Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/100

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

sympathy for the opposite reason. I cannot affect to share Arnold's discomfort. I have never been able—doubtless it is a defect—to sympathise with the Obermanns and Amiels whom Arnold admired; excellent but surely effeminate persons, who taste of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and finding the taste bitter, go on making wry faces over it all their lives; and, admitting with one party that the old creeds are doomed, assert with the other that all beauty must die with them. The universe is open to a great many criticisms; there is plenty of cause for tears and for melancholy; and great poets in all ages have, because they were great poets, given utterance to the sorrows of their race. But I don't feel disposed to grumble at the abundance of interesting topics or the advance of scientific knowledge, because some inconveniences result from both. I say all this simply as explaining why the vulgar—including myself—fail to appreciate these musical moans over spilt milk, which represent rather a particular eddy in an intellectual revolution than the deeper and more permanent emotions of human nature. But I do not mean to depreciate Arnold's power; only to suggest reasons for the want of a wider recogni-