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letters divided against itself. Yet he need not accept despair as his portion. For reflection reveals the fact that it is not in the region of literature alone that counsels are divided, that here indeed there is greater unanimity than in most fields of intellectual activity. It reveals the fact that moral philosophy has not yet provided us with an undisputed definition of 'the good', nor aesthetic of 'the beautiful', that in science there are fundamental problems still unsolved. The advance of science has witnessed a continuous warfare between common sense and the individual thinker, for the former has never found it easy to discriminate immediately between truth and paradox, a Copernicus and a Paracelsus. To ask more from criticism than from philosophy or from science, to ask it for some magic touchstone whereby the best may infallibly and at all times be known, is to overlook the true nature of the problem presented, the character of our own selves and the constitution of the world itself. The best for one is not the best for all of us; the best to-day and for the child, is not the best to-morrow and for the man. My needs are my criterion, not yours nor yet another's. And if we narrow the issue, as narrow it we must, it cannot be to apply even to a given body of poetry a recognized canon, for no recognized canon exists or can ever exist. We are here employed, as every critic, as every reader of poetry is continually employed, not in the application of ascertained principles, but rather with the judgements which go to their making, with estimates, placed one by one, as builders place stone after stone, in a building which no generation can call its own. Errors in judgement, too, may have their use, and a good anthology might prove bad by its very excellence. For, containing nothing that any one dislikes, it might well produce a taste unfriendly to new or varied types of excellence, and
One good custom should corrupt the world.
A taste formed on the best art of the British Academy
failed to appreciate either the pure and passionate sincerity of the Pre-Raphaelites or the brilliant impressionism of Whistler. The correct and refined taste of the editor of the Golden Treasury refused admittance to a single lyric by Donne or Rochester, while making room for more than one by Campbell and Moore. It might indeed be argued that a good anthology must contain some poems which certain readers will frankly dislike, while omitting others which seem to them worth all the rest. The badness of an anthology will be in proportion to the number of poems it contains about which lovers of poetry feel indifferent. Poetry is an ecstasy; the success of a poem is tested by the degree to which it transports us out of the world of our waking experience into another of the poet's own. creation. Success here will depend in the first place on ourselves, and again not so much on the character of that world, as on the degree to which the poet himself has realized it, and can communicate his own mood by the magic and music of his style. The Dolores may transport us as completely as the Ode to Duty. But it will depend on the largeness of the world revealed, the completeness with which it satisfies the craving for beauty which is also truth whether we are willing to remain there or to return thither again and again for high companionship and spiritual refreshment.