Michael Robartes and the Dancer
MICHAEL ROBARTES AND THE DANCER
A few of these poems may be difficult to understand, perhaps more difficult than I know. Goethe has said that the poet needs all philosophy, but that he must keep it out of his work. After the first few poems I came into possession of Michael Robartes’ exposition of the Speculum Angelorum et Hominum of Geraldus, and in the excitement of arranging and editing could no more keep out philosophy than could Goethe himself at certain periods of his life. I have tried to make understanding easy by a couple of notes, which are at any rate much shorter than those Dante wrote on certain of his odes in the Convito, but I may not have succeeded. It is hard for a writer, who has spent much labour upon his style, to remember that thought, which seems to him natural and logical like that style, may be unintelligible to others. The first excitement over, and the thought changed into settled conviction, his interest in simple, that is to say in normal emotion, is always I think increased; he is no longer looking for candlestick and matches but at the objects in the room.
I have given no account of Robartes himself, nor of his discovery of the explanation of Geraldus’ diagrams and pictures in the traditional knowledge of a certain obscure Arab tribe, for I hope that my selection from the great mass of his letters and table talk, which I owe to his friend John Aherne, may be published before, or at any rate but soon after this little book, which, like all hand-printed books will take a long time for the setting up and printing off and for the drying of the pages.