst of that kind indicates a real want

Strip to the wooing wind. From rock romantic

Plunge into green depths of the hyaline: Sate thee with kisses of the cool Atlantic:

And then ... go home and dine.

« AnteriorContinuar »