Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Arthur Machen Laments

Photo - Margate Festival 2008

“Really; it is quite clear that Art… is in the very bones of humanity, that it is the differentia of man, that which makes him to be what he is, that distinguishes him from sheep and goats, that nourish a blind life within the brain. And how infinitely strange it is that we, who are men because we are artists, should begin to suspect that if we are artists we are mad. Genius, art are, I take it , vision; the power of seeing further, seeing deeper, seeing more than we others see, with secondary part of expression, the power of communicating in notes, or paint, or marble, or words the thing that has been thus seen…

… ah! If I had but been one of this happy race of lunatics; how I would have shaken your hearts with the picture of Clarendon Road, Notting Hill Gate (Arthur Machen as a young man) , somewhat bowery, somewhat stuccoey, vanishing into October mists and dimness forty years ago on still, dull evenings; with the picture of the poor lad who lived in the little top room on No. 23, issuing forth and pacing the dull, still ways, dreaming, ever dreaming and burning for the great adventure of literature; seeing the stones glow into spagyric gold beneath his feet, seeing the plane trees in the back gardens droop down from fairyland, seeing a mystery behind every blind, and the infinite mystery in the grey-blue distance, where, as they tell me, for I have never sought to know, the street becomes dubious, if not desolate.”

The London Adventure p.130 Arthur Machen

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