Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats

Cash and Credit               171

Nevertheless, though art disregards money and trade
disregards art, the artist may stand not a little trade-alloy
and be even toughened by it, and the tradesmen may be
more than half an artist. Art is in the world but not of it ;
it lives in a kingdom of its own, governed by laws that none
but artists can understand. This, at least, is the ideal to-
wards which an artist tends, though we all very well know
we none of us reach it. With the trade it is exactly the
reverse ; this world is, and ought to be, everything, and the
invisible world is as little to the trade as this visible world is
to the artist.

When I say the artist tends towards such a world, I mean
not that he tends consciously and reasoningly but that his
instinct to take this direction will be too strong to let him
take any other. He is incapable of reasoning on the subject;
if he could reason he would be lost qua artist; for, by every
test that reason can apply, those who sell themselves for a
price are in the right. The artist is guided by a faith that
for him transcends all reason. Granted that this faith has
been in great measure founded on reason, that it has grown
up along with reason, that if it lose touch with reason it is no
longer faith but madness; granted, again, that reason is in
great measure founded on faith, that it has grown up along
with faith, that if it lose touch with faith it is no longer
reason but mechanism ; granted, therefore, that faith grows
with reason as will with power, as demand with; supply, as
mind with body, each stimulating and augmenting the other
until an invisible, minute nucleus attains colossal growth—
nevertheless the difference between the man of the world
and the man who lives by faith is that the first is drawn
towards the one and the second towards the other of two
principles which, so far as we can see, are co-extensive and
co-equal in importance.


It is curious that money, which is the most valuable thing
in life, exceptis excipiendis, should be the most fatal corrupter
of music, literature, painting and all the arts. As soon as
any art is pursued with a view to money, then farewell, in
ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, all hope of genuine good