Yeatsian Words, from ‘Selected Criticism’

WB Yeats, by John Singer-Sargent

On Magic


“I have now described that belief in magic which has set me all but unwilling among those lean and fierce minds who are war with their time, who cannot accept the days as they pass, simply and gladly; and I look at what I have written with some alarm, for I have told more of the ancient secret than many among my fellow-students think it right to tell. I have come to believe so many strange things because of experience, that I see little reason to doubt the truth of many things that are beyond my experience; and that it may be that there are beings who watch over the ancient secret, as all tradition affirms, and resent , and perhaps avenge, too fluent speech.”

I have been reading Yeats again. The above quote arrested me last night, as I remember going to see his exhibit in the National Library; and all the accoutrements of his magick are housed in glass cabinets there, indeed, I wrote of the National Library here in this blog before. I think that Section VIII in his Selected Criticism is worthwhile and  too long to be transcribing here so I shall leave the details at the end of the small post.

Who can always keep to the little pathway between speech and silence, where one meets none but discreet revelations ? ‘

I am aware that PH is becoming more minimal than before and that I don’t really offer much but snippets and Poesie; BUT that is the joy in reading and exploring, one has to negotiate the labyrinthelike structure of words and their surprises to find what one is looking for (or sometimes not). Books have always presented themselves to me in the weirdest fashions through bequest, or collection. I have written here about digitisation and it’s effect, when the approach is wrong (cf the GBS threads), I think writers should digitise , rather than corporate entities who do not know the life’s work that goes into making a book and treat their writing with such utter contempt.

WB Yeats, Selected Criticism, ED A Norman Jeffares. Pan 1964

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