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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

94                  THE LANTERN-BEARERS

understood; they saw their life in fairer colours; even
the deaf girl was clothed in poetry for Mikita, or he had
never fallen, And so, once again, even an Old Bailey
melodrama, without some brightness of poetry and lustre
of existence, falls into the inconceivable and ranks with
fairy tales,

IV

In nobler books we are moved with something like the
emotions of life; and this emotion is very variously
provoked, We are so moved when Levine labours in the
field, when Andre sinks beyond emotion, when Richard
Feverel and Lucy Desborough meet beside the river,
when Antony,' not cowardly, puts off his helmet/ when
Kent has infinite pity on the dying Lear, when, in Dos-
toieffsky's Despised and Rejected, the uncomplaining hero
drains his cup of suffering and virtue. These are notes
that please the great heart of man, Not only love, and
the fields, and the bright face of danger, but sacrifice and
death and unmerited suffering humbly supported, touch
in us the vein of the poetic. We love to think of them,
we long to try them, we are humbly hopeful that we may
prove heroes also,

We have heard, perhaps, too much of lesser matters.
Here is the door, here is the open air, Itur in antiquam
silvam.