BLTC Press Titles

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

A Journal to Rosalind

by Unknown



Some time ago a friend placed in my hands a collection of papers, loosely arranged in the form of a journal. "Take them and read them," he said; "do what you will with them." I accepted the opportunity; it was not long indeed before the opportunity came to seem a privilege. Here was the inner history of a great love, the story of a spiritual re-birth: the papers, as I studied them, assumed in my mind the proportions of a drama of the profoundest human import. I became convinced that other readers should share my privilege with me.

What, briefly, is this drama revealed in the "Journal to Rosalind'"? A few words of interpretation may not seem impertinent.

It is the "great scene" in the life of a man who has lived much but who had never, as he tells us, until this culminating moment, sounded the depths of his nature. The author of the journal is a man well-known in many fields— in politics, in literature, on the stage. His has been a "turbulent and many-sided" career. A democrat in economics and politics, as he says (and one whose achievements have been at the cost of many sacrifices), he is also an aristocrat in soul. He is, and has always been, an artist by nature; and this element, the most essential in him, had been checked and repressed by the exigencies of an all too busy life. It is the renascence, the re-creation of his spirit "in the wonder of a great joy" that we see coming to pass in this journal. "You," he writes, "are the wonder-worker who makes a man to fit your majesty." In the influence of this love he has become what he had scarcely even hoped to be, "a garden all bloom, a flower all fragrance, a bird all song, a soul all joy." He finds himself at last filled with the "free man's courage," his finest instincts have been stirred to activity, he is suddenly ripe for the harvest of a long, wide and deep experience of life. His faculties have come together in a swift ecstasy: he has become "like a glistening star on a brilliant night at sea."

Shall I trace this drama step by step? A few phrases will suffice. "I was a spiritual wreck," he writes, "thrown up by the gales of disappointment on to the rocky, jagged crags of political despair, artistic chagrin and spiritual starvation, ... an old hulk, a memory of what might have been, a thing suggesting vast possibilities lost. You salved me—you did what others thought impossible. You, you alone, drew me from the rocks of oblivion and set me once more sound and taut on the waves of great endeavour." Again: "The rosy hopes you bring are those which I not long ago buried as wholly or in part unrealizable." Again: "The useless past is now a fruitful river bearing rich cargoes." One motto of the book indeed might be: "Out of the mire of worthless effort up to the work-dream of my youth." The artist, through the lover, has come into his own, he feels "a new possession of essentials": "You have brought me," he says, "back through a mystery to the loveliness of art." Love has at last enabled him to possess the best in himself and share it with humanity.

And, as always happens when the spirit is incandescent, he finds himself, this lover, a spokesman of reality, of spiritual truth. "We submit," he says, "to a world of ideas already made. . . . All nature gives the lie to our system of life." With the seers he has discovered that "without full expression there is no living." He has found and he proclaims the secret of "that grace which preserves the spirit in its glow and the mind from satisfaction and decay." It is the grace of the poet, a grace to which the poet in every man responds. The poet in many will, I think, respond to this journal. They will remember, above all, perhaps, these beautiful words, dictated by the supreme experience of a life and reminiscent of Goethe: "The tender green will some day clothe our wishes so long as the sap of big desire is there to animate our souls."

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