192 The Enfant Terrible of Literature and, not least, in complete victory of genuine internal zeal over a scheme initially so faulty as to appear hopeless. I read that part where Christian passes the lions which he thought were free but which were really chained and it occurred to me that all lions are chained until they actually eat us and that, the moment they do this, they chain them- selves up again automatically, as far as we are concerned. It one dissects this passage it fares as many a passage in the Odyssey does when we dissect it. Christian did not, after all, venture to pass the lions till he was assured that they were chained. And really it is more excusable to refuse point- blank to pass a couple of lions till one knows whether they are chained or not—and the poor wicked people seem to have done nothing more than this,—than it would be to pass them. Besides, by being told, Christian fights, as it were, with loaded dice. Poetry The greatest poets never write poetiy. The Homers and Shakespeares are not the greatest—they are only the greatest that we can know. And so with Handel among musicians. For the highest poetry, whether in music or literature, is ineffable—it must be felt from one person to another, it cannot be articulated. Verse Versifying is the lowest form of poetry; and the last tiling a great poet will do in these days is to write verses.' I have been trying to read Venus and Adonis and the Rape of Lucrece but cannot get on with them. They teem with fine things, but they are got-up fine things. I do not know whether this is quite what I mean but, come what may, I find the poems bore me. Were I a schoolmaster I should think I was setting a boy a very severe punishment if I told him to read Venus and Adonis through in three sittings. If, then, the magic of Shakespeare's name, let alone the great beauty of occasional passages, cannot reconcile us (for I find most people of the same mind) to verse, and especially rhymed verse as a medium of sustained expression, what chance has any one else ? It seems to rne that a sonnet is the utmost length to which a rhymed poem should extend.