Page:Studies of a Biographer 3.djvu/104

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

formulates his own childish instincts. Wordsworth had seen, we know, in his own early feelings a proof of the soul's pre-existence 'with God, who is our home.' So Ruskin, though he somewhere calls this fanciful, regards the sense of beauty as a revelation—as something like the inner light of mystics. All natural beauty, he says, is 'typical of the divine attributes'; and he tries to show in detail how the sense of beauty corresponds to a perception of Infinity, Order, Symmetry, Unity, and so forth, and how the external world is thus a divinely appointed system of symbols, dimly recognised even in childhood. This theory, no doubt, is as good as others. Like others, indeed, which present themselves as a direct inspiration of the prophet, it may fail to convince opponents; and the elaboration into a symmetrical system must not be taken too seriously. Ruskin quaintly remarks how hard he found it to prevent his Seven Lamps of Architecture from becoming eight or nine upon his hands. No doubt his first follower, if he had found one, would have redistributed his symbols, and interpreted various objects to mean entirely different truths. It should be taken, as we take Wordsworth's ode, not as a prosaic argument, but as an imaginative way of expressing his